Is your world filled with little people? People who don’t return e-mails or do the things they have promised. People who are mired to mediocrity. People that are so uninspiring that they are easy to forget. Have you ever met anyone like this?
However it is possible to meet people whose influence can change your life for ever. When I was a student at Durham I had a tutor called Eric Little but there was nothing little about him. He made such an impact on my life that I have renamed him Mr BIG.
So what was so different about Eric Little? Simply this, when ever you handed in an essay, without fail he would have it marked by the next day. I have no idea just how he managed to do that. The other lecturers were good but very often essays that you had burnt the midnight oil to complete by a deadline took perhaps 3 or 4 weeks to be returned! If you needed to see a tutor, very often they couldn’t fit you into their diary for a week to ten days but in most cases Eric Little found a way to see you the next day. He was always available and he went out of his way to help if you were in any kind of trouble.
Can you see why I renamed him? This type of attitude really makes a big difference.
Most people these days live in fear of failure as success is the only thing that is acceptable in today’s fast paced world. Yet many don’t realise that in order to gain success, sometime they have to experience failure. If you don’t make mistakes, how an earth can you learn? I must say that we do need to learn from our mistakes but making them in the first place can be the very thing that will turn our lives from failure onto the royal road that leads to success. Sometime ago I came across a rather catchy caption that read – in the darkroom of life turn your negatives into positives!
Whilst I was a contributing writer to the American magazine Personal Excellence I came across the work of another contributor to the magazine whose work has inspired and influenced over the years. If you have not read “An Invented Life” by Warren Bennis – go out a purchase a copy!
I have lost count the number of times I have shared the following quotation with clients which I found in his book.
“What I’m talking about is self-invention. Imagination. That’s basically how we get to know ourselves. People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out. Inventing oneself is the opposite of accepting the roles we were brought up to play.
It’s much like the distinction I made in my last book, On Becoming a Leader, between “once-borns” and “Twice-borns.” The once-born’s transition from home and family to independence is relatively easy. Twice-borns generally suffer as they grow up; they feel different, even isolated. Unsatisfied with life as it is, they write new lives for themselves. I’m one of those twice-born.
I believe in self-invention, have to believe in it, for reasons that will soon enough be clear. To be authentic is literally to be your own author (the words derive from the same Greek root), to discover your native energies and desires, and then to find your own way of acting on them. When you’ve done that, you are not existing simply to live up to an image posited by the culture, family tradition, or some other authority. When you write your own life, you have played the game that was natural for you to play. You have kept covenant with your own promise.”
So why not emerge from your cocoon to be the magnificent butterfly you are destined to become?
The newly launched edition of How To Get What Money Can’t Buy: Personal Peace And Happiness In A World Of Unrest not only has a new cover but has been endorsed by Pam Rhodes who is the well known presenter of the BBC television series Songs of Praise.
Pam writes: What I love about this book is the way in which John draws on the wisdom of the past in order to inform and inspire us as we face the challenges in our lives today. I have long been an admirer of the inspiration and humanity we find in hymn texts written down through the centuries, because the human condition never really changes. When John Greenleaf Whittier, an American Quaker and poet during the 19th Century, wrote in that much-loved hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind about ‘the still small voice of calm’, he was pinpointing exactly the need for inner peace and a soul-deep connection with God that John Clements describes in this book. When the blind Gospel writer Fanny Crosby wrote how she felt ‘free from my doubts and fears’ because she was Safe in the Arms of Jesus, she was recognising the same reassuring answer to fear and anxiety which John also describes here. We are gently guided to an understanding of timeless truths and God’s unconditional love, both of which are a welcome balm to help us cope with our own everyday problems.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the more enjoyable; and like these are approached with diffidence, nor sought too familiarly nor too often, having the precedence only when friends tire.
The most mannerly of companions, accessible at all times, in all moods, they frankly declare the author’s mind, without giving offense. Like living friends they too have their voice and physiognomies, and their company is prized as old acquaintances.
We seek them in our need of counsel or amusement, without impertinence or apology, sure of having our claims allowed…What were days without such fellowship? We were alone in the world without it…
Next to a friend’s discourse, no morsel is more delecious than a ripe book, a book whose flavour is as refreshing at the thousandth testing as at the first. Books when friends weary, conversation flags, or nature fails to inspire. – Amos B, Alcott