Released back in 1999, Who Will Cry When you Die is as relevant today as it was over 20 years ago. Indian writer, Robin Sharma, offers timeless advice on overcoming the difficulties of life while developing your personality and skills. The third book in the series The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, has a unique structure that makes it easy to pick up and read the parts that are most applicable to you. Specifically, it is divided into 101 short chapters, with each chapter offering solutions to everyday life problems. These solutions range from learning from good movies to the importance of planting trees.
About Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma is considered one of the top 5 leadership experts in the world and is an author of a #1 Bestseller, the 5 AM club. Having advised rock stars, royalty, billionaires, and celebrity CEOs, Robin is admired by some of the world’s most successful people. When younger, he worked as a litigation lawyer. He quit this career aged 25 to pursue stress management and spirituality.
“When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.”― Cherokee Proverb
If the wisdom present in the ancient Sanskrit quote above has hit a few chords inside you, this book is for you. Who Will Cry When You Die is a life-changing book written by Robin Sharma, the author of the popular books The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The 5 AM Club.
This book summary will provide you with an outline of the key philosophies proposed by Robin Sharma in this book. Although not exhaustive, this book summary will provide you with the philosophies that will have the most profound impact on your life.
Ask yourself who will care about you when you die. Live life in the moment and start scheduling your life for happier days. Do so with self-discipline
Robin Sharma starts this book by asking specific questions that make us think about our lives. Have you ever thought about who will attend your funeral? Who will speak? Who will cry? And who will still be loving you? Asking ourselves questions like this can bring peace and calmness to our daily life. These questions help ground us as humans, moving us away from the monotonous workday where we can become robots.
Similarly, this book urges us to schedule our daily life tasks. We should pay attention to this schedule and identify when we are not spending enough time being human. We must allocate time for our loved ones, family, friends, and nature. Additionally, though, we must also allocate time to be alone. Being alone allows us to ponder upon life.
We should do what we love to do. Scheduling, passion, and self-discipline are ideas that consistently arise throughout the book. Scheduling is an important art that everyone needs to master in his or her life to become highly effective and successful. We should make a to-do list every day, and then important activities need to be separated from the unimportant ones. The real secret to getting things done is to know what things need to be left undone.
Be positive, stop worrying, and start living
“It is so easy to magnify our problems and lose sight of the many blessings we all have to be so very grateful for.”
Let the brightness of positivity enter your life. We should stop worrying and thinking about the things that we wish never happened to us. We should never worry about past events. This thinking blocks all the positive things that we hope for in our life. Our thought patterns are extremely impactful; when we think positively, we can start attracting positive things. When you think positively, positive things start happening. It certainly makes no sense to worry about past mistakes unless we want to experience them for the second time. Therefore, one of the key messages from this book was that we should all worry less and live more. Strong people move on. Strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
Try something new every day. Run faster, dream bigger, and fail better
“Have the bravery and try something new and then fail rather than never to have tried it.”
Jeff Bezos, the founder of the world’s No. 1 online e-commerce platform once said, “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
A similar point was made by Booker T. Washington, a famous writer on slavery, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
We should take risks in our life because life is not on the side of the faint-hearted. Life is nothing more than a game of numbers, which means that the more risks you take, the more rewards you will receive. Always remain in search of opportunities and stop spending your days searching for security. Swap security for opportunity.
“The person who tries to do everything ultimately achieves nothing.” It is not important to be a Jack of all trades. Instead, you should be specialized in some particular area or field.
Avoid negative thoughts; they can kill you alive
As mentioned earlier, negative thoughts should be avoided. This book presents this through the lens of the famous quote, “Chita burns the dead body while Chinta burns the living.” This quote gives us a lesson of how we should live life to its fullest. Here, “Chita” means funeral pyre, while “Chinta” means thinking negatively or worrying. Yes, it is right that Chita, wood heaped for burning a dead body as a funeral rite, burns the dead body. However, our negative thoughts kill us alive. The latter is arguably worse.
As well as wasting our time as we move towards our death, negative thoughts can also impact our likelihood of dying. Negative thoughts are seriously dangerous for the human body, partly due to the stress response in the body. This response can result in many diseases, like blood pressure and heart problems.
Take care of your body
In a solid body rests a solid mind. Our minds are the most important things for us, as humans. However, our minds rely on our bodies. Having a healthy body allows us also to have a healthy and peaceful mind.
Robin Sharma recommends eating healthily and engaging with exercise. Engaging with these two changes in your life will add years to life and improve the well-being of the years you are alive.
Life’s greatest pleasures are often the simplest ones
As humans, we often strive for the complicated and elaborate pleasures in life. However, often the greatest pleasures in life are the simplest ones. These simple pleasures are vital as they are the ones we can all engage with in our lives. So, feed an animal, water a plant, or plant a tree. Be closer to nature.
Be productive, not just busy
“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are you so busy about?”
Have you ever asked yourself whether you are productive or just busy? We should not only be busy but productively occupied. We need to ask ourselves continuously whether we are only busy or we are productive too. If we are just the former, then we need to consider why this might be. Perhaps you don’t need to be so busy and can scale some things back. Scaling things back might help you to focus more on the fundamentals of being productive.
Focus on the quality of sleep, not the quantity
We should focus on the quality of our sleep, not the quantity. It doesn’t matter whether we are having six, eight, or nine hours of sleep. If the quality of sleep is low, then the quantity of sleep is a waste of time.
Robin Sharma provided some very insightful tips that can help you to have sleep of a higher quality. Firstly, don’t eat after 8 PM. Instead, you should have an early dinner. You do not want your body to be digesting while you try to sleep. Additionally, don’t rehearse the activities of your day while sleeping. Finally, don’t read in bed and watch the news before you go to sleep. These last two tips will help make your bed a place that is solely for sleeping.
Robin Sharma also advises us to sleep less. This is something that other visionaries have encouraged. For example, Thomas Edison once stated that “Sleep is like a drug, take too much at a time, and it makes you dopey. You lose time and opportunities.” Most of the time, we sleep to avoid reality not to reduce our fatigue. Ultimately, fatigue is often a mental creation that stems from doing things you do not like doing.
Pain is a teacher, and failure is the highway to success
We learn from our pain and failure. Difficult times are crucial for self-discovery. During life’s most difficult times, we discover who we are and the fullness of the strength that lies within us. Therefore, we should try to be happy, whatever your life circumstances. Even if your life is difficult at this time, it will make you stronger. Just think, the life you are living could be a dream life for someone. We should always count our blessings, not the sufferings. William Jones once observed that we don’t laugh because we are happy; we are happy because we laugh.
Model yourself on a child. Live life like a school-going kid who questions everything and wants to know and learn something different every day
As our body needs food for its nourishment, in the same way, our mind needs different creative and positive thoughts and ideas for its development and betterment. We should live life like a school-going kid who wants to learn new things every day. We should have a curiosity about the world around us. Curiosity is what makes human beings different from other animals, and we should embrace this.
Human beings have a natural tendency to observe, feel, and look deep inside whatsoever is going around them. If you take a small child in a garden and point towards the moon, the child will look to the moon. Take your dog into the garden and point towards the moon; the dog will look at your finger.
Instead of behaving like other animals, forgetting the curiosity that made us who we are today, we should live our life like a child who asks different questions all the time. Robin Sharma has used a Chinese proverb to explain this point, “he who asks may be a fool for five minutes, but he who doesn’t is a fool for a lifetime.”
Keep moving towards your goal and never underestimate the power of every small step you take
“The smallest of actions are always more important than the boldest of intentions.”
Most of the time, we ignore the greatness of doing little things, and we overvalue discussing our great intentions. An action may seem very small, but it will always be far more effective than anything passive or inactive. Words that are not followed by tangible actions are worth nothing. You can share many impressive ideas with other people, but your words are destined to lose value if your ideas are not accompanied by action. In the end, people remember us for our actions, not our words. Action is vital to achieving something with your life.
Use your words carefully. If the matter has already been printed and in the jury’s hands, the bell cannot be unrung
“Words are like arrows; once released, they are impossible to retrieve.”
We should be cautious when speaking. We need to keep in mind both what we are saying and to whom we are talking. Words are not sparrows; once they have flown, they can’t be recaptured. Robin Sharma emphasizes this point in detail because once you have said something, it will be adapted as the other individual’s interpretation. You cannot take this back.
All deaths are tragedies, but some lives are even greater tragedies
We are living in a strange era where we are alive, yet we don’t live. This is precisely what Norman Cousins has depicted quite wonderfully, “The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” Some people are buried at the age of 80, but they die at the age of 30. We don’t only die when we stop breathing; we also die when we stop thinking and imagining new ideas and things, and when we have no goals, perspective, or meaning in our life. Years wrinkle our skin but to give up on ideas and enthusiasm wrinkles our soul. All deaths are taken as tragedies, but some lives are even greater tragedies.
Practice forgiveness, don’t carry the bag of grudge on your back
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it.”
Don’t carry a grudge on your back. When you bear a grudge against someone, it is almost as if you carry that around on your back. A grudge is just like anger. Anger builds up in us, when not dealt with, and erodes us. The main issue with grudges is that they don’t fulfill the purpose of what they are there to serve. They don’t give us a feeling of betterment or healing.
However, we don’t have to carry them as a badge of honor. This badge will only drain you of energy, enthusiasm, and peace of mind. You can decide to let this badge go and feel better for it.
Imagine a richer reality
We see the world not as it is but as we are. These are our perceptions, which can dramatically change the way we see the outside world. When we are sad, we perceive everyone as sad. However, when we are happy, we perceive everyone as having this same positive energy. This means that being happy and positive will attract further positivity from the world around us.
Don’t worry about things you can’t change
Don’t stress if you have wasted time in the past. One of the most beautiful things about time is that you can’t waste it in advance. It doesn’t matter how much time you have lost in the past; stop thinking and worrying about that, and utilize the coming hour with your full potential and make it perfect and unspoiled.
Live life to the full so you can die happy.