Book Review: The Buddha & The Badass

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Vishen Lakhiani

Finished Reading Oct 2020

I discovered this book after listening to The Genius Life Episode 116, when Max Lugavere interviewed the author about mindset tactics to become more powerful in work and in society.

Vishen Lakhiani writes about issues with current society and expectations to live within the status quo, rather than forging your own path and direction. His message and business ethics focus on the wellness of the individual. He offers techniques and structured methodologies to help build organisational values, vision, and alternative ideas on how to grow a business and keep a team of people together.

The message in the book which resonates with me the strongest, is when he talks about how a majority of humanity spend their lives working in jobs which do not inspire or fulfil them in any way. He analogises, imagining what an alien species would think if they discovered earth to see billions of people doing things they do not like to do, every day of their lives.

He writes about ways to move forward and past the restrictions society places on our own expectations. Expectations that you find a single career, and stick with that for the rest of your life. A career which would have almost certainly started prior to full maturity of the brain. A career you would have chosen after leaving school, prior to university, or one predefined by parents.

Vishen recounts lessons about how to change your mindset. How to change the direction of your life to be the person you were born to be. To become the best version of yourself.

Obviously the reason this resonates with me so strongly is because of my own career change at such a relatively late point in life. When I began in the shipping industry it was the most exciting time in my life. And to be fair this lasted for more than 20 years, which is a great stretch to stay motivated and excited about a single career I fell into, rather than chose. 

But at some point in my early forties, this changed as I reached the pinnacle of where I could realistically reach within the organisation I was with. As I saw the politics and backstabbing firsthand which occurred at top level management. As I got sucked into it, drawn into the battle for survival of the fittest, my energy and vibrancy was sucked out of me. I began despising the industry which had given me so many opportunities in life. I hated going into the office every day, with the fear that the next email will be another politically driven knife into my back

At this point I will place a caveat. An important caveat to be fair and protect the great team of people I had working with me. The good people of the legacy management who eventually drove the politics out of the company. But for a 3 to 5 year period from 2008 to 2013, I was driven to despair, and mentally checked out of an industry which had given me so much.

During those years I knew I had to do something else. I had to find another way, another path. I felt unfulfilled and uninspired. I felt trapped in an industry with no value for future generations. No real consideration for the planet. No true desire to fix the environmental damage being made. I thought to myself, “what value do I bring to any one person?”. Sure I help move consumer required products around the world. But that wasn’t human value. Those were just consumer requirements based on the selfish gene to want new shiny things. How did I help anybody’s life? 

So with these thoughts and concerns very much at the forefront of my mind, I took myself back to my teenage years and tried to remember what my dreams were besides making money. I researched how to change career, and came across many quotes saying you should first think about what your hobbies are. What do you think, read, research about in your spare time?

And that’s when the career change began to take shape. Because the one thing I was continually researching back in 2013 was how to be healthier. How to prolong your life. How to be active when you’re old. 

Seven years later I continue down this path of transition through Urbalife with increased vigour and excitement as to what my future career will bring. Conversely and interestingly, this has massively helped my mid-career crisis within the shipping industry. I have come to terms with the reality of this planet damaging industry, and accept it for what it is. Because I know my future life will bring value and help others live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Since discovering Vishen I have made contact and follow his thoughts closely. He is an inspirational thinker with positivity and kindness driving everything he does. This is a book which will bring lightness and direction to anybody’s life, with guidance and progressive tools to help you navigate obstacles in this journey of life we are all on.

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