Has The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary.
Like most people, you’ve probably heard the story of the tortoise and the hare since childhood. The hare, sure that he’ll win, challenges the tortoise to a race. The hare then rushes toward the finish line and is so far ahead of the tortoise that he decides to take a nap; in the end, the tortoise, though much slower, wins the race. Such stories, or fables, were used to teach us certain morals in a memorable way.
Now, what if you heard a fable that was so powerful it made you decide to sell your most prized possessions and leave the life you’ve always been accustomed to behind. What kind of fable could be so persuasive?
Well, this book summary will unfold a fable so powerful that it can change the way you look at life. It’s about the life of a fictional lawyer who decides to sell his Ferrari and become a monk.
In this summary of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
by Robin S. Sharma, you’ll also learn
- what similarities your mind has to a garden;
- how an image of a lighthouse can help guide us toward a better life; and
- what a sumo wrestler can help you remember.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #1: During his career as a wealth, high-powered lawyer, Julian Mantle went through a spiritual awakening.
This is the fictional story of Julian Mantle, a man who, in anyone else’s eyes, had it all. He’d graduated from Harvard Law school and was known as one of the best trial lawyers in the United States. He was making seven-figures, lived in a mansion, and had a red Ferrari parked outside. He was living the dream.
However, the truth was, he was struggling. His workload was far too heavy for him to handle. Everyday, he was given a new, important case to take on, and Mantle approached each proceeding with diligence. Eventually his stress became too much to handle, leading him to suffer a severe heart attack on the floor of the courtroom.
After that incident, he never returned to practicing law.
In fact, he never even contacted anyone from his firm after he had his heart attack. Rumor had it that he’d moved to India in search of some answers and a simpler life – and, in fact, that’s exactly what he had done. Prior to moving, Mantle sold both his mansion and his Ferrari; he was sure that his quest for meaning was more important than those material possessions.
Then, out of nowhere three years later, he returned without warning at his former colleague’s office. When he showed up, he was the picture of health — a smile similar to Buddha’s stretched across his face.
Mantle had spent his time traveling in India from village to village by foot. On his journey, he’d heard about groups of yogis who seemed to defy aging. In Kashmir, he had heard about the Great Sages of Sivana. These discoveries he made while overseas actually inspired him to venture out to the Himalayan Mountains, where he met the monks who resided there.
This trek out to the Himalayas was where Mantle finally had a reawakening and found his soul.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #2: This mystical fable helps us to understand the seven principles of the Sivana System.
During his time in the mountains, Mantle discovered the group of monks known as the Sages of Sivana. There was one particular monk, Yogi Raman, who shared his wisdom with Mantle.
With Yogi Raman, Mantle discussed the meaning of life, learning about the ways to achieve greater vitality and how to become more creative and feel more fulfilled.
Yogi Raman taught him this on one condition – that he’d return to where he came from and spread the word. This is why he returned back to his law firm: to teach the life-changing Sivana System
The Sivana System is based on 7 basic virtues, each virtue a part of a fantastic fable.
This fable opens in a gorgeous green garden, which is silent, serene, and full of beautiful flowers.
The middle of the garden houses a giant red lighthouse. However, the tranquility of the garden is disturbed when a sumo wrestler comes striding out of the lighthouse door. Nine-feet tall and weighing 900 pounds, the wrestler is clad in nothing but a pink wire cable to cover his modesty.
As he wanders around the garden, he eventually finds a golden stopwatch. Curious, the wrestler then puts on the watch, immediately collapsing to the ground and losing consciousness.
Eventually, the wrestler regains consciousness, full of energy, thanks to the surrounding fragrance of yellow roses. Quickly, he gets up, looking to his left, amazed to see a path covered in diamonds. He’s enchanted by the path, and decides to walk along it, the path eventually leading him to everlasting bliss and joy.
Some people might find this story ridiculous, but each element represents an aspect of the Sivana System. Through the following book summaries, you’ll gain a greater understanding of each of these principles.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #3: Discovering fulfillment is a matter of gaining mastery over your mind.
The garden in the fable Yogi Raman told is representative of the mind. So many people litter their mental gardens with waste: negative thoughts and fears.
The Sivana System’s first virtue is control of the mind. It’s important to tend to your mental garden, so that you’ll best be able to care for it by standing guard at its gates. It’s important to only let pleasant and positive thoughts into your mind and ban the detrimental ones.
Really, at the end of the day, its our thoughts that shape our lives. You’ll simply have a higher standard of living if you truly only fill your head with worthwhile thoughts. So, if you desire a peaceful, meaningful life, it’s important to only let the peaceful, meaningful thoughts in.
However, how do we train our minds to focus on nothing but fulfilling thoughts? Well, we’re all able to choose what we think about, so really, it comes down to exercising our minds like a muscle.
The first step to this is boosting your concentration. The Sages of Sivana have a technique for improving your focus called The Heart of the Rose
To implement this technique, you’ll have to find a quiet space and a rose. To start, simply stare at the rose’s center. Make sure you pay close attention to its color and texture, filling your mind with thoughts and the rose’s beauty.
While random thoughts might enter your mind, after you’ve been practicing for a while, you’ll find that your mind is more disciplined.
Trying to perform this practice on a daily basis, each day spending a longer period of time enjoying the rose and its beauty.
Eventually, you’ll find that its easier to command your thoughts. You’ll be able to stop worrying, and instead, be filled with a sense of lasting calm and joy.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #4: In order to lead a fulfilling life, you must let it be guided by purpose.
Purpose is the second virtue of the Sivana System. This principle is represented in the fable of the lighthouse.
The Sages of Sivana have a clear sense of purpose, and therefore, they never waste time. They’re aware that they have a duty to fulfill whatever their life’s purpose is.
When referring to their purpose, the monks use the Sanskrit word dharma
– which means “life’s purpose.” The idea of dharma is rooted in the ancient belief that, while we’re here on earth, every human being has a mission to complete. Through honoring your dharma, you’ll be able to achieve lasting satisfaction and inner harmony.
You can best realize your life’s purpose when you set clearly defined goals for yourself – after all, you can only hit a target if you’re able to see it.
This is the five-step method that the Sages developed so that they could achieve personal purpose:
The first step is to create a mental image of whatever the outcome of your goal is. If your goal is to lose weight, you’d envision a leaner, fitter version of yourself.
The second step is to put some pressure on yourself — in the best way possible! This kind of pressure can be a wonderful source of inspiration, since it often serves as that last push a person needs so that they might realize their full potential. A great way to put a healthy amount of pressure on yourself is to tell others about your plan.
The next step is to create a timeline for your goal. To get your goal under way, you need to have a deadline in sight.
The fourth step is what Yogi Raman calls the Magic Rule of 21
. This is the idea that it takes doing an action for 21 days in a row for it to become a habit.
The last step? Just enjoy the process!
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #5: Self-improvement on a constant basis is the key to living radiantly.
Remember the sumo wrestler? Well, like the garden represents the mind, the wrestler also represents a virtue in the Sivana System.
This virtue is called kaizen
, which is a Japanese word meaning constant, never-ending improvement. The idea behind it is all about unlocking your true potential.
For this virtue, the Sages created ten steps known as the Ten Rituals of Radiant Living.
The first is the Ritual of Solitude
, which says that your daily routine must always feature a moment of pure silence. This will allow you to calm your mind enough to process and access your creativity..
Second is the Ritual of Physicality
. The purpose of this virtue is to get your body moving. By caring for your body, you ultimately care for your mind.
Next is the Ritual of Live Nourishment
. This virtue says that you should only eat living foods, meaning that it’s best to follow a plant based diet.
Fourth is the Ritual of Abundant Knowledge
. It’s important to keep learning throughout your life. This means that you should find a way to keep your mind stimulated, perhaps by reading or studying.
The fifth is the Ritual of Personal Reflection
. This has to do with looking at how you behave on a daily basis. Could you have done anything better today?
The sixth ritual is the Ritual of Early Awakening
. This is a ritual made for those people who enjoy sleeping in, mostly because the idea behind this ritual is to sleep for no more than about 6 hours, and rise with the sun.
Next is the Ritual of Music
. This says that it’s best to listen to music as much as possible because of its ability to lift your mood.
Number eight is the Ritual of the Spoken Word
. This ritual deals with creating a unique and personal mantra that will inspire you.
Ninth is the Ritual of a Congruent Character
. The whole point of this ninth ritual is the ensure that you always follow your personal principles.
Last is the Ritual of Simplicity
. This ritual is about conducting a simple life and focusing on your priorities and making sure your activities are meaningful.
Let the sumo wrestler serve as a hefty reminder of kaizen!
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #6: Make sure you’re living a life of discipline and manage your time wisely.
The sumo wrestler also embodies another quality that’s important to recall from the fable. He was stark naked apart from the pink wire cable covering his privates!
This pink cable is representative of the fourth virtue of the Sivana System — the principle concerned with living a disciplined life.
While discussing with the Sages, Mantle learned that this cable symbolizes strict self-discipline.
Similarly to your concentration, you’ll be able to build up your sense of self-discipline. Mantle learned this from Yogi Raman, who explained that one of his favorite exercises for this. Mantle was assured by the Sages that taking a vow of silence like this for a long period of time would be a great way to work on his own self-discipline.
Remember, as the fable progressed, the sumo wrestler went on to find the golden stopwatch.
The golden stopwatch is symbolic of the fifth virtue of the Sivana System, which deals with respecting your time. While they’re removed from society, the Sages fully respect their time and pay attention to how it passes.
The Sages taught Mantle that mastery of time is mastery of life. They view hourglasses as a reminder of their own mortality and live by the belief that they should always live to the fullest.
This means that it’s important to use all of your time efficiently, planning specifically how you’ll spend it. Doing this could be as simple as taking 15 minutes at the end of your day to plan the following day. On Sundays, take an hour to plan the following week.
Another way to do this is to be ruthless when it comes to your time and learn when it’s necessary to say no. Make sure you’re living each day as if it were your last – that way, you won’t end up wasting time if you agree to an activity that you don’t actually want to engage in. It helps, ask yourself, “Would I want to spend my last day on earth doing this?”
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Key Idea #7: Selflessly serving others and living in the present will lead to a joyful and rewarding existence.
Similarly to how Mantle collapsed at work when his responsibilities became too much for him, the sumo wrestler in the fable also fell to the ground unconscious. However, the sumo wrestler reawakened, full of energy, because of the scent of the yellow roses around him.
So, what might the flowers symbolize? In an ancient Chinese proverb, it’s said that a trace of fragrance always remains on the hands which present you with roses.
This means that the roses stand for the sixth virtue in the Sivana System – the concept of selflessly serving others.
The monks that Mantle spoke with said that it’s important to always be kind and compassionate toward other people, which can also improve your own life.
Start by taking a moment each morning to think about the goodness you can spread in the world and the ways you can better the lives of others.
This is possible when you do things like sincerely praising others, helping your friends when they’re in need, and showing affection toward your family. Making sure that you live in a kind and earnest way will help lead you toward a happier way of living.
Once he was revived by the roses, the wrestler discovered a diamond encrusted path, which led him toward lasting joy.
For the Sages, “living in the now” is the seventh virtue. They were able to understand that happiness isn’t actually the destination, but it’s the journey itself.
As we travel through the journey of life, that path to happiness will be filled with small wonders – that is, diamonds. For you to be able to appreciate the diamonds, it’s important to practice gratitude daily.
This means fully appreciating things like your health, your family, and even small things like the sound of birds singing in the trees. Nothing is more important than right now.
Upon his return, Mantle spoke with his former colleague about his journey to meeting the Sages of Sivana. Since then, he’s continued to share their wisdom, thus fulfilling his pledge.
In Review: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Book Summary
For each and every one of us, it’s possible to live a joyful and rewarding life. When we follow each of the seven virtues of the Sages of Sivana, as we find in Yogi Raman’s fable of the sumo wrestler, we’ll be able to rid our lives of the negativity, and truly focus on achieving what our life’s purpose is.
In order to keep your mind focused on positivity, learn to practice Opposition Thinking.
The first virtue of the Sivana System has to do with the wisdom concerned with mastering your mind. When they do this, the Sages often practice what they call Opposition Thinking. This means that when a negative thought enters their minds, they try to actively replace it with a positive one. For example, if you start to criticize your appearance, try to compliment yourself instead!