Your life did not just happen. You experience life exactly as you have fashioned it. If you are unhappy with where you are, you can deconstruct the parts you don't like and build them up again.

That is a statement on my website. And now there is book that shows you exactly how to craft a life that is ideal for you.

Vishen Lakhiani is a computer engineer-or was one!-so he thinks in terms of 'hacking' processes to get more done and better and faster. And he asked an intriguing question-can you 'hack' your life?

"Yes, you can," he concluded and he built Mindvalley into the leader in the personal growth industry and one of the coolest offices in the country in an Inc. magazine reader's poll in 2012. And in the process he custom built his life.

In The Code of the Extraordinary Mind he shows you how you can do the same.

There are lessons in his life-story. He joined Microsoft in the days when it was the tech company to join and was spinning out millionaires like cotton candy. It was most miserable period of his working life.

The problem was that he wasn't doing what turned him on. He was following the programming of South Asian parents who held that the way to get ahead is to become an engineer-doctor is also acceptable!-and get a job with a 'good' company and stick with it for a few decades.

That brings us to Lesson 1: There is a 'culturescape' in which you live that dictates how you think about life, marriage, job, career and huge chunks of what constitutes your life. In that culturescape are many bulls**t rules-abbreviated to 'brules'-that both make your life miserable and hold you back.

Accidents of birth dictate whether you are Christian or Jewish or Muslim and the family, culture and educational system that affect you. This is your culturescape and it has its rules-don't marry someone outside your community, don't eat certain foods, don't mix with certain people etc. Many of these rules actually help you live a sane, fulfilled existence.

But many are arbitrary and propagated unthinkingly. And these can be a source of great pain to you and a bane on society. The first part of the book defines culturescapes and brules and how to identify the unhelpful ones and eradicate them from your life.

Then we get to the really interesting part-how do you re-engineer your life so that you are happier and more productive?

Lakhiani posits that you can 'bend reality' by which he means that you can have such a startlingly different view of what happens to you that life is never the same again and outsiders walk away wondering if you are quite right in the head.

The only way to explain this is by an example. In his early days he hit a brick wall. Mindvalley was stagnant. Sales would not rise and the hours were punishing. His life was on hold. He had young children he barely saw. Bank savings dwindled and layoffs loomed. He acted confident in front of his staff but deep inside felt like a fraud and a failure.

That's when he got a 'bending reality' insight. Stop postponing your happiness. Your thoughts and beliefs do create your reality, but only when your present state is joyful.

He thought he didn't have much to be happy about but came up with a process-described in the book-that revealed how much was super in his life.

Sales trebled in months, payroll exploded and his company was recognized in an Inc. reader's poll.

There are tons of powerful insights. Such as why conventional goal setting is a pathway to despair.

Most persons set 'means goals' such as becoming department head, or earning a particular amount, or reaching a career objective. And then spend inordinate time and effort to achieve those goals. All of these are means to an end.

A better way is to set 'end goals'. These are joyous in and of themselves.

Becoming CEO is a means goal. I will learn something that excites me each week is an end goal.

When you craft well thought out end goals and live your life to reach them, you come alive. And your life is transformed.

The key lesson you learn is that you do not have to seek validation from outside by attaining normal goals. Your validation comes from inside through self-fueled goals and actions driven by deep inner love.

The wonderful paradox is that when you don't really care about external validation, you frequently get it in spades.

Published on: May 2, 2016
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