Thursday, December 07, 2006
By Donovan Baldwin
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
-- Charles W. Eliot
Few things could help bring more success or success more rapidly, than the personal guidance of those who are experts in the field in which we are interested. Few things can help motivate and enlighten us more than the tales they tell and that are told about them.
However, it is difficult to find a mentor, or group of mentors, who can and will make themselves available at our whim or need. On the other hand, a large group of the finest minds and practitioners of your field can be found whenever you need them. They hang out at a couple of local joints waiting for you to drop by and pick them up. You can usually find the folks you need to talk to, or listen to, at your local library or book store. Heck, in this day of the Internet, you can find information on almost any subject, including quotes and entire passages from the foremost experts in any field just by entering a few queries into Google, Yahoo, or your favorite search engine.
In his Classic on the topic of success and self improvement, "Think and Grow Rich", Napoleon Hill, in his chapter on the "Master Mind", speaks of three sources of knowledge. One of these sources, he calls "accumulated knowledge". This sort of knowledge is available to all of us if we are willing to seek it out. It resides in books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and today, in videos, on DVD's and other media. With access to even a moderately decent public library, most of the information we might seek in any quest for success is available for free.
Mentors and muses may also be found for reduced prices at discount book sellers, yard sales, and in the jumbled bin of books at the local Wal-Mart.
Few of these sources of knowledge and motivation will provide a blueprint for success, but continual perusal of them will provide some of the building blocks and mortar we can use to build our own temples.
A more structured means of gaining the guidance of great men and women is through structured education programs. The cost of colleges is skyrocketing, but with this increase in the cost of the traditional education, there has appeared a vast array of non-traditional educational experiences, usually under the guise of distance learning. For a few hundred dollars paid off monthly and some regular study, almost anyone can earn a certificate indicating familiarity with some specific field, and, from some sources, an actual college diploma.
Don't turn your back on success because there does not seem to be someone to guide you. Your mentors are there, waiting to help you achieve success if you will seek them out.
"Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
"The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason
"How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie
I pick these older books because of their general nature. Also, though they are old, and often simple, they are full of wisdom and were the ones which started me on my road to self improvement almost half a century ago and have served me well through many a crisis. They are all still in print, which speaks to the timeless appeal they have held for many years and the effects they have had on millions of lives.
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer and network marketing professional. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online .businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. Get more insights on self improvement at http://web-home.ws/self-improvement/
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Yes, I do think that there are ways to learn and many places where we can find people to help us along in life. I've just about finished reading Think and Grown Rich the first time through. And interestingly enough (for me personally), I have a project I am working on that led me to looking to build a "Master Mind" group a short time before I started reading the book. It was nice to feel like I was on the right track.
One of the things that I have learned in life, though, is that I can learn from so many people and places, if I just stop and pay attention. :-)
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