Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dead Men Do Tell Tales

Dead men tell no tales; at least in old movie westerns. The villain either threatens or takes the life of one of his gang in order to protect a secret (usually the location of some stolen money or other treasure). It all seems to work in the movies.

But hey, we aren’t in a movie. This is real life and we’re looking for information. And some of the best sources are dead people. You’ve heard it stated that history is the best teacher. You’ve also no doubt heard that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Both statements are very true.

Why do so many people make it so hard on themselves? Let history help you. Study people who have done what you want to do. Jim Rohn used to say that “Success leaves clues”. This could not be any truer. Study successful people and the clues pop out. Why not take some times to converse with and learn from the thousands of successful people that have lived before you.

I realize that you cannot speak to them but they can certainly speak to you. How? Books. There are thousands and thousands of biographies and autobiographies in bookstores and your local library just waiting for you to discover their secrets. These books are filled with insight and information about the difficulties and the solutions each person worked through. You would be amazed at how many of the situations you are facing today were already dealt with by others. Times and technology changes, but the basic human challenge to grow and become successful is timeless. Learning from the lessons of other’s means you will not have to waste time learning the same lessons through direct experience. True, experience is a great teacher, but no one ever said it had to be your own experience.

Study Lincoln and you’ll really learn about vision, commitment and determination. Study Edison and you learn about innovation, creativity and drive. Study Ford and you learn about focus. Notice the word study and not the word read. Reading is for pleasure (a Clancy novel for example) but to learn the lessons of others requires study. You need to find multiple books on the same subject or person and read slowly and with purpose. Dig out the nuggets of wisdom in each book; make notes of what you learn in your journal for future review and reference. If you buy the book read with a highlighter in your hand. Highlight key passages, phrases and ideas. This helps you find the information quickly when you re-open the book at a later date.

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