Neil Pasricha: Start your day with a two-minute writing ritual
NYT bestselling author also encourages Sharjah International Book Fair 2020
audience to commit themselves to reading more
Sharjah, November 8, 2020
How can we make our lives more awesome and live a happier life, especially at a time of great uncertainty?
Canadian author Neil Pasricha, whose roster of seven NYT bestselling works includes The Happiness Equation and the Book of Awesome series, offered both practical ideas and suggestions as he spoke to a global audience in a session held on the ‘Sharjah Reads’ virtual platform at the 39th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair.
Speaking from his home in Toronto with Sharjah’s Pulse95 Radio presenter Sally Mousa at the session titled ‘Real Happy: Creating True Happiness No Matter What Life Throws at You’, the bestselling author said: “Each of us is given only 30,000 days on this planet, and on any given day, the average person is awake for 1,000 minutes. The choices you make at the start of these precious 1,000 minutes will have a lasting impact all day long.”
His advice? “Start each day with a two-minute writing ritual that strengthens the mind. Allow yourself to reflect on just three questions – I will let go of, I am grateful for, and I will focus on. This written exercise works as it enhances healing by letting go of regrets, primes your brain for positivity by specifying what you are grateful for, and helps you achieve more by targeting a few small commitments from your endless ‘should do’ lists.”
This simple, research-based practice can help everyone feel better and get more done, said the author who also hosts the award-winning podcast 3 Books, where he is on a 15-year quest to uncover the 1,000 most formative books in the world.
Neil, who has recently taken up birdwatching, urged his international audience to actively pursue a ‘weird’ hobby outside their comfort zone since “your learning rate is the steepest when you know the least.”
When the realities of life weigh you down, “learn to add a ‘yet’ to the end of every sentence that begins with – I can’t, I don’t, or I won’t,” he said. “Resilience, as I see it, is the ability to see the little sliver of light right between the door and the frame after you hear the latch click.”
Cautioning listeners to consciously take time off from digital devices, he said: “Technology has advanced our lives, helping us live better, but it is also a key reason why more people are unhappy as they are constantly comparing themselves to everyone’s best self. So, technology not only eats into your time and kills productivity, it also affects both psychological and physiological health.”
With the increased usage of technology, the competition to books has never been stronger, said the father of three who finds time to read 50 to 100 books on average annually.
His tips for a happier, productive life? “Surround yourself with books, join or start a book club, switch off all devices two hours before sleep and utilise that time to read, and of course, participate in more events like SIBF.”
Organised by Sharjah Book Authority under the theme, ‘The World Reads from Sharjah’, the 2020 edition of SIBF concludes on November 14.