I was 1st asked this question in 1982. My resume included tractor-trailer driver, gas station attendant, security guard, dock worker and school teacher. At the time I owned a bar, eatery & music venue. While business was okay after 2 years, I sensed there was still a lot to learn.
I was invited to attend a business meeting & accepted the invite. There were folks from all walks of life who were also looking to better themselves. Of all the men and women who would show up for these meetings 3 really stand out- Mr. Fred Ponti, Mr. Geoff Fairfax and Mr. Tom White.
Every week there was a different aspect of business that was taught. I thought the education was great but the nice people were even greater.
In between meetings I was encouraged to read. There was a suggested reading list of books that addressed a myriad of topics but especially attitude, belief, vision, etc.
I'd come in and be greeted. 'Hey Russell, how are you doing this week? How's business? How's the family?' And I would let them know how I was really doing.
Without fail at some point during my telling 'how I was doing', one of the above referenced gentlemen would ask me the question, 'What book are you reading?'
Of course I would answer my new found friends with a full account of what I was reading & what I was learning. And each time Fred, Geoff or Tommy would just smile & nod affirmatively (umm- that's moving one's head up and down).
This went on for a few months. 'Hey Russell, how you doing?', my response then- 'What book are you reading?', my response, then a smile and nod.
I started to wonder why my new friends would check on how I was doing, ask me what I was reading and then just smile & nod knowingly. They never tried to solve whatever crisis I was in or give me advice. They didn't pry for more details.
And then I finally learned what the Game was.
Instead of sitting me down to counsel me on what was transpiring in my life and my assessment of it, they were being kind and encouraging.
I was so negative in how I viewed life, my attitude was so bad, my perspectives were so pessimistic & my words were so judgmental that looking back it boggles my mind. So in the kindest way possible my new pals were making a point about it. They could hear what I couldn't because all my education had fallen short, all of what my family tried to sow into me had failed.
How can Faith, Hope and Love become part of who we are if not for some form of teaching or real-life example?
So I found myself in an environment that was committed to nurturing a positive mindset over and over again. That's why it took me so long to 'get it'.
And the books were important. Classics. I read well over 100 books like that over the years. I even wrote one. The habit of not allowing the negative world to suck me in again was ingrained.
But to have the environment to practice a positive attitude was vital as well. As I wrote in Top Secrets of Success... 4 Kids, you become like who you hang out with. In the old days that was usually your circle of friends that you met up with or an organized group or even families who spend time together.
These days 'who you hang out with' has a much broader meaning. On your phone or computer- who do you spend a lot of time with? On TV or with movies- what type of shows are you getting your messages from? At least when I was coming up real people influenced me. Nowadays with the internet many times we can't even tell who is on the other end of a message.
So the solution goes back to what the guys showed me in 1982. I can choose a book. I can read it at my own pace. I can consider the message quietly. I can change my attitude about life and people. I can directly affect my health. I can influence my own dreams by what I allow in my head before I shut the light out.
And I can encourage others to do the same. And maybe just by asking the simple question we can make the world more peaceful. Maybe those whose only option is to scream at those with different experiences & points of view will now have another option.
Of course I do have the books that were suggested to me. They weren't just 'any' books. They were chosen. They were special.
So 'Hey, What Book Are You Reading?'