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My Top 3 Life-Changing Reads: 3 Books That Got Me Thinking Different

These books didn't just tell stories, they rewrote mine.

There are only three books, apart from the Bible, that have shaken the core of my existence and shaped my mind tremendously, and none of them include 'Atomic Habits.' It’s a great book, but it's not in my top ten at the moment. The first book was 'Rich Dad Poor Dad,' written by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. Maybe because I read this book when I was 6 years old, it's the only book that made me want to get rich slowly. It taught me a lot about assets and liabilities. It was actually my neighbor’s book. I normally would hang out with her during the weekends or if my mom had to run errands. I saw it on her bookshelf and asked her if I could read it. Her response was, 'Wouldn’t it bore you?' And I told her, 'I wouldn’t know unless I read it.' I loved it.

It was the only book that made me want to start my business at 15 so badly because I knew that if I could get my business to pay for my assets, then my assets would pay for my liabilities. Luckily, my dad was always quick to answer my questions about accumulating assets and what would make your assets generate income, whether it is long or short term.

At such a young age, I already had the foundation I needed to build on because I could understand what I needed to spend money on and what is the key factor in multiplying your money. Luckily, when you grow up in the digital era, it’s easy to create 'digital assets' that generate money, even though it is a whole lot trickier than I would like.

For example, someone can plagiarize your work and actually get away with it due to various reasons, but it’s not easy for someone to run off and duplicate land you already own. It’s a much longer process.

The second book was 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho. Oh man, this book reignited my passion. It poured gasoline on my slow-burning soul and gave me wings Red Bull couldn’t give me. I don’t even remember how I found this book; perhaps it found me… But I remember buying it and being obsessed. So obsessed that I buy any other edition they come out with. I collect them. I am even looking for one that was printed in 1988.

The final book was 'The Power of Significance' by John C. Maxwell. It made me realize how much I love my work and how I needed to work on my inner self before my outer self. I actually got this book a little after it came out in South Africa. It was my first week in college, and my dad and I went shopping for essentials and ended up in a bookstore. Shoutout to my baba for always fueling my book addiction. I watched him stack books and novels, read all of them, and keep them. It was amazing. These books had nothing to do with obtaining six figures or being a millionaire in a couple of years, but what I read felt like wearing that one pair of heels that scream, 'Whatever I came here for, I got that and more.'

The way I viewed myself changed, what I focused on changed, and what I paid attention to also changed, and that’s the power of perspective. I feel like at some point what I feared also changed. I no longer feared lacking sales, but I was scared that I would wake up and have to start dealing with PayPal's nonsense while I have orders to fulfill and work on.

I’ve never seen a coin with only one side. In a way, a fitting metaphor would be - whichever side you choose, you’ll always be paying the same price, and whatever it is you choose, it creates a balance.

I have two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two lips. You might have one liver, but that’s because your liver needs to be hosted in your body. It's a pair; once your liver fails, that’s the end of you. This idea of balance is everywhere; a business cannot survive without balance. Fear is not the absence of faith, losses aren't the absence of victories, and failures aren't the absence of successes. You can fail and succeed at the same time. They're both on the same side of the coin. It just depends on what side you're willing to face.

I never understood the logic behind 'the tipping scale' in Ancient Egypt until I realized that the way we create balance isn’t solely dependent on what we consume but what we produce - through our actions, thoughts, etc. When we think of Ancient Egypt, our minds often drift to the grand pyramids, majestic Sphinx, or the mysterious rituals of mummification. But let's tip the scales and take a closer look at something more grounded in their everyday life - the humble yet crucial balance scale! The balance scale in Ancient Egypt was indeed like a coin with two sides - one rooted in the practicalities of daily life and the other in the spiritual and moral ethos of their culture. In markets, fields, construction sites, courtrooms, and temples, these scales were more than just measuring devices; they were symbols of a culture that revered balance, fairness, and order, both in the physical world and beyond.

Mind you, I am not a believer in Egyptian mythology. I love learning new things, and that’s one of the things (Egyptian Mythology) I grew up learning a lot about because my dear father decided to name me Cleopatra as my second name.

When Martin Luther King was a great leader, and you know when a man is a great leader by what people who know him say about him. I am learning a lot from his existence even though he is not here with us anymore. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous quote, 'Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase,' reminds me a lot of what Paulo Coelho said about his book going absolutely viral in his international edition print with Harper Collins. He says, 'All I know is that, like Santiago the shepherd boy, we all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling?'

You’re going to have to read 'The Alchemist' - the international edition; it has Señor Paulo Coelho’s personal introduction and interview.

I was sitting on my porch, watching the sun slowly fade into the sky, ignoring all the thirsty mosquitoes trying to holler at me. I read his personal introduction from the first page of his book; he writes, 'I remember receiving a letter from the American Publisher Harper Collins that said that ‘reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept.'

A note to people who perhaps found him at sunset - a time others might feel like it’s towards a beautiful ending, a little late but still on time. The beauty behind impeccable timing allows you to understand that what you need the most finds you when you are ready to receive it because the journey up ahead requires you to have what you thought was insignificant and unnecessary at first. After all, no sunset is ever the same, but they’re all so beautiful, so whatever you think arrived at the end of your anticipation is not worth it, think again.

Martin Luther King’s quote reminded me of what it felt like reading 'The Alchemist' for the very first time, a story that became my memory, and this memory became my tradition. Out of all the quotes I’ve seen associated with Martin Luther King, 'Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase' is probably the only quote that has been quoted from other people’s experience with Martin Luther King.

Being an underdog is quite the journey. We see beyond the staircase; that’s why we are so eager to climb the staircase in the first place. There are millions of us, people who wake up every morning yearning, mourning, or dancing over a dream. It might not be the same dream, but we still share the same emotion - joy, sadness, nostalgia, pain.

Whatever you choose to do this year, remember to honor your purpose. You’re going to have the chance to look back and enjoy a life of stories, and the (your) world is going to resonate with your journey, a.k.a. a compilation of your emotion, more than what you did or had, who you served, and where you’ve been.

Dedication is shown through where you invest your time and energy, and not how well-put your credentials look.

Oh by the way, have you signed up to our mailing list yet? When life gave me lemons, I sold them and bought a microphone for my podcast and I would love to share how I did that with you. Hehehe, girl, I have a nice voice I promise.

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