Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Here's a subject that I have never written about here. My tendency toward reading self-help books.
I believe that some people just 'get it' with regards to life, making good decisions, thinking things through, and setting and attaining goals. I could name several people I knew while growing up who I was attracted to (as friends) simply because they seemed to naturally do the right things. This intrigued me greatly.
As for myself, I realized at a young age that I needed lots of work. I realized that my natural tendencies were to laziness, and avoiding life. I was a couch potato way before it became cool.
My parents were (and are) salt-of-the-earth type folks. Intelligent, to be sure, both parents probably above average on the intelligence scale, but they had no other schooling than their generation's Louisiana Public Schools.
And of course the school of hard knocks; they both came from, shall we say, humble beginnings.
So while I grew up, I never had lessons from them on how to set and attain goals. Just to work hard and to always do my best at whatever I put my hand to.
I have mentioned in this blog numerous times about how unbelievably naive I was as a child, and in some areas, I still am very naive. I said above that I was intrigued by those around me who seemed to have a clue, and wondered why I seemed to have no clue. I feel like I was truly born with no natural instincts for survival and success in this world. Now of course I do have some, or I would have died young, but I think you understand what I'm trying to get at here.
Take my older daughter, whom I've referred to here as Number One Daughter. She gets it. She naturally went into her room and studied. She naturally took to writing lists and checking things off. She does some of those things by her very nature that I didn't learn to incorporate into my life until after I was grown and married. Number Two Daughter and Lovely Wife are more like me, we have to buy our clues.
But even if I had never been a goal setter, and as a young person I was always mystified as to how people determined what they wanted to do in life as a career, I WAS born with a healthy dose of natural curiosity.
And I think my curiosity about EVERYTHING is probably the main reason why I've done the things in my life that I have done. By that I mean, I would probably be on the public dole and spending what energies I have trying to make a living off the US 'system'. I'm old enough to have met any number of people in America who make a living out of not working at a paying job. It can be done, and some do it well. They aren't rich, but they do ok. But that's another story.
Then, when I was around twenty five and was working for Delta Airlines at DFW airport, I came across a book in a Christian book store (Joshua's on 183 in Irving, TX) that got me started on the self help path.
At the time I didn't know that there were men and women out there making a living writing and speaking and teaching people like me, with no natural aptitude in goal achievement and no natural knowledge on how to succeed.
The book was "Living Above The Level Of Mediocrity" by a Christian author named Chuck Swindoll. This book rocked my world. He put all the random ideas and thoughts I had thought and learned over the years into a concise, to the point, book about how Christians should live and HOW TO DO IT. Less than ten years after this beginning of my self help reading, I had a degree and I was working as an electrical engineer.
I have read a number of books like that over the years, and while I'm nowhere near the self help junkie that some I've 'met' on the internet are, many of the things I've read and learned have helped me a great deal. And, like reading the Bible over and over, I read some of the good goal setting and uplifting books repeatedly as well. Helps keep me on the right track and to remind me of the best ways to be successful at whatever task is in front of me.
Setting goals. Writing things out. Just simple things to some, but life changing helps to people like me born without the success instinct.
I was born with mainly a huge curiosity, but that curiosity has led me to find knowledge, both earthly and spiritual (engineering and Christianity), that has determined the course of my life more than any other thing.