SOMETHING READ V.1
Whenever I invite a new friend over, and I see them looking through my book collection, I know I've met a kindred spirit. Or at the very least, I see that they're interested in who I am, which my ego likes. You can learn a lot about a person through their books. I count my book collection as one of my prized possessions. To me, reading is important. It makes me a better person, and I like to think, it makes me a better artist. There have been times where I've been artistically (or personally) stuck, and in my bookcase, I found the inspiration and solution. (If that doesn't work, then I know I just need to take a nap.) Because books are so important to me I'd like to start writing about what I'm reading on my blog. Perhaps this will become a weekly or monthly thing – I'm figuring this out as I go.
I usually have various books on the go. One of these, which I'm almost finished, is by Og Mandino, entitled "Og Mandino's University of Success". First published in 1982, Mandino compiles the written wisdom from a bunch of authors from the 20th century.* These were the people who looked at life and wanted more than just a job, a family, a home – they wanted to enjoy it as well. I suppose these are the people who started the self help book revolution. People have always been unsatisfied with their lives, searching for happiness. It's normal. I believe that you can learn how to change almost anything that you are unhappy with.**
The particular chapter I want to touch upon, is semester 10, lesson 48; "How to let your kids find their own success", by Dr. Jess Lair***. I almost skipped this chapter, thinking...I don't have kids. Glad I didn't. It gave me so me insight on myself, the past, on my parents, and on raising kids. These words were written in 1975, but his advice could be incredibly helpful today.
Recently, I've seen many of my friends venture out on their own paths – by choice or not. Freelancing, or starting their own businesses. Company's aren't dependable for employment anymore. In my own experience, I was unhappy with my job, until I decided that I didn't want to put my time and life in the hands of someone else. I chose my art, deciding to give that my time, and focus. Almost 20 years ago I wanted to be a full time artist. Fear, and lack of money (school loan hell), made me choose the traditional, take your talents and focus them on a career that already exists path. Not like I regret my experience in advertising. I've learned so much there, and met so many incredible people (not a loss at all). In 1975, Dr. Jess Lair was talking about this:
"I see a number of driving forces in us. We can do something out of a sense of compulsion, driven by something inside that we don't understand or feel comfortable with. We can do something out of a sense of fear where we are driven by the fear of a punishment. We can do something out of a sense of dedication where we drive ourselves because as near as we can see this is something that is right for us and that we should do."
– Dr. Jess Lair
I often look at other people and wonder what drives them. Or if they even think about what drives them. I think people should know these things. Everything that I have achieved some sort of success with has been because I liked it, I was interested in it. And it's strange, but I've always felt a sense of failure at not being good at certain things, subjects, abilities. That's the perfectionist in me who...is a bit of a asshole. Dr. Lair's chapter gave me that, ah-ha–ding, when he wrote that "...we learn so much faster out of love than out of duty". And people with straight A's, "...part of their grades came from love of subject and some part of them came from a sense of fear and competitiveness". I could have used that tidbit growing up, maybe I would have compared myself less.
Also, he talks about childhood and parenthood in the chapter. Dr. Lair suggests using the term "sponsoring kids", instead of "raising them". "You raise carrots, not kids." Me, not having kids, often find myself having to listen to other's people's kids politely, patiently, wondering: how do they do it? I try not to judge. Kids don't come with manuals, and if they did, they'd all have individual ones. Everyone is different. How can anyone really know what they're doing? I suppose most parents argument is the whole my house, my way, and I get that (lived that). But suppose parents let their kids be who they are, let them make mistakes, and not expect perfection. As Dr. Lair said, "...our tendency is to make our kids into things what will build us up". Interesting. (my head instantly goes through all the experiences that I sort of remember from my childhood to get multiple perspectives, understandings, and resolution) And then there is this:
"You can get exceptionally dutiful, high-achieving kids, but they have got an automatic ceiling in their training because their fear stops them from going so far or deep into things, because that would be irreverent and disrespectful."
*If you pick it up, note that some of the language is dated. Expected since chapters could be written from any period in the 1900's, from the 1970's to more than 100 years ago. A lot has changed in the world, but the wisdom is still applicable. Remember, it's your choice in what you take personally.
**Note that reading doesn't change your life, doing something with what you've read does.
***Sourced from Dr. Jess Lair book, "I Ain't Well–But I Sure Am Better", 1975. From the chapter entitled "You Raise Carrots But You Don't Raise Kids".