This is a fascinating book on the power of reconditioning your mind to change your life in the face of adversity, from writer and speaker, Itayi Garande. In the book, Itayi uses his power of story-telling to explore some of the ways that he utilised to achieve seven academic degrees, run successful businesses and employ hundreds of people in London. Itayi’s memories bring us back to his childhood in post-colonial Africa, through his journeys in Europe, starting in Geneva, Switzerland and later settling in the United Kingdom. He paints vividly the captivating tales of how he came to achieve success in an environment that at first seemed not to offer any opportunity. His story ends with a buoyant and breathtaking conclusion. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to change his or her life in one minute.
Targeted Age Group:: 21-100
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My life history inspired me and the experiences of most of my friends and colleagues in the United Kingdom. The book is about young immigrant black men who triumph in the country, in spite of the daily challenges that they face. This book demonstrates what needs to change to achieve your goals. The author shows how he went from having £20 on arrival in the UK to be a successful businessman, house owner, and holder of seven academic degrees including two in law and a PhD.
Painful experiences are an inevitable part of life. We all face traumatic events in our lives and these include the deaths of people we love, physical and mental illnesses, financial instability and breakdown in relationships. We all face challenges and loss in our personal lives that cause us pain, grief and sorrow. But think of this: What if we could learn to see life as a gift, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in? What if we could just take one minute to make that commitment to change our circumstances to our advantage?
One of my mentors, Bill Casey, whom I worked with many years ago in East London, always spoke about a part of the human being that is deep inside, always present, peaceful, joyful and content. That part of us is always grateful for all experience, no matter the nature—painful or pleasurable. It is who we truly are, not the bitter conditioned self that we fight with daily. We benefit from remembering to infuse every experience with joy, play, curiosity and laughter at every opportunity. Gratitude helps such infusion immensely.
I felt like just a random piece of biology. My best bet was to make a lot of money, get a house, start a family and wait until this horrible thing called death comes.
I experienced the existential pain of living a narrative that had been drilled in my head through conditioning. Put simply, I inherited an especially partial worldview and lived through it until I discovered a more complete, up-to-date worldview. Even though I had started living a life full of opportunities, I still suffered failure. I battled loneliness, depression and anxiety and I hid it from everyone, acting like I was alright.
With no tools to cope in an atomised, disconnected Western culture, I chose to act on a pain impulse, not realising that I was living a good life, had family, a career that most young people of my age did not have and was stuck with a deep feeling of dissatisfaction, a sense that there must be something more, a gnawing feeling of this, or of myself, not being enough.
I was beginning to get most things that I had desired as a teenager.
When I understood that I had been conditioned to think more about pain and suffering and less about success and gratitude, I immediately understood that there was nothing—no rejection, no death, no global cataclysm, not even fear itself—to fear in life.
I realised the true nature that flows from this clarity. Consider for a moment the possibility, however ludicrous it may seem, that everything that has ever happened, is happening, or will ever happen is but a part of a process that is meant to strengthen your resilience. It is not meant to amplify your fears and anxieties. You should face even your challenges with gratitude because without them you would never develop the resilience that is needed for success.
The purpose of your life is to realise what you are, to awaken, to grow and evolve. Everything can be alchemised for this purpose through gratitude. For me, the key ingredient in this alchemical awakening is gratitude. It helps you realise that there are more things to be thankful for, than to be mad about. It makes you realise that you probably already have more than you think, materially, emotionally, financially.
When applied liberally, consistently and courageously, gratitude can turn shame into self-love, dissatisfaction into deep contentment, tumult into peace, challenge into opportunity, and perceived separation into realised unity. Gratitude is what turns what may seem as an intensely painful life into an intensely thrilling adventure.
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