First came Og Mandino (the Greatest Salesman in the World), next was Charles Haanel (The Master Key), followed by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay 3 on “Compensation, then Earl Nightengale (The Greatest Secret), all introducing us to insights into the way God has created our brains to think in order to become all He created us to be. As Mandino reminds us in Scroll 4, we are not on this earth by chance – we are here for a purpose. Because he emphasizes doing good, perhaps he was referring to what God’s word says in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Then Haanel presents a systematic approach to overcoming the bad habits that are keeping us from achieving all we want, whether it’s in relationships, in business, in health, in reaching any goal that will increase our happiness and that of others. Emerson adds so much to think about when he introduces the idea of “polarity” or action and reaction — everything has two parts: inside/outside, up/down, light/dark, north/south, empty/full, and whenever one side acts, the other side reacts. In other words, he asks us to count the cost of our actions — for everything we gain, we must lose something in order to reach the good we seek to do or have.
Personally, I enjoy Nightengale the most — perhaps, as a friend familiar with his teachings said, his voice on his recordings is so easy to listen to. He builds on what the foundation the others have laid by talking about the reason most people don’t achieve the “success” they dreamed of in their youth. I especially like his definition of success: “The persistent realization of a worthy ideal.” It doesn’t matter what that ideal is, as long as the person has definitely decided on it and is steadily working toward reaching it in an honorable way.
So by now, you are probably wondering who Ben is, and where he fits in to this team — it’s Ben Franklin, one of the wisest of our country’s founding fathers. This week our task is to read a page from his autobiography that reveals his own self-improvement plan — his Franklin Makeover. He was unhappy with his failure to live up to the high standards of behavior he admired, so he picked a list of 13 virtues to work on, and created a workbook page for each of 13 weeks. On each page he listed these virtues, then drew a chart with the seven weekdays at the top. The first week he concentrated on discovering when he violated the first virtue, putting a mark in the square representing the first day and that virtue. His goal was to see great improvement in his deportment, but found himself frustrated when it didn’t work quite as he’d hoped.
Well, if it didn’t work for him, why should we be trying it? Simply because he didn’t realize the truths that the rest of our team has been teaching us — what you think about, what you focus on, grows! If he was focused on what he was doing wrong, guess what — he just got more of it! So our Makeover is set up to observe when we, or anyone around us exhibits the virtues we have chosen, we get to put the marks in the boxes. Major focus!!
Since my first virtue to work on is Discipline, I can now put a check for today because I have, barely, finished this blog by the deadline of Friday, and now I’m saying goodnight because another deadline is to get to bed by 10:30 every night, and I only have 10 minutes to read Scroll 4 one last time before saying….Good night….