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Lessons from a Week in Business & Health Detox

A week in Austria - at VivaMayr - for physical, mental, business detox- with Hollywood roylty! The rules here - no phone/talking/reading whilst you eat. Strict eating times and 500 calories a day.

Alpesh Patel writing his best business thoughts
Alpesh Patel Business Thoughts

Top tips and lessons:

The Most Helpful Thing I Read Whilst Here

Dear Stranger,

You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.

It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my life. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.

I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.

So many people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy but, in my opinion, this is where they fail. Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. In order to be happy, you need to think consciously about it. Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too

Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’

They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.

Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And while these things have brought me great joy, it’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. Why? Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective. Try it. Be still. Be present.

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species.

Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.

But don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Take the focus off doing, and start being every day. Be loving, be grateful, be helpful, and be a spectator to your own thoughts.

Allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment. Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being I promise you, happiness will follow.

Happy regards

Richard Branson

The most important book I listened to on the trip.

From the first Hindu Roman Emperor: Marcus Aurelius. His book "Meditations" is President Clinton's favourite. It's not on most Philosophy course as it's not exactly Wittgenstein who was from this country. But it is easy to understand.

It is one of the foundations of stoicism. If you Google the Daily Stoic you'll get some great perspectives for business and life. This old Emperor has often brought out the better me.

One summary - not especially good summary is this:

The key message in this book:

The universe and life itself are governed by a force that encompasses and orders the world: logos. Logos offers proof that all things happen for a reason. Therefore, there is no reason to fear death, suffering or doubt your duty to society, as each is part of a greater, flawless plan.

Actionable advice:

Treat others fairly and with kindness.

You’re the only person who can decide your fate and actions. So, even if others are unkind to you, don’t let yourself stoop to their level. Always treat others with dignity and justice and you’ll never suffer as a result of your own actions.

The Meaning of Life from a Concentration Camp Survivor

Being in Austria, I have been thinking about the Second World War.

"I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.". Vikor Frankl who survived a concentration camp. On liberation he wrote the book "Man's Search for Meaning" about how after such a horrific experience he still maintained a positive attitude to life.

He also said

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

"I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love."

"Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible."

The last time I was in Austria was 23rd June 2016 the day the UK voted to leave the EU. I was in Vienna representing the Hindu faith at an EU conference by its Fundamental Rights Agency which seeks to ensure protection of fundamental rights of citizens of the UK and those within the EU including refugees

I explained my faith speaks not so much about rights as about responsibility.

Shut out the physical world. Control your mind. Then you will be free. Bhagavad Gita

Surrounded by this beauty this country inspired one man to create the most beautiful music heard by the human ear, another the deepest philosophy, yet another profound literature. And another to became a genocidal meglomaniac hell bent on eradicating an entire race of people and plunging the world into war.

The reason Antisemitism is a word of special importance and not something for "what about" is because the formula for our concern is: [proximity in geography] x [number killed] x [proximity in time] x [manner of death]

People not European want to "what about" it away. You can't. People who think their political beliefs and obsessions such as socialism and it's conspiracies want to "what about" it too which is Corbyn chokes every time this form of racism is mentioned and has to say "what about"...

If the formula were different an African death would get coverage more often. But then we would need a way to prioritise.

Do you ever get annoyed at little things? My wife and mother never do. Me and my dad do. Apparently in studies the most successful people are like my mother and wife. 7 Habits book analysed people and found this to be the case. Its not a personality thing. It's a character issue. Shifting that attitude to improve character. One more reason in my wedding speech I said to my wife..."Make me more like my mom"

By the way this peaceful serene lake hides an evil secret. It's where the Nazis hid usd35billion of gold they stole including from the fillings of those they sent to concentration camps.

Rules of success

1. Have a vision - mountain to climb that's worth climbing. 

2. Don't drown; it is as much as the narrow winedy bumpy path you take as the ones you don't 

3. Don't listen to the naysayers. 

4. Work your ass off. 

5. Enjoy the ride and get a comfortable Seat! (My parents and wife) 

6. "Work like hell and advertise" Ted Turner 

7. Hate plan B

8. " Take more breaks" Richard Branson And my parents. 

9. Fail often, fail fast, fail forward. 

10. Find those who light your fire. Else ditch them.

11. Elevate yourself but better still Elevate someone else. 

12. "Every morning good people have to get out of bed and empty the ocean with a ladel." Buddha. Don't get in their way.

13. Mental discipline is the secret.

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