Didn’t expect it, but this was really good. It challenged me a lot. I’m more liberal in temperament (at least for now), and I tend to struggle with conservative types, and am often quite quick to criticise organisations (especially my religious community) – I’m always ready to make changes, but without inheriting traditions. This taught me to actively seek perspectives different to my own and learn from those who value traditions, as the chances are they understand the meaning of the traditions better than I do, and you can’t “break the rules” without understanding the meta-rules (e.g. Jesus healing on the Sabbath).
Another thing it taught me is the importance of commitment. To be honest, at times lately I’ve been burnt out with my Physics degree, as I don’t plan to go into the field after my studies; but this book reminded of the importance of commitment, even when the thing we commit to doesn’t end up being what we’d imagined it would be. And I see now that this degree is less about the content I learn, and more about the person I become in the process: disciplined, reliable, patient, honest, person of integrity etc. And funnily enough, since framing it that way, I’m enjoying the content of the degree a lot more for its own sake. It’s not a means to an end anymore; it’s a journey that I’m learning to enjoy.
Lately I’ve thought how I’m a part of one small religious community out of hundreds of thousands on our planet, which is a small corner of our solar system, which is a small corner of our galaxy which is… etc. So how can I be sure it’s the “right one”?
But I realised that’s the wrong question; because maybe faith is more like marriage, where you’re all in, for better or for worse, and rather than investing energy your whole life wondering whether you married “the right person”, you focus your energy on getting to know the other person and building a deeper connection with them.
And that seems to apply for career and creative pursuits as well: if you’ve always got your eye on an escape route, then you never get to see the thing/the other in its/their entirety.
I could go on, but what was great about this book is that it didn’t allow me to just move on to the next book; it forced me to confront some of my fundamental beliefs (by way of my behaviour), and has already had a positive impact on my relationships and sense of belonging in the world. And that, to me, is what makes a great book.
Long story short: I really liked it, so you might enjoy it too.