Wednesday, May 16, 2012
As I'd mentioned in another blog, many many years ago (two decades or thereabouts) I had read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". I'd gone to a seminar by the same name. I had purchased audio cassettes that I listened to a couple of times. I even had day-planners for a few years.
With the Kindle Fire, that is the first and only book I've bought so far.
Covey wasn't the only leadership and motivational speaker/writer I read back then. I remember Anthony Robbins as well as seminars on "How to Get Along with Others" and similar topics. I even got involved with a group around 15 years ago that is allegedly very "self-help" / "self-improvement" oriented. Allegedly, because they really get a bad rap from many and probably deserve most of it - even if some of the teachings can legitimately help people.
Why bring that up when my title only mentions The Spark?
Well, early on in his story, Chris talks about how he began to read goal-setting and leadership books. When I first read that, I just went on past without really thinking about it. It was just part of the narrative.
Then I started to recognize, in spite of the different words, very similar concepts. Things I'd learned, some even applied, over the last couple decades ... are also part of The Spark.
And then Chris brings up Victor Frankl's story. Victor Frankl was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps - who during his time as a prisoner found that his circumstances didn't have to define him, that he could rise above them. Covey also refers to his story, with a little different slant.
Suddenly it clicked. I don't know or say that Chris specifically read 7 Habits as one of those leadership books. He may have somehow managed to miss it amongst the others he read and found Frankl's book via his own path. But what clicked is that certain core truths will continue to pop up in multiple places.
Underlying ANY effort we make to improve our lives are some very basic rules that can be applied to any other area of our life.
So by the time I was hitting Chapter 3 or Chapter 4, I was having some inner dialogues. Something would be said and I'd be thinking "Yeah, okay. I already do that. I did it before I read it here or on the website."
I had to shake myself out of that. Ever heard the phrase "There's nothing new under the sun"? Well, it's wrong. The moon may look like the moon every time someone takes a photograph of it, but every photo of it is unique. Just because we know something already does not mean we know all we could about it or know it so well we can't learn something new from the different perspective from which it is approached.
In fact, using Frankl as the proof of that:
Covey looks on Frankl's mental shift as a prisoner, the point when he realized that no matter WHAT was done to him, he remained who he was and decided his response to that.
Chris looks on Frankl's ability to dream of the future, the fact that no matter his circumstances at the time, he could think forward to teaching others based on his experiences.
Both presumably read the same exact book and got something unique from it. In fact, if any of you read The Spark or The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you may find that your take on what Chris or Covey got out of Frankl's story differs from mine. If I were to buy Frank's books and read them, I might find something else far more enlightening about his experiences. In fact, all of us would probably have a different take than Frankl himself did.
*BONK* (me knocking myself on the head for being a dolt)
Just because I already do certain things and know certain things does not mean there is nothing new to be learned. There is plenty to be learned. Heck, why would I have bought a book I read more than once in the past if I could get nothing new from it?
As Jerome Merlau (JMERLAU) said in his blog on the Daily Spark, we are an Experiment of One.
That goes far beyond experimenting with how much food and how much exercise to get our weight to drop. Every aspect of our life can be considered an ongoing experiment. Having trouble in a relationship with someone? Want to increase your net worth? Need a career change? Getting sick more often than you want? Feeling lost, like you're missing some greater meaning? Collect data to look clearly at the current status and the things affecting it, research the existing knowledge in the area, and make small experimental adjustments.
Well, reading all these books is my way of researching the existing knowledge. Commonly agreed on principles will show up - and hearing them from different perspectives provides more depth to my understanding. (I'm the same way looking up word definitions. I like using 2-3 dictionaries, researching etymologies - word roots - and really getting the deeper knowledge of how and why a word means what it does.)
Long story short (isn't it already too late for that?), I will certainly continue reading both The Spark and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and even have my eye on one of Frankl's books. I wouldn't want to miss something important just because I got the boneheaded idea I already knew it all.