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Book Review: Mitch Albom's 'The 5 People You Meet in Heaven'

"Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from the inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade."

In Mitch Albom’s enlightening and wonderful book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, an elderly amusement park maintenance worker called Eddie dies in the very beginning of the story, while trying to save a young girl on one of the rides. Eddie meets five people in heaven that have shaped his life, and in turn learns from each of them what he was supposed to have learnt through his time on earth, and ultimately the meaning of his life. At the end of the book he waits in his place in heaven to welcome the person he has had a profound influence on in their lives, and instinctively he understands the lesson he must impart on them in turn.

I want you to take a moment and think about the five people that have shaped your life. OK, don’t go straight to the obvious here, yes we all know that our Mum’s and Dad’s had a powerful influence, positive and negative, on all of us as we grew up. But, take a step back a moment and take a long look at your life; at the choices you have made in your career, the paths you have taken with your friends and the people you have loved.

Don’t just look at the people who have been a positive influence. I want you to have a good look at the people who may have created an element of negativity that had repercussions throughout your life. No matter how painful, these people can have a profound influence on your life; on the decisions you make and the outcome of those decisions. And sometimes this can lead to surprisingly positive outcomes in your life. Eddie’s life has been a monotonous journey of routine, loneliness and regret. Therefore he is often surprised by the people he meets in heaven, and the story unfolds of how they made an impression on his life. Ending with the little girl he tries to save at the beginning of the story.  

The lesson I have learnt from the most negative influences on my life is this; As soon as you have lost your temper you have lost the argument. Sometimes it is the people that are closest to us that can no longer hear us. But instead of holding on to anger take the lesson you have gained from the person that hurt you and move on. If you have really gained the knowledge of that lesson there will be no room for anger in your life, and they will no longer have such a negative influence on your future. The only true revenge in life is success! Be successful in everything you do, then maybe the five people you meet in heaven will be five amazing people who were a positive light in shaping that success, and hopefully you can also be someone else’s positive light in their heaven.

 

Written by Amanda FitzRoy

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