Category Archives: quality of life

Not My Own Booklist – Part Tres

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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This is my third and final post and attempt to store and share the top seven books selected by a small circle of my friends.  I had no idea when I started to compile the lists that I would end up needing three posts to capture and share them.  Now, that I’ve done the work, I am so glad I invested the time.  I do believe I have created a very valuable reference for my use and for whoever else wants to.

I may have missed one or two but here is the third and final installment of book treasures for us to savor over time:

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India by Shashi Tharoor

Educated – A Memoir by Tara Westover

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

The Poison of Love by K.R. Meera

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins

Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari (Translator)

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Patel: A Life by Rajmohan Gandhi

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Raja Ravi Varma: Painter of Colonial India by Rupika Chawla

Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia by Chris Stewart

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

So, that’s it on this topic. When I look at this list of books spread out over three posts, first I am once again awed by the rich reading treasures that are available to us.  Then, I am amazed at the wise reader friends I have.  So fortunate are we!

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“I always read. You know how sharks have to keep swimming or they die? I’m like that. If I stop reading, I die.” – Patrick Rothfuss

What’s Your Superpower?

Superman_against_the_scientist's_weapon

I was having a casual conversation with a colleague one day when he spouted something rather profound. I was more than impressed with what he had surmised. He looked at my open mouth when he had finished and said, “You know, that’s my superpower, the ability to discern blah, blah, blah…”.

It doesn’t matter now what he said just then or what that superpower was; what I thought rather intriguing was that he had thought about it long enough, introspected and analyzed to come to a conclusion about what his superpower was.

Since then, having thought about it some, I have reached my own conclusion and that is that for an individual exploring their own superpower it can be good for their soul. In fact, I have developed a few theories about this topic.  

No matter their stage in life, every individual has been gifted or gained a number of inherent strengths.  Nature or nurture, it doesn’t really matter how they have secured these, just that they do have them.  Of all these strengths, I would say that a person’s “superpower”  is one among those that is exceptional and truly stands out from the others. It is one that has been life-changing or has the potential to be for that individual. 

In this context, “superpower” is defined as “excessive or superior power“.   Yours and mine.  🙂  Yes, I believe everyone has at least one.

Once you have thought hard to determine what your superpower is (let’s assume one superpower, for simplicity), I believe you will never, ever take it for granted. And when life throws you some curveballs, you will tend to intentionally bring it out and let it do its work.  That’s my theory anyway.  One I’ve yet to practice – mostly because I had never given a thought to what my superpower might be.

In fact, I doubt that most people think about it that much, leave alone introspect more deeply about it.  [Unless you’re a narcissist, in which case you obsess about it, and think that you and you alone have a zillion superpowers.  Let’s assume you’re not one of those].  If you’re “normal”  (and not a narcissist), you can easily go through life ignoring the superpower(s) you have. For one thing, it takes some serious introspection that most people do not indulge in.  And for some,  it can be downright uncomfortable to even think about this.  Plus, of course, everyone’s “too busy” living life, so where’s the time?  Ha.

I had to stop and force myself to think about it. Indeed, it was a deliberate and purposeful action. I listed what I deduced to be my strengths, trying to be as objective and honest as possible about them.  Then, I scratched out all that I would consider “normal powered” strengths.   I was left with a shortlist of three “above-normal” strengths that I then further analyzed until one stood out as distinctive and “life changing”. I’m rather embarrassed to admit what it was since it is so mundane and actually quite boring.  But it’s a superpower for me because it has truly been life-changing…and life-making.

I think you should try out this exercise for yourself.  It may just be for the heck of it but as you traverse life, and when you recognize what you have in your power – nay, in your superpower, I believe you will be intentional about using it for your benefit.  Especially when life gets in the way, as it sometimes does.

Just for grins, I conducted this exercise on myself to also understand what my anti-superpower was.  [There’s not an antonym for “superpower” that I could find]. And what an interesting ride that was!  Just as before, I had to stop, think and make a list – and this time, it’s one with all my weaknesses, my failings, my deficiencies.  I shouldn’t be surprised that this was a longer list! Then, I ranked these qualities until I got to the one that has probably been the most impactful and life-changing – in a very negative way.  That is my anti-superpower.  It pays to know this too.  Now, I can be very intentional about keeping it at bay!

Come to think of it, this latter exercise is just as useful as (if not more than) the previous one.

Try it out, why don’t you?   When you have a few moments of do-nothing time on your hands, play this game.  It’s really not for anyone but yourself.   Go ahead, discover that superpower of yours that you’ve always had – but never appreciated or cherished. Recognize that you have this superpower and pull it to the forefront to help you navigate life.  And while you’re at it, find your anti-superpower – that major barrier, blocker, impediment to your happiness/growth/success – so that you can just tell it to go away and hide somewhere in the background.

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Image Source:

By Fleischer Studios – File:Superman 1 The Mad Scientist 1941.ogv, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76043745

https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-and-red-superman-print-tank-top-shirt-38630/

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