From birth people are taught to work hard, get good grades in school, get good jobs and live happy and comfortable lives. The concept of happiness and success is today mostly associated with careers, money, extravagant lifestyles and material possessions. Many people spend years studying and preparing themselves for the future and then spend this future working, competing with others and pushing themselves towards societal definition of “success.” However, what does it really mean to be happy and successful? The Monk who Sold His Ferrari is a self-discovery book that tells an intriguing story of Julian Mantle, a successful and wealthy criminal attorney, who after a near death experience, gives up his career and wealth and travels to distant lands in search of the true meaning of happiness, success and life’s purpose. He later comes back to share the newly found wisdom with his colleagues. There is nothing wrong with wealth, successful careers and extravagant lifestyles, but true passion, success and life’s purpose do not depend on the outside factors of human existence rather on the peace found within oneself.
It is normal for humans to crave for factors such as life’s purpose. Articles have been written by different scholars regarding life’s purpose and in the middle of it all, many people seem to misunderstand this concept. Robin S. Sharma tries to clear the misconception regarding the subject through Julian, a fictional character who seems to have it all. However, his money and vast wealth do not afford him the things he yearns for.
One of the most exciting concepts about this book is its definition of success. It paints quite a different perspective about the subject by arguing that outer success is meaningless without inner success (Sharma, 1999). In simple terms, success is determined by self-acceptance and peace within oneself and not by wealth and careers. True destiny can only be reached when individuals confront the societal definition of success and fulfillment and seek to understand the true purpose of the existence. To achieve this, people must learn how to invest in themselves in ways that surpass careers and wealth creation. Even with their tight schedules, individuals must find time to search within themselves, find peace by accepting who they are as this is the only way they can be referred to as successful people.
It is unfortunate that most humans spend their entire lifetime chasing after a distorted version of happiness and self-fulfillment. The society makes it almost impossible for people to break through the bondage of its values and norms. However, those willing to live happy and successful lives need to think and search for these values past their societal norms. The mind and thoughts of humans should be their most prized possessions and should, therefore, be protected from the negative energy culminated by the society.
What is a man without happiness? This is a question extensively answered in this book. This is a factor sought by all human regardless of age, sex, social and economic structure. It is, however, heartbreaking to note that many people spend too much time seeking for this factor in the wrong places. True happiness and contentment emanates from within. It is for this reason that monks, even without material possessions, are the happiest and most contented people in the world.