All books of Robin Sharma were translated into several foreign languages and are sold in over fifty countries, as far as I saw from statistics. Most of his works are worth reading, with a few exceptions (in my opinion). Texts are written comprehensively, as a storyteller, so all categories from teenagers to elderly people, can find it easy to read. Moreover, the reader gets the feeling of directly witnessing the story, which emotionally bounds.
Now, let us get into details and see what we can learn from this book specifically. The protagonist, who can be any one of us, will have to travel (in life) and face challenges, which will help find out what makes one truly happy. These “talismans of life” or “secret messages”, as the author's name, apply to every person, in a bigger or smaller portion, but all of them matter: the nine secret messages of life.
In the book, a traveler by the name of Jonathan, who implicitly can be any one of us, is facing a difficult period in life. His career is at risk, his family is falling apart… Under the persistent recommendation of his friend, who becomes his mentor (the third-grade cousin ex-monk ex-layer by the name Julian), he will make a world trip into unknowing, where step-by-step will discover every hidden talisman of life. Along with the protagonist, we will discover Istanbul (Turkey), then go to Paris (France) and in Kyoto (Japan), next to Oxkutzcab (Mexico) and Barcelona (Spain), afterward to Cape Breton Island (Canada), Shanghai (China), Sidney (Australia), and finally in Dehli (India). Nine different messages in nine parts of the world. Of course, the place and people may change but remains valid the meaning.
Here are the 9 important aspects of life, the so-called “secret messages”:
1/ The first trip is to Istanbul, discovering through the beauty of the city listening to our inner voice. Too often we know too little about our true desires because we stop listening to our voice. We listen to the voices of the crowds: what our parents want, what our partner expects, what society says is “good” and “bad”, and we act accordingly. We do this since our infancy, learning from our parents to obey, often without asking questions. We take things for granted. Instead, we must learn to press the “pause” button and ask ourselves: How do I want to live this life? What do I want to achieve? Which activity makes me happy? How could I apply my knowledge and skills to make a living out of it? It is the biggest gift we can offer to ourselves. Be sincere. Dare to dream. Know which are our strong and weak sides. Then with the accountability of our past and hopes for our future, make every decision from now on.
2/ In Paris, our traveler discovers how to overcome fear. Bravery is not something we can feel, it is something we can only demonstrate. We must be brave enough to live the life we want. Accepting our fears and learning to overcome them is the only way to be completely happy. If not, our fears will rule our lives. What holds us the most from reaching success in life is the invisible wall of fear. It keeps us in the comfort zone, which after all, is the most unsafe place for living. The riskiest thing is to not take any risk at all. But every time we overcome our fears, we get the energy it was hidden behind them, we get our power, we become stronger, we free ourselves.
3/ Our life is a big traveling journey. You do not know where it will get you, but with our choices, we can have along the way moments of joy and happiness, feel fulfillment and blessings. Arriving in Kyoto, the next destination, we see different traditions and learn to accept cultural differences. We understand how important is to fill our lives with goodness, positiveness, and kindness. Remember, that our words come from our thinking, and our actions come from what we believe in. How we treat someone identifies who we are. Every moment spent next to another person is an opportunity to manifest our best selves and help someone with our better judgment. We can make this world better. Every one of us.
4/ In Oxkutzcab we discovered how important is to move forward every day, step-by-step, towards our dreams. Nothing is built overnight. To create something great, we need time, patience, and perseverance. How we manage simple tasks shows us how we can deal with complex projects. Mastering skills and accumulating more and more confidence in our abilities will become part of us, of our lifestyle. This way we learn to build, brick by brick our future, and in time it will result in great achievements. Every big thing rises from a small wish and a lot of perseverance.
5/ In the last century, Barcelona became the homeland for many great masters: Joan Miró (painter), Salvador Dalí (painter), Pablo Picasso (painter), Antoni Gaudí (architect). Here we will discover the importance of finding the job that you love to do and learn to do it as best as you possibly can. Any kind of job/activity allows us to express our talents and master our skills. We must work with passion and dedication, like painted Picasso, like Gaudí, designed and constructed buildings. When we do something with dedication and love, others see it. We inspire.
6/ On the Island Cape Breton, we will hear the story of a minecraft. It will show how important is to find out what influences you. We live our lives surrounded by people and objects, and all of it impacts our state of mind and wellbeing. Choose spending time with people that inspire you and bring positive emotions. Surround yourself with beautiful objects that excite your eyes and inspires your creativity. Go to places, where you feel good, welcomed, and energize. It is a choice we must do at our working place and in our private life.
7/ In Shanghai, our traveler will meet a very successful businessman, who will unveil that the simplest pleasures are the greatest joys of life. Often, people start to understand and appreciate what truly matters to them only when reaching an elderly age. People tend to spend the best years of life in search of things they do not need. Our society is relying so much on consumption; we often forget what matters, what we truly love and desire. Simple pleasures, like taking a walk in the afternoon, prepare dinner with friends and family, take a long bath with candles and flowers. These moments are making us happy. No matter the circumstances, find the time to enjoy simple things, living your life as a great gift.
8/ Love. The meaning of life is to love. The heart is wiser than reason. Trust it. Take care of it. Cherish it.
9/ Looking at Taj Mahai in Dehli, we witness the greatness of someone’s creation passed through generations. The last, among the nine talismans of life, tells how important is to let heritage. Every person on earth has their purpose in life, and assigned role. That is why we come from different backgrounds, love different things, have certain skills, and a set of values that make us unique.
Nothing happens by chance. Everything has a purpose. Our mission is to create the best life we can for ourselves and our dears. Be happy and feel accomplished by your standards, not by the rules society seeks to impose. Enrich your lives with meaning and benefits. This will open the way to greatness and extraordinary.