While browsing through books, in my university library, I noticed a book, set out separately from the other books on the top shelf. To this day, I’m not sure if it was our common loneliness that drew me or the magnificent halo that surrounded its borders.
In big blue letters, it read: “Why people fail”.
It was one of those depressing times when I was desperately seeking inspiration from the books in my university library. Usually, I’d read a page or two from JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” or “Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone”. These books would always inspire me to keep moving and expect good things to happen and were literally (still are) my guides to maintaining my sanity.
Yet, a book titled with a question that my inner voice kept nagging me with, was like the moment when Tom Riddle spoke to Harry.
In those days, I was suffering from one of the darkest times of my life. Speaking from the perspective of a freshman student, whose happiness lay only in getting good grades, the “dark times” were nothing but the mere failure to get A grades in all my course quizzes. I still believe that those were indeed my dark times, due to the emotional instability I had put myself through.
I had linked my social life in university to my grades. According to freshmen me, having bad grades meant that no one would want to associate themselves with me.
Looking back now, it was only an adjustment phase in an international university with students that spoke different languages. I was too self-centered to notice the awkwardness of every other freshman student in my batch. However, unlike me, they approached each other to share in the awkwardness.
On the other hand, I lacked the self-confidence to make connections on my own and had (still have it) a resting bitch face that made me unapproachable!
You would say that in times of loneliness, you are the only one who can support you. I, on the other hand would find every way for negative self-talk. My confidence and self-esteem were almost dead at that point. This is the sort of talk that happened between me and my sub conscious mind:
Me: No one talks to me
Inner voice: You’re ugly and fat.
Me: I have bad grades
Inner voice: of course.
Never mind that the title spoke to me; my inner voice was much louder and as is the case with negative thinking, I had very few expectations from this book. I thought it was probably just a fact book that I would put back after reading a few pages.
Everything changed, when I read this line:
“Do you have an overall philosophy of life, a primary reason you get up every morning? Or are you just pulled along by current events, deadlines, and people asking you to do things?”
My heart beat increased and my breathing intensified. This book had just described me! This book was meant for me! It was my Holy book!
I suddenly started to write down all my life goals. Goals that I hadn’t imagined before because of the fear of failure. I wrote them down and slept with my stomach bumping with butterflies. Writing those goals for the first time on paper made them seem possible and filled me with a sudden adrenaline rush.
The next day I woke up before sunrise and was too excited to sleep again. For the first time, I began to exercise daily, resist fast food, complete my work on time and get free time to work on side goals. I was so excited after that. Life had suddenly changed in one night.
Every time, while returning home in the public bus, I’d talk to my personal coach Siimon Reynolds through the book and together we’d discuss the 16 obstacles to success and the ways to overcome them.
That semester, I received a GPA of 4.00, lost weight and made lots of friends. I couldn’t be happier.
I call it the “Semester of enlightenment”.
This book understood me and believed in my abilities, when my own inner voice had abandoned me. Three years have passed since I first read the book and it still serves as my reason to becoming better everyday.
Not that I didn’t fail after that. This book opened my mind to having a meaningful life purpose and as is the case with any huge life purpose, failure is inevitable.
In fact, after reading this book, I faced even greater obstacles than I already had.
While failure in freshman year might have felt like a slap on the face, failure in later years felt like falling head first from Burj Khalifa and walking all the way back, to fall again.
Fun fact #1: I couldn’t stand a simple slap but was strong enough to face the fall more than once.
Fun fact #2: Falling from Burj Khalifa is exciting and so is your road to achieving a greater life purpose.
Disclaimer: Don’t literally jump from Burj Khalifa. Seriously tho.
I believe that there is a book out there for everyone and it would understand you the way no one else did.
Fun fact #3: It doesn’t have to be a self-help book.
As Steve Jobs said,
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
I know I know! He meant your life purpose. And so do I.