"Go and reconquer your kingdom, which has grown corrupted by routine." Coelho, Aleph
When I packed Coelho's "Aleph" and Ariana Huffington' s "Redefining Success" in my Bali luggage, little did I know about these two books. It was supposed to be, some light reading & some inspirational. Turned out, self-discovery and redefining success are very much in connection ...
I don't usually travel light, not when it comes to fashion&beauty, nor when it comes to books for vacations. In my opinion an exotic escape is not complete without 1-2 good books, to be read in the shade of a palm tree, while listening to the ocean. In the end, I get to experience a double escape, a double getaway, both geographical and intellectual.
Choosing my readings for this trip, wasn't difficult: I read great reviews about Ariana Huffington, and Coelho, for me is just easy reading on a long flight.
But what a surprise...
Aleph is Coelho's most personal novel, about a journey to self-discovery. Successful but unhappy, trapped in a routine life, disconnected from God, Paulo embarks on a new journey, seeking for answers.
"To live is to experience things, not sit around pondering the meaning of life. The truth is, I've always traveled like a mad thing, ever since I was young. Recently, though, I seem to be spending my life in airports and hotels, and any sense of adventure has rapidly given way to a profound tedium"
It's impossible, not to relate to this: solitude, success, unhappiness, the feeling of being trapped, an existential crisis that happens to all of us.
It's very much similar to what Ariana Huffington self-improvement book is all about. Ariana is a Greek-American author, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the world famous "Huffington Post". In 2009, she was named number 12 in Forbes, Most Influential Women in Media. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013 she AOL acquired Huffington post for $315milion.
One would say this is the very image of success itself. But in April 2007, she fainted and fell in her home office:
"I was on the cover of magazines and had been chosen by Time as one of the 100 most influential people. After my fall, I had to ask myself, was this what success looked like?"
This is how the book starts and gives the reader a feeling a suspension in time. What is the secret of successful and happy life? Historically speaking, success has been reduced to money and power. But that is not enough. Ariana makes a fascinating research about what really matters in life : The need for what she calls " the third metric", the need to slow down, reflect, unplug from devices and feel fulfilled and happy with your life.
She also brings arguments about the impact of technology on our culture and life. The millennial generation is clearly the most stressed ever. We tend to have a pathological relationship with our devices instead of relating to real people, in real life.
Electronic devices not only overload the senses but also invade leisure time. Therefore the need " to disconnect in order to connect" to yourself.
The need for slowing down, focusing on what really matters in life is very important. In other words, the third metric, which includes: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.
The need for meditation and mindfulness: Steve Jobs practiced meditation and he confirmed the connection between meditation and creativity; At Google, employees have a course entitled SIY ( Search Inside Yourself) based on practising attention and focus, self-discovery.
The mindfulness is a very fashionable trend these days, there are dozens of applications available on android and iPhone that ironically help to "disconnect for a few moments" when you feel stressed.
We live in a culture that suffers from time obsession. Those who have the inner power to disconnect are more likely to enjoy life and feel happy.
Ariana's book is full of inspirational quotes and examples from all history. her book turned out to be very appropriate for vacation reading... and in theme with Bali.
How ironically, after the success of "Eat . Pray. Love" people come to Bali to slow down, to re-discover themselves and re-connect with the spiritual side, through meditation and yoga.
And here I am enjoying a massage on the beach and reading about success and self-discovery:)
Did Coelho found his answers and Aleph? If you are curious about his journey, go ahead and buy his book.
Did Ariana really found the secret "third metric", for a happy life? I say, the book is worth reading if you are going through a mid-age crisis. Her stories are empowering and inspirational.
After all we are all in journey to re-define our destiny and re-write our story.
Did I found my answers in Bali? At crossroads, for the third time in my life, I suddenly knew: it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.