Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why You Must Read Biographies by Ron White

“Don’t worry, boy—it will be all right. I’ve took this road you are walkin’ down. I’ve been in your shoes. It is just somethin’ that you have got to go through. I had this same talk with my dad.”
Those were the words I heard from my dad at the age of 12, when my heart had flushed my eyes with tears because the life of my dog was flickering out. Through the years, I have taken walks down the same road with my dad and I’ve heard different versions of the same speech when business was tough, friendships ended or I wasn’t feeling my best.

Sometimes it is nice to know that what you are going through isn’t an experience unique to you. There is comfort in knowing that others have been there and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Often, when you are in the midst of the tunnel, the only thing that catches your focus is despair, discouragement and depression. Yet, it can turn your day around when someone ventures into the tunnel, walks with you and grabs your hand to say, “I’ve been here…. Hang in there. I turned out all right, and you will as well.”

Unfortunately, we don’t all have someone who will tread into the tunnel and walk beside us with encouragement. This is why it is so important to read biographies! A biography is a unique way to have a successful person walk beside you as you examine the story of their life. You will often be surprised that the most successful people of all time experience the same struggles as you.
Einstein was divorced, Lincoln battled depression, Ronald Reagan had his heart broken by his first wife and Sam Walton went broke twice. Where did I learn these facts? From the biographies I read! Did it make me feel better because they had hard times? Yes and no. I never delight in someone else’s pain. On the other hand, it is without question that Einstein, Lincoln, Reagan and Walton were monumental successes. It is refreshing and inspiring to read that they were also human and have walked down the same road that you and I have.

When my business was struggling a few years ago, what an encouragement it was to read Sam Walton’s biography. My eyes stopped on the page when I read that at the exact age I was—at that time—he was in an almost identical financial spot! I put the book down and a smile spread across my face. If you don’t know who Sam Walton is, he started a small company called Wal-Mart a few years ago, and it turned out OK.

Reading Sam Walton’s biography was a neat way for me to get inspired and reminded me that some pretty successful people have met discouragement head-on and succeeded. In a sense, while reading that book, a message from the spirit of Sam Walton said, “Ron, I have been there. It is hard, but don’t give up. The reward is worth it. Now press on.” I did, and I will be forever glad that I did.

Now, go to the bookstore and pick up a biography. By the way, if you are in a rough spot or experiencing some heartache, “don’t worry, boy—it will be all right. I’ve took this road you are walkin’ down. I’ve been in your shoes. It is just somethin’ that you have got to go through. I had this same talk with my dad.”

Read All the Books by Jim Rohn

All of the books that we will ever need to make us as rich, as healthy, as happy, as powerful, as sophisticated and as successful as we want to be have already been written.

People from all walks of life, people with some of the most incredible life experiences, people that have gone from pennies to fortune and from failure to success have taken the time to write down their experiences so that we might share in their wealth of knowledge. They have offered their wisdom and experience so that we can be inspired by it and instructed by it, and so that we can amend our philosophy by it. Their contributions enable us to reset our sail based upon their experiences. They have handed us the gift of their insights so that we can change our plans, if need be, in order to avoid their errors. We can rearrange our lives based on their wise advice.
All of the insights that we might ever need have already been captured by others in books. The important question is this: In the last 90 days, with this treasure of information that could change our lives, our fortunes, our relationships, our health, our children and our careers for the better, how many books have we read?

Why do we neglect to read the books that can change our lives? Why do we complain but remain the same? Why do so many of us curse the effect but nourish the cause? How do we explain the fact that only a small percentage of our entire national population possesses and utilizes a library card—a card that would give us access to all of the answers to success and happiness we could ever want? Those who wish for the better life cannot permit themselves to miss the books that could have a major impact on how their lives turn out. The book they miss will not help!
And the issue is not that books are too expensive! If a person concludes that the price of buying the book is too great, wait until he must pay the price for not buying it. Wait until he receives the bill for continued and prolonged ignorance.

There is very little difference between someone who cannot read and someone who will not read. The result of both is ignorance. Those who are serious seekers of personal development must remove the self-imposed limitations they have placed on their reading skills and their reading habits. There is a multitude of classes being taught on how to be a good reader and there are thousands of books on the shelves of the public libraries just waiting to be read. Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We must not permit anything to stand between us and the book that could change our lives.

A little reading each day will result in a wealth of valuable information in a very short period of time. But if we fail to set aside the time, if we fail to pick up the book, if we fail to exercise the discipline, then ignorance will quickly move in to fill the void.

Those who seek a better life must first become a better person. They must continually seek after self-mastery for the purpose of developing a balanced philosophy of life, and then live in accordance with the dictates of that philosophy. The habit of reading is a major steppingstone in the development of a sound philosophical foundation. And in my opinion, it is one of the fundamentals required for the attainment of success and happiness.

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