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How a self-help book changed Hong Kong rocker Soni Cheng's life and made her believe in herself

Self-help author Li Jin's Potential: Awaken the Sleeping Giant in Your Heart (2005) advises readers on how to access their untapped mental potential and to stop being held back by their own expectations and negative thoughts.

Soni Cheng, guitarist of Hong Kong indie-folk math-rock band GDJYB, describes how the book, which is only available in Chinese, changed her life.

I read this book earlier this year, even though I bought it many years ago. I don't tend to read every book I buy. I like books related to human psychology and the way we think, and I picked this one up and started reading it because I thought I needed it.

Potential deals with how we can motivate ourselves to work on what we like and what we want to do, and how to be positive. After reading it, I felt I had more confidence. It made me realise that when you're doing something and feel you can't do it, the opposite is true. Your heart will help you finish your work. I don't think this message will work with everyone instantly, but most people will benefit in the long term.

It's hard to make music in Hong Kong. Sometimes I wonder whether I should be doing this at all. I like playing guitar, but I face so many problems when trying to write music and struggle a lot with myself. Sometimes I feel I have no ideas. But it's like going to the gym when you're tired - if your heart really wants to do it, you will overcome the difficulty. My band is made up of four girls - we're always carrying heavy instruments, so I work out to get stronger and more healthy because no one else will help us.

There are many lessons to be learned from this book. The main one is to stay positive about everything and learn how to control your emotions when bad things happen - to make your heart calmer. I know some people are born negative, but every life is to be treasured as death is always nearby. I usually think: if I were going to die tomorrow, what would I do today?

The second big lesson is to act on something if you say you'll do it. I'm not sure this works for everyone, but it works for me.

And the third is to maintain a good relationship with friends and family. Your positivity will affect them. If you create a good atmosphere, they will find out who you really are. And some­times they will follow you and be more positive themselves.

I really love this book - it made me believe in myself.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Copyright (c) 2018. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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