Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Books purchased in Europe are still published in English. No translated editions are currently available.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Anything that has been brought into existence by human ingenuity can be traced back in time to two things: 1) an idea, and 2) a person or persons. The immaterial reality of ideas precedes the material reality of created things. A house exists in the mind of an architect before it exists as a physical structure. A business can be traced to the ideas and inspirations of its founders. It is the ideas which we harbor in our minds and subsequently act upon that shape our futures. What ideas are you harboring?
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
previous post was written in rather harsh and insulting prose. Hopefully you didn't take it as an invitation to rush off to the nearest known “serial-venter” and tell them exactly what you just read. To be sure, you should rarely, if ever, be as direct with someone in a one-on-one situation (depending on factors such as your level of influence with them, their willingness to listen, their personality-type, etc.). You can sometimes, however, get away with it while teaching or lecturing, during a speech, or on a blog, for example, as the audience is much less likely to take it personally (although you will almost always offend some people). This is usually because they think the speaker is talking to someone other than them. When reading the previous post, for instance, you may have found yourself thinking something like “so-and-so needs to hear this!” On the other hand, you may have been seriously offended, or even angered, by what was said.
Though the topics associated with the previous post are “Likability,” “People Skills,” and “Tactfulness,” the post itself, mainly due to its harsh tone, does not embody these qualities. This, I suppose, is a bit of a paradox, and perhaps even ironic. But it should be emphasized that the post was not meant to be likable or tactful in itself, but rather, was meant to illustrate the point (admittedly in blunt fashion) that using one's problems as conversation pieces, ice breakers, or dead air removers, particularly with people you are not close friends with, is indeed a very unlikable thing. It is a quality that pushes people away and deducts value from them.
Monday, May 7, 2012
(Companion post: A Quick Follow Up.)
Thursday, May 3, 2012
previous post, I would like to make some further comments on the question: Are you afraid to fail?
Fear, as we know from Lesson VI, is a state of mind which ultimately results in inaction. The fear of failure is no exception. When we are afraid to fail, we will often respond by avoiding activities that may result in failure. It seems to me, however, that the implications of such behavior would likely, in the end, be far worse than failing (or the risk of failing) would have been.
When we are afraid to fail, we will (unless we choose to act despite being afraid) only involve ourselves in activities which we believe to be nonthreatening, that is, activities in which we expect to succeed. But such activities will mostly consist of things we have already done and already succeeded in doing. Thus, if we indulge and encourage our fear of failure, we are essentially jeopardizing our ability to do things which we have not yet done. Why? Because such things would surely involve the possibility of failure. The implications of this should be obvious: a person will avoid nearly all risk taking, thereby undermining their ability to accomplish their goals and dreams (assuming they have goals and dreams).
Ask: How did I ever do anything for the very first time? Did I risk the possibility of failure? You did. And you can do it again. Besides, even if you fail, at least you have something to work with and build upon: you can identify causes of failure, try again, and persist your way to success. On the other hand, the person who, out of fear of failure, fails to act, has nothing to work with, nor can they accomplish anything. The life which has already done everything it is going to do has already been lived. Is it really worth being afraid?
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
1. Are you afraid to fail?
As described in the lesson, most of us are afraid to fail. This is often because we have learned to view failure as an indictment on who we are: When we fail, we see it as definitive proof that we're no good at something, or perhaps no good in general. But when we realize that failure is a natural learning process; that it is something we must tolerate as we advance from #1 to #4 in The Four Stages of Learning (which applies to everything we actively do), we should realize that evaluating ourselves on the basis of failure is absurd. Also, see Question #6 below.
2. Have you ever believed that some people were always good at what they do?
When we see a person who is exceptionally good at something, it's easy to assume that they've always been good at it. Such people are often described as being “gifted” or “talented.” And, unfortunately, that's how most people view them. But while it may be true that a person can possess a certain amount of natural ability or talent, it is wrong to assume that they are as good as they are solely because of talent. To be sure, raw talent can only take a person so far, beyond which, other factors come into play. The very best of the best, in whichever field, are as good as they are, not necessarily because of talent, but because they wanted to be the best, and were willing to learn how to do it. The person who has a burning desire and the willingness to learn will, almost always, outperform the person who possess great natural talent, but has a weak desire/willingness to learn. Stephen King's quote from Lesson X seems appropriate: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study.” It's also worth remembering that, at one time, the best of the best were in a position where they had never done what they are now known for doing. Further reading: See Process and Product in Lesson VII.
3. How do you respond when you fail?
When things don't go as you expect (assuming, of course, you aren't expecting to fail), how do you react? Do you analyze, adjust, and try again? Or do you throw a fit and whine like a young child? There are really only two responses to failure: persist or give up.
4. Do you let other people's opinions determine what you attempt to do?
It's easy to measure your life against standards imposed on you by other people. Consider a child who has no desire to play (say) baseball, but who plays nonetheless, because his father wants him to. When we're young, we don't have much say in such situations. But when we grow up we do. Yet many adults continue to make important decisions, not on the basis of their own values, but on the basis of the values of others. Consider the attorney who went to law school because that's what her parents wanted, rather than what she wanted. In addition, “other people” have a tendency to always point out what “can't be done.” It is, in many ways, a tragedy that so many dreams are snuffed out by the arrogant and often baseless criticisms made by one's contemporaries.
5. Can you think of something good that came about as a result of something you initially thought was bad?
This question fits closely with Napoleon Hill's famous saying: “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit.” The key to doing this is looking for the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit. No experience is worthless, unless you let it pass without learning something from it.
6. Do you associate your self-worth with your failures or mistakes?