A few days ago I received the following letter placed inside a ‘Thank You” card and, with your indulgence, I would like to use this space to respond.
Thank you for those awesome messages that you put out each week. I have been a subscriber for about a year now and I really look forward to Saturday afternoons when I get your blog. You obviously are a person who has it all together and I envy you for being able to have so much control over your life and for all the success which has obviously come your way and which you deserve. I bought a copy of your book and I loved it. Obviously, you are Hugh in the book and Earl was very lucky to have a friend like you. I have often wished that I had a friend like Hugh.
I’m sure all those wonderful people you write about all come to you because you are so successful.
Please keep writing you are a very good writer and I get the feeling that you are very good at everything you do. Best wishes,
Thank you so very much for taking the time to write.
I am extremely flattered by your kind words and, as I read them, my conscience cried out to me to tell you the truth.
I wish I could confirm that everything you said in your letter about me – that I enjoy great success in my life, that I am very good at everything I do and that I am the living embodiment of everything I write about – is true.
Unfortunately that is not always the case.
Allow me to begin with my book, “Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours.” I am definitely not Hugh. If either of the two characters in my book closely resemble who I truly am, then you must believe that I am far more like Earl than Hugh.
I am just an ordinary person – very ordinary – who like so many others has struggled to bring changes into my life. I have certainly experienced some wonderful successes in my life and have also known some catastrophic failures.
Most of the failures my life have resulted from my inability, at the time, to consistently do those things that would have produced a different result.
The best explanation for my writing can probably be found in a wonderful quote by one of my absolute, all-time favourite authors, Richard Bach. In his marvelous book, Illusions –The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah he says, “We teach best what we most need to learn.”
Most of what I write about, and most of the habits that I will be writing about in my new blog called Habits Cause Have Its which began just 10 days ago, addresses the very things in my own life that I struggle with.
The first blog deals with the destructive power of negative self-affirmation and I am all too aware of the critical voice in my own head reminding me of my own unworthiness.
I am also very familiar with what it is like to be frequently riddled with the same fears and insecurities as many others. I constantly question whether I am good enough, or worthy, or deserving and frequently the answer I hear in my head is a resounding, “No, you’re not!”
If I can claim any success it is this: I long ago learned the pointlessness of giving up and if I am proud of anything I have done it is that regardless of how many times I have fallen down, I have never stayed down. I have always picked myself up determined to try again and I continue trying again every single day.
I struggle with a lot of the same challenges that plague so many others. I just know that if I keep applying the principles and ideas we discuss in these blogs, I will eventually prevail.
Mark Twain famously said that “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” I am a former smoker who only managed to succeed in quitting that filthy habit after failing to quit more times than I can count.
I am so thankful that I never quit quitting.
Life’s lessons are many and one of the most valuables one’s is to never, ever quit trying.
Sir Francis Bacon said “knowledge is power” and this has become an oft repeated quote. I believe this to be extremely misleading and incomplete.
As important as it is for us to be constantly expanding our knowledge base it is equally, or more important to expand our effort base.
Many of us have a greater commitment to knowledge than we do to action; we know more than we do. If we struggle with our weight we don’t need to gain more knowledge on weight loss – we already know what to do – we just don’t do what we know we need to do.
Results come not from what we know but from what we do with what we know.
It’s true that failure comes before success in the dictionary and it’s as true that failure often precedes success in life. It’s unimportant how many times we fail. What is important is that we never stop trying.
Calvin Coolidge addressed this far more eloquently than I when he wrote that “Nothing in the world will take away persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than an unsuccessful man with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Like many, I have mastered “The Mask.” You know what I mean, don’t you? That accoutrement that we attach to project the illusion of confidence, success and, as you described it, “Having it all together.”
I have found though, that the more I commit to the lessons of these blogs – the more I work at applying all those thoughts and actions – the less I need that Mask.
I’m writing this letter to you for two reasons. The first is because I want you to know that I’m just an ordinary guy who will succeed because he won’t quit.
The second reason I’m writing this is a selfish one. I am writing this just for me.
I know from bitter experience that we can’t change anything in our lives without first acknowledging our imperfections. We must own something in order to change it and this letter, is for me, a cathartic experience.
I am acutely aware of my many imperfections and I will never stop trying to become better. I will never allow myself to be slowed by failure or bowed by defeat.
And I will never, ever stop encouraging others to do the same.
Heather, thank you so much for writing as your letter opened the door for me to write something that was long overdue. Acknowledging our challenges is not a weakness; it is a strength. It took me far too long to learn that lesson.
Please stay in touch as we all grow by sharing in each other’s journeys.
Till we read again.
P.S. If you haven’t yet subscribed to, or just checked out, my new blog called Habits Cause Have Its please click here.