Summary of the book “Who Will Cry When You Die”, Robin Sharma
What if I told you like there is an art of living, there is an art of dying as well? To begin with, imagine yourself at your funeral. How many people do you see around? What are they saying about you? Are they crying? You may ask, Sourav, why begin this summary on such a note? Well, there are few things in life more joyous than birth. When you were born, your first wail probably elicited whoops and rejoicing. So how about this? Live your life in such a way that when you die, you whoop and rejoice while those around you wail.
The book “Who Will Cry When You Die” has been written by Robin Sharma. This is the third book in his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari series. The book was first published in 1999 and has sold over a million copies worldwide. Robin Sharma’s books are based on the philosophy of self-development through small but significant changes in one’s daily life activities. In contrast to most other authors, his books give us advice that is very practical and doesn’t require big efforts on our part but the results that they yield are incomparable. The crux of this book is that one must lead a purposeful life so that when you are gone, your loss is felt. Hence, the title. (read the summary of “The monk who sold his Ferrari” here)
This book is a very easy read, full of practical activities to engage in that will give you a purpose in life and make your life more productive. A little over 200 pages, the book has been divided into 101 chapters, with each chapter catering to one actionable advice. For this summary, I have deliberately chosen 50 of these chapters which I felt were the most practicable and easy to implement in our daily lives.
- Every Day, Be Kind to a Stranger
If you make even one person smile during your day or brighten the mood of even one stranger, your day has been a worthwhile one. Kindness, quite simply, is the rent we must pay for space we occupy on this planet.
- Keep a Journal
Maintaining a daily journal is one of the best personal growth initiatives you will ever take. You will develop self – awareness and make fewer mistakes. And keeping a journal will help clarify your intentions so that you remain focused on the things that truly count.
- Start Your Day Well
If you have the wisdom and self – discipline to ensure that during the 30 minutes just after you wake up, you think only the purest of thoughts and take only the finest of actions, you will notice that your days will consistently unfold in the most marvelous ways.
- Learn to Say No Gracefully
“If your priorities don’t get scheduled into your planner, other people’s priorities will get put into your planner.” The solution is to be clear about your life’s highest objectives and then to learn to say no with grace.
- Talk to Yourself
The technique is a simple one and involves nothing more than selecting ‘a phrase’ that you will train your mind to focus on at different times throughout the day until it begins to dominate your awareness and reshape the person you are. The results will be profound as you take one giant step to find peace.
- Schedule Worry Breaks
If we are facing a difficulty, it is easy to spend all our waking hours focusing on it. Instead, you should schedule fixed times to worry, say, thirty minutes every evening. During this worry session, you may wallow in your problems and brood over your difficulties. But after that period ends, you must train yourself to leave your troubles behind and do something more productive.
- Learn to Be Silent
Experiencing solitude, for even a few minutes a day, will keep you centred on your highest life priorities. And saying that you don’t have enough time to be silent on a regular basis is a lot like saying you are too busy driving to stop for gas – eventually it will catch up with you.
- Get Up Early
Getting up early is a gift you give to yourself. Few disciplines have the power to transform your life as does the habit of early rising. (Also read the summary of ‘The 5 AM Club’)
- Laugh More
Daily laughter has been shown to elevate our moods, promote creativity, and give us more energy. Laughter therapy has even been used to cure illnesses and heal those with serious ailments.
- Spend a Day Without Your Watch
Rather than living by the clock and planning everything we are going to do in a day, simply live for the moment and do whatever you feel like doing. You will become a true human being rather than merely a human doing.
- Write Thank – You Notes
Few acts have the power to build and cement relationships like a heartfelt letter of thanks. It shows you care and that you are considerate and human. You and all the people that you deal with will be glad you did this.
- Always Carry a Book with You
One of the simplest yet smartest time management strategies you can follow is to never go anywhere without a book under your arm. In these times of rapid change, ideas are the commodity of success. All it takes is one idea from the right book to reshape your character or to transform your relationships or to revolutionize your life.
- Create a Love Account
To practice being more loving, create a love account. Each day, make a few deposits in this very special reserve by doing something small to add joy to the life of someone around you. You may begin with buying your partner fresh cut flowers for no reason at all or sending your best friend a copy of your favourite book.
- List Your Problems
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved,” said Charles Kettering. There is something very special that happens when you take out a piece of paper and list every single one of your problems on it. A weight somehow falls from your shoulders. You feel lighter, calmer, and freer.
- Read Tuesdays With Morrie
The book is about a man who, after leaving university and building a career, rediscovers his favourite professor, Morrie, in the final months of the older man’s life. Every Tuesday, the former student then visits the dying teacher to learn another lesson about life form this man who has lived so richly and completely. (Read the summary of ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ here)
- Cure Your Monkey Mind
Our minds are like scampering puppies or, as they say in the East, like unchained monkeys, rushing from place to place without any pause for peace. By developing present moment awareness and an abundance of mental focus, you will not only feel much calmer in your life, but you will also unlock the fullness of your mind’s potential.
- Get Good at Asking
The more you ask, the more you get, but it takes practice to get good at it. Over the coming weeks, flex your “asking muscles” by asking for the simple things that you want like asking for an extra free scoop of ice cream. You might be surprised at the abundance that will flow into your life when you just ask sincerely for the things you want.
- Build a Library of Heroic Books
You should spend much of your time reading those books that contain “the noblest recorded thoughts of man.” Connecting with such works for even a few minutes a day will keep you centred on what life is really about and will ultimately profoundly affect your character.
- Develop Your Talents
Norman Cousins once noted that “The Tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” Are you using the best within you to its fullest capacity? If not, you are not only doing yourself a disservice, you are doing the world, and all those within it who could benefit from your unique talents, a disservice.
- Connect with Nature
Spending time alone in natural surroundings connects you to the larger universe around you and restores your spirit in this hurried age. And while you spend time enjoying nature, observe your surroundings with deep concentration. Study the complexity of a flower or the way the current moves in a sparkling stream. Take your shoes off and feel the grass under your feet.
- Use Your Commute Time
Turning your car/commute into a “college on wheels” will be one of the best investments you will ever make. Rather than arriving at work tired, frustrated, and dispirited, listening to educational audiocassettes will make your commute fun and keep your inspired, focused, and alert to the endless opportunities around you.
- Go on a News Fast
Vow not to read even one negative story in the newspaper or watch even one negative news report on television for the next week. You will notice two things. First, you will not really miss out on much information. Second, you will feel much more peaceful and serene.
- Get Serious About Setting Goals
Setting clearly defined goals for all the areas of your life works for three reasons. First, it restores a sense of focus in your world, second, it keeps you alert to opportunities, and third, it commits you to a course of action.
- Remember the Rule of 21
As the author wrote in The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit. Yet most people give up on creating a positive life change after only the first few days when they experience the stress and pain that is always associated with replacing old behaviours with new ones. (read the summary of “The monk who sold his Ferrari” here)
- Practice Forgiveness
Letting go of the hostility and hatred that you may have allowed to bottle up inside you is something you do for yourself rather than for the benefit of the other person. Every minute you devote to thinking about someone who has wronged you is a minute you have stolen from a much worthier pursuit: attracting those people who will help you.
- Drink Fresh Fruit Juice
If you owned an expensive Formula One race car, you wouldn’t think of fueling it with anything less than premium-grade gas. So why would you put anything less than the best foods into your body, which is an even more valuable performance vehicle?
- Take a Mini – Vacation
A mini-vacation begins with holding all calls and relaxing in your chair. Then close your eyes and begin taking deep breaths. Once you feel deeply at peace, begin to imagine you are at your favourite vacation spot. Vividly see the colours, hear the sounds, and feel the emotions that this special place evokes. After only a few minutes of this mental escape, you will be rejuvenated, ready for the rest of the day ahead.
- Become a Volunteer
Giving the gift of your time by volunteering to serve those who have less than you is an excellent way to remind yourself on a regular basis of the abundance that exists in your life.
- Listen to Music Daily
Music can lift your mood, put the smile back on your face, and add immeasurably to your quality of life. Get serious about listening to music that inspires you. Build a collection of your favourite pieces and play something that fills your heart with joy every single day of the week.
- Write a Legacy Statement
Reflect on what it is you want to create in your life and, more importantly, what gift you wish to leave the world when you are no longer here. Greatness comes from beginning something that does not end with you.
- Find Three Great Friends
To build deeper friendships, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone, break the ice with people you might not know very well, and show sincere warmth. If you plant the seeds of friendship, you are bound to receive a rich harvest of great friends.
- Learn to Meditate
If you lack the mental focus to stay with one activity for any length of time, you will never be able to achieve your goals, build your dreams, or enjoy life’s process. Without deep concentration, your mind will be your master rather than your servant. Meditation helps you build just that.
- Carry a Goal Card
The card simply lists your top life goals along with clear deadlines for achieving them. The discipline of reconnecting to your highest priorities, whether they are personal, professional, or spiritual, is a smart one. The person who tries to do everything ultimately accomplishes nothing. Having a goal card and coming back to it three or four times a day will keep your mind centred on the things that truly count.
- Savor the Simple Stuff
Your best memories will eventually come from life’s simplest things. Dale Carnegie wrote, “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”
- Stop Condemning
It is easy to fall into the habit of condemning others, even those we love most. We focus on the most minute details and find fault with the smallest of issues. But what we focus on grows. And if we keep focusing on a small weakness in someone, it will continue to grow in our minds until we perceive it to be a big problem in that person.
- Create a Daily Code of Conduct
To create a great life, you must live more intentionally, deliberately, and passionately so that you live on your own terms rather than on someone else’s. Create your own Daily Code of Conduct. It is simple three paragraphs containing the values, virtues, and vows you have determined through much reflection that you need to live by in order for your life to be a fulfilling one.
- Be Humble
The tree that has the most fruits is the tree that bends to the ground. In a word, be humble. Practicing humility shows that you respect others and reminds us that there is so much for us yet to learn.
- Don’t Finish Every Book You Start
Not every book deserves to be read in its entirety. If you find that after reading the first three chapters of a book, you have not gained any worthwhile information or that the book has failed to keep your attention, do yourself a favor: put the book away and make better use of your time.
- Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Once and for all stop being so hard on yourself. You are a human being and human beings have been designed to make mistakes. As long as you don’t keep making the same errors and have the good judgment to let your past serve you, you will be on the right track. Accept them and move on.
- Make a Vow of Silence
The Buddhist monks have a favourite strategy to build willpower – the vow of silence. Staying quiet for even short periods of time builds willpower and self-control because you exert force on your will by not giving in to the impulse to talk.
- Don’t Pick Up the Phone Every Time It Rings
The telephone is there for your convenience, not for the convenience of your callers. Yet, as soon as we hear the phone ring, we act as if we are firefighters rushing to a five-alarm fire. We run to pick it up as if our lives depended on the call being answered at once. Many of those calls, however, turn out to be ones that could have been taken later.
- Sleep Less
Most of us sleep far more than we need to. We say to ourselves that we must have at least eight good hours under the covers to function at our best. We cannot imagine getting by on less sleep and shudder at the very thought. Yet, it is not the quantity of sleep that is most important. What counts is the quality and richness of your sleep.
- Become an Imposter
Research has shown that the way you act influences the thoughts you think. If you generally model yourself physically after a depressed person, you will eventually start to feel depressed. If, on the other hand, you smile and laugh and stand upright with your head held high, you will soon find that you feel much better, even though you may not have been in a great mood, to begin with. Using this information, you can start to “fake it till you make it.”
- Don’t Worry About Things You Can’t Change
54 percent of the worries of an average man relate to things that would likely never happen; 26 percent are about past actions that cannot be changed; 8 percent relate to the opinions of people who do not matter to you; 4 percent concern personal health issues you may have resolved, and only 6 percent concern real issues worthy of your attention. By identifying and then letting go of the worries you can do nothing about, you can eliminate 94 percent of the problems that plague you.
- Learn How to Walk
First, a walk should never have a specific purpose. Rather than having a destination, you should simply immerse yourself in the beauty of the walk itself. Second, you must never take your worries with you on the walk. And finally, be fully aware. Train yourself to pay complete attention to the sights, sounds, and smells.
- Plant a tree
While there are clearly many more elements of a happy and complete life, the idea of planting a tree is an excellent one. Watching a tree grow from a sapling into a tall oak will keep you connected with the daily passage of time and the cycles of nature. Just as the tree grows and matures, so too will you be able to mark your personal passages and growth as a human being.
- Find Your Place of Peace
Everyone needs a sanctuary or a “place of peace” where they can go to be quiet and still. This special place will serve as your oasis in a world of stress. It will be a spot where you can take refuge from the crush of daily activities that demand your time, energy, and attention. Even a wooden bench in your favourite park can serve as your place of peace.
- Take More Pictures
A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Take more pictures, record the best times of your life. Collect photographs of the things that have made you smile or cry or appreciate the many blessings this world provides. You might be surprised how good you will feel when you go through your albums years from now.
- Collect Quotes That Inspire You
The value of a great quote lies in the fact that it contains a world of wisdom, the wisdom that may have taken the author many years to arrive at, in a line or two. Over the next few weeks, start your collection of quotations, words that you can keep referring to when you need some instant inspiration or advice about how to deal with those curves life sometimes sends our way.
- Selflessly Serve
One of the greatest lessons for a highly fulfilling life is to rise from a life spent chasing success to one dedicated to finding significance. And the best way to create significance is to ask yourself one simple question, “How may I serve?” You just cannot pursue success; success ensues.
We live in a fast-paced world where we are taught that if we don’t match the pace of those around us, we will be left behind. Well, this book comes handy on how to not just match up but rather get ahead by bringing small gradual changes in everyday life. These ideas are so trivial that you will wonder why they never occurred to you. This book is something that will reverberate in your mind for a long time, leave alone giving you an idea of what’s most important.