Posted in Inspirational, My Thoughts


For the 25 years of my 40 something years of my life, I stopped reading. Perhaps not entirely, but surely I lost my love to read. Until lately.

I have many books – too many for someone who didn’t read. I have many good books people gave me or the ones I bought, with the thought that I would one day read them. I would ‘get there’. One day, one day.

I’m glad finally that day came. I began to read some books that were only half-read in these past 7 years. The books I began but never finished. I finally finished one, and continued to finish another one, and decided that I wanted to read a complete new book. A book that didn’t come from my bookcase nor from my kindle library. I searched online and find this:

Mindshift, written by Barbara Oakley

The surname reminded me of my brother’s sunglasses, but I remembered I knew her from the first (and the only one) online course I’ve ever done: Learning How to Learn. I never finished the course (I promise I will!)  but I was genuinely impressed by the first lessons I have followed.

Intrigued by the name, I downloaded the book and started reading. I always have at least 2 books read in parallelly, one physical book to read in the day time downstairs while being with my kids (or in the car), and one in my Kindle to read at night. And I have to say I’m glad I got this book as one of my first books back to my reading habit, because this book opened my eyes to a new world.

A housewife of 10 years, a clueless one, I often look at life with a dull perspective. I don’t know what to do beside taking care of the children and cleaning the house, and I must say I don’t really enjoy doing (only) them. But really, I don’t know what else to do, or how to find it or how to do it.

Reading Mindshift changed my perspective, because in this book the writer successfully intrigued my curiosity, to again question my belief – that my career and intellectual life has ended up in my being as a housewife.

Mindshift presents the ideas that people are able to uncover and develop talents they didn’t realize they had – regardless their age or background. Written in line with her online class, Dr. Oakley explains  in this book how the brain works when we are learning something. She explains that by the way the brain works, it’s always possible for us to learn something new, even though we used to believe that we’re weak in some particular subjects.

Dr. Oakley presents some examples of people who had major career changes, professional jazz musicians, whom upon his visit to a local pediatric cancer centre suddenly realized his second passion. Although he was totally a wreck in Math when he was still in high school, he managed to overcome his weakness and found the learning style he needed. He used the strength he had obtained along his music career as a way to learn the new things. His music background which seemed totally not related proved to give him additional value in his new career as a medical student.

Dr. Oakley herself is someone with drastic career changes. Hating math and science when she was young, she decided to learn language and worked for the military. But again all odds, she’s now working as an associate professor of engineering, firmly planted in the world of math and science.

The career changes in the examples given by Dr. Oakley weren’t always caused by a change of heart or a new found passion. Sometimes our circumstances required us to change. Being laid off from our job, financial crisis, family situation can force us to find another way in order to survive life. The book shows some examples and techniques that we can follow in order to find our own way to discover our hidden potential.

Perhaps not everyone thinks good about this book. The examples of people finding their new tracks might seem extravagant – out of the reach of the ‘normal’ population. But I think that’s the main idea of this book. This book gives many examples to encourage us finding our hidden potential. And while reading people’s success stories written in several pages, we must remember that their success took time – a long time, in order building a new career or a new path of life. Through the chapters, Dr. Oaklay gives techniques and tips, and leads us to make our own list of actions that we can do in learning new skills. The book gives a lot of tips too on finding the open sources of learning in the internet.

As a woman who is often trapped in small thoughts about myself, I dare not to think too big about what new path I would be able to tread. But this book surely opens my eyes to new possibilities, and gives me ideas and courage to try new things.


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