1,000-2,499 SparkPoints 2,435

Bits and pieces from reading The Spark

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.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love the idea of an Experiment of One that concept is definitely something that I have to keep in mind. Thanks for posting and re-grounding me!
    2128 days ago
    There is a lot to be said for just sort of starting over from time to time. Plus lord how things do change. In the end though, you pretty much have to find what works for you. I find it almost amusing how the shall we say larger members of my family are so full of advice when they hear I'm trying to lose weight. Oh sure just stop drinking sodas and the pounds will just melt away - yea well I haven't had a real soda in years but thanks for the great advice.

    2131 days ago
  • BIGDOG1969
    To qoute Socrates: "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance." I agree with you - I'm always learning even if it's a topic, subject or idea I learned about before. Great blog!

    2132 days ago
  • SAMI199
    I agree-we even have a topic on my team called "Could You Repeat That?"-we post articles that remind us of the basics 7 I always learn something I thought I knew-lol.Awesome,blog!!!

    an> emoticon

    2132 days ago
    I have that trouble too. I might THINK I know something but really don't. I came to this realization yesterday when I was reading nutritional labels in the store. I came across No Sugar Added canned fruit that had Sucralose in the ingredients. From Organic Chem, I 'knew' most things that end in -ose are sugars. I got kinda huffy at the can, and decided to google sucralose to see how the company could get away with putting an -OSE in their NO sugar fruit. Well, turns out Sucralose is a sweetener, but it has no calories and doesn't affect insulin levels. Shows you what I know!

    2132 days ago
    Great analysis and one of the greatest reasons I love books. Depending where the reader is in their life and what their mind is open to, IS what they are going to take away from the book they are reading.

    Thanks for taking so much time to share.
    2132 days ago
    I always learn some thing new from you i had to re read to get every thing clear in my mind thanks for all the thought you put into the blog. I always t thought of Spark as a weight lose site now i see how we can apply to all areas of our lives. thanks for the in sight and ideas. good food for thought for us on our journey thanks
    2132 days ago
    Beautifully written blog!! I love non-fiction. There is always something to be learned, and learning new things is a great way to strive to be better. Thanks for taking the time to share your words of wisdom :-)
    2132 days ago
  • NEWMOM20121
    Thank you for sharing, I needed this today.
    2132 days ago
    Boy isn't that the truth! Save me from my own "knowitallness"! I think we need to hear things multiple times, and in different ways (especially as adult learners) before it truly resonates within us.

    Thanks for sharing!
    2133 days ago
    Well Said!
    2133 days ago
    Very interesting and very cool how you have realized that nuanced approaches and new perspectives can make old information newly applicable. I used to say I knew "everything about losing weight, but just couldnt do it" when I was a teenager... and truly, most of what I know now is what I knew then, but I didn't really *KNOW* it then, if that makes sense... I had a vague idea then, but now I have reasons, research, and experimental data to prove what works for me and what does not. I really like your approach of experimentation, and it is precisely what I use for my diet and other problems in my life.
    2133 days ago
  • TANYA602
    I've never been one to read non-fiction, or self-help I guess, but I am reading The Spark on my iPad and am getting a lot out of it. Are you using the bonus link to the book?
    I really appreciate how you identify the connections we make and the way we all see things differently, at different times. So true. I would say this justifies the books all over my house that I can't bear to part with!
    Keep sharing tidbits and connections!
    2133 days ago
  • -SONIA-
    Sometimes we learn even MORE the second, third, or fourth time around ;) It's like a good movie -- the more you watch it, the more you notice ;) emoticon
    2133 days ago
    Great realization! A quote or a passage or an idea can even mean something different to a person at different stages of their lives. Reading something when you're twenty and then again when you're forty will definitely put a different spin on it.

    2133 days ago
  • RG_DFW
    Great perspective
    2133 days ago
    Great Blog - you've just added to my "must read" book list!
    2133 days ago
    This blog is JUST what I needed today...thank you.
    2133 days ago
  • BEVERLY1983
    I like this blog. Makes me think I need to start reading the Spark again.
    2133 days ago
    Very interesting views, and (to copy swede_su), thanks for sharing! And for reminding me that I must re-read The Spark.

    2133 days ago
    what an interesting perspective you bring - thank you for sharing!
    2133 days ago
    i enjoy your scientific bent. it's fun, informative and entertaining at once...if you've ever taken the true colors personality profile, you're definitely a green!

    and, oh, i totally agree with your point in this post :) emoticon
    2133 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/16/2012 3:05:50 AM
    Frankl is on my to-read list, actually! And I love Tony Robbins -- met him at a seminar once. I have a story for you over tea!

    What a great blog!
    2133 days ago
  • MICHELLE_391
    You are just the kind of person I'd like to have a long conversation with over tea. I love this blog and all of your insights!
    2133 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.