I was 14 when I purchased a copy of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, much to my mates’ amusement. He actually laughed when I picked it up, and kept laughing as we meandered through the checkout, and got on our bikes and pedalled home.
He laughed when I bought a booklet from a magazine ad, called ‘The Hercules Superdyne System’, it was a book of isometric exercises… “in just seven days, I can make you a ma-aa-aa-n!”
I read those books, I did the exercises, I read more books, followed advice, purchased tapes, and joined multi level marketing groups just to get access to more motivational material (and just for that alone I should seek professional help!). I dreamed of a bright future…
I’ve heard some of the best, and a lot of the ordinary. And lately, there’s a lot more guru’s out there, a lot of bad ones, some good, some amazing, but too many for me to follow.
Years later, I continue to follow a few favourites. And others, I had a brief affair with and now feel embarrassed, and in some cases ‘soiled’, for having even opened their books! And a few of them made me mad as hell.
The thing is, I’m drawn to these people. I like their outlook, their can do, never say die, push on at all costs, laser like focus, overly optimistic attitudes. They are living life to the full as they jet around the planet sharing their particular message, thoughts, or doctrines. I can’t seem to turn away from them, they’re exciting to be around. The world is full of hope, change, and thrills when I pick up their books and read on spell bound.
BUT, has it made any difference? When I think about it, what changes have I really made? Am I living my personal dream? Am I ecstatically happy with my life? Would I recommend a young man starting out on his life’s journey to emulate me?
These were the things going through my head the other night at work when I pulled the latest motivational book out of my work bag at smoko. I looked at it and sighed, then realised that even if someone pressed a gun to my head and demanded I open it and read the first chapter I wouldn’t do it. I just couldn’t see the point, and as one of my workmates pointed out, “You’ve got a great work ethic, all this education, and a terrific attitude, but you’re stuck here in day release jail just like the rest of us. And every week, you get paid the same as the people who come here and do absolutely ‘stuff’ all. How does that make you feel?” Not real good… but I continue to push myself. I can’t help it…
Even as a child 'Arnie' knew what he wanted!
Ironically my mate, ‘the Mocker’, is also very driven as well, but he went on to be a success in his chosen field, has travelled the world, and as a young bloke bought a set of weights and built himself a body to die for. People often compare us: similar backgrounds, upbringing, education, etc. but totally different outcomes. I’m the one who believes in hope, change, and goal setting, whereas he deals strictly in reality.
The ‘Dreamer’ and the ‘Doer’.
The difference is, he has a ‘strategy’, whereas I have an ‘idea’. I’m still 14 and dithering over ‘what I want to do when I grow up’, whereas he has a set of goals he’s doggedly ticking off as he completes them.
The major difference between us is our long term outlook. I’m ashamed to say that we are the living embodiment of ‘The Grasshopper and The Ant’. I’ve spent a lot of time hopping about with no particular aim in mind, whereas he has persistently pushed onwards and upwards.
Where I’m blown by the winds of change, fortune and luck, he’s forging ahead in a straight line toward his destination, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will make it.
And I hope he does!
Because if my own plans, hopes and dreams don’t work out, I might have to ask him for a job later, and I’ll be the most motivated Grasshopper worker he’s got 🙂