I finished school in the late 1980s and headed straight off to University, it was kind of expected.
About that time, I read “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” by Napoleon Hill which I found fascinating. It impacted me far more than six years of high school and four of University.
Fast forward to the early 2000s and I came across Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which quickly became my favourite. The Napoleon Hill book may have started my personal and professional development journey but Carnegie’s book hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was captivated and amazed that I had not read this earlier. I went to the front of the book to see when it was published (thinking it would be the year before or perhaps the mid 1990s). It astounded me that it was written in 1936.
By the time I’d read Dales book, I’d been in business for 10 years and managed teams and people for over 20 years. It continues to surprise me why books like these and many others aren’t part of the wider education curriculum.
So why is it that even with this wealth of knowledge available to us, some people still really struggle to communicate and influence?
Some of it has to lie with schools and universities. Studies show that 80% of businesses believe they are not sufficiently preparing our children for the workforce.
My view is that we have particularly poor view of failure which has contributed to not a mental health problem, but more of a mental weakness one – soft play, getting a trophy for turning up, the litigious nature of our society and political correctness.
As Mahatma Gandhi says:
Knowledge gained from experience is far better than any gained from a book.
There are no silver bullets in life. We all need to take our daily dose of bitter pills on life’s journey – most of them are the size of a Panadol so that’s manageable as long as you are open to it. What invariably happens in life is we miss a few days (or lessons) and fail to learn so the pills become more like a tennis ball, much more difficult to swallow and it feels like you are going to choke.
The real life lessons come from the big challenges and failures we don’t think we’ll ever get over, these are the pineapples and most often there are not ingested through the mouth…
It’s not what happens to you in life that defines you but how you handle it.