We all read so many books throughout our lives, but there are only a handful that we find ourselves re-reading. For me, I literally have only 3 books on my shelf that I read multiple times.
The Present was a book I bought back when I was studying for my Masters degree. I was on a internship where I was learning basic managerial skills: motivating employees, establishing a teamwork culture in an organization, and increasing productivity. It has been recommended to me and I have learned that it continues to be shared in the workplace even today.
This is a book that can be finished in a few hours, literally. It is very simply written, but demands one to reflect and contemplate. The Present is exactly what you make of it. We all are aware of it, but its implementation is what is so challenging. Carpe diem, as the Romans would say, is an ancient reminder that is illustrated in this book.
The message is simple, yet difficult to implement on a daily basis.
1. Live life in the present
2. Learn from the past to make the present better
3. Focus on the present to make a desired future possible
4. Live with purpose and intention
The Present addresses these 4 core lessons through a story that is shared between 2 characters. The reader is asked to reflect upon the story and think how they can implement these lessons into their own lives.
Living with purpose is central to my existence. I was taught by wonderful mentors and leaders who always put purpose before "work." The idea that our work must fulfill some personal purpose is key for self-motivation and focus in life. Consider following one of my favorite leadership scholars, John Maxwell, on twitter #intentionalliving.
If you like books that are very descriptive and tell you exactly what to think, then you may not like this book. But, if you like books that facilitate reflection, discussion, and allow you to reflect from your own perspective, then you will enjoy this book.
I love it and hope you consider reading this book. Share it with your young adults, discuss its principles as a family, and share it with others.
- Dr. Ahmed
Those who love to read books will understand the feeling I had when my friend, colleague, and business partner - Dr. Kylie Vannaman (CEO, KC Family Doc) gave me a book as a gift. To some, this gesture may mean nothing more than just another way of saying, “Thank you.” But to me it was more.
You see, giving a book as a gift is a profound gesture. It is sharing knowledge; thus, some may say it empowers the recipient to become stronger, wiser, or even more skillful. With this in mind, I share with all of you my recent book review.
My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen MD is a book that touches every soul who reads it. Those who invite its words to challenge their mind to reflect and arouse emotion within their hearts will find it exemplary.
Life is usually reflected upon when we are in times of need or in some way find ourselves hurt, injured, or in some way deterred from the immortal path we think we are on. How do we change that? Does hearing the diagnosis of cancer or some life limiting disease be the only trigger for reflection and appreciation for life?
Each one of us, as mundane as our jobs and lives may seem at times, is a blessing.
Dr. Remen writes, “Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often, finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is about seeing familiar things in new ways. When we find new eyes, the unsuspected blessing in work we have done for many years may take us completely by surprise. We can see life in many ways: with the eyes, with the mind, with the intuition. But perhaps it is only by those who speak the language of meaning, who have remembered how to see with the heart, that life is ever deeply known or served. “ (119)
There are many stories in this book that you will find yourself indulged, full of reflection, and possibly in tears. Each one of us has taken care of someone ill or lost someone close at some point in our lives and can relate to the many touching stories. For me, this following passage rang deep in my soul,
“Perhaps finding the right protection is the first responsibility of anyone hoping to make a difference in this world. Caring deeply makes us vulnerable. You cannot move things forward without exposure and involvement, without risk and process and criticism. Those who wish to change things may face disappointment, loss, or even ridicule. If you are ahead of your time, people laugh as often as they applaud, and being there first is usually lonely. But our protection cannot come between us and our purpose. Right protection is something within us rather than something between us and the world, more about finding a place of refuge and strength than finding a hiding place.” (136)
Finally, I leave with this:
“The wish to control floats like a buoy above the hidden reef of fear. More than any single thing, fear is the stumbling block to life’s agenda. Perhaps it is only the things we fear that we wish to control. No one can serve life if they are unconsciously afraid of life. Life is process. When he was very old, Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis, reminded one of his young students of this: “There is no certainty; there is only adventure,” he told this young man. “Even stars explode.” (169)
I hope you consider reading this book and sharing its wisdom with your family and friends.
Many blessings to all who read my blog,
- Dr. Ahmed
"He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all."