The Best Teacher
Throughout my time in the publishing community, I've had some unforgettable experiences--good and bad. I've written about a few of them in these entries on The Writing Life, which is one of my consistent themes.
When I've gone through some difficult or challenging experience, after it is over, I have often looked back and said to myself the common saying, "Experience is the best teacher."
Last week, I wrote about a new book, The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews. There are many valuable insights in this little book and in this entry I wanted to write about another one.
Jones, the central person in the book, is a noticer. During a difficult time in Andy Andrews' life, Jones makes a special introduction:
"'Do you read?' he asked. As I nodded, he added, 'I'm not asking if you can read, I'm asking if you do.'
'Yes,' I responded, 'Mostly magazines and stuff, but I do.'
'Good enough,' Jones said. 'Read these.'
I looked at what he handed me in the semidarkness. The titles were all names. Winston Churchill. Will Rogers. George Washington Carver. I glanced back up at him. 'History books?'
'No,' he said with a twinkle in his eye, 'adventure stories! Success, failure, romance, intrigue, tragedy, and triumph--and the best part is that every word is true! Remember, young man, experience is not the best teacher. Other people's experiences is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.'" (page 9)
I readily identified with this section of The Noticer. Why? I've always loved biographies and read many of them. I've learned so much from each one of them. It's part of the reason that I've written magazine profiles about more than 150 bestselling authors. In the process of writing those stories, I learn massive amounts of material about their experiences.
To me, it is a partial explanation why I've written numerous biographies such as Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Luis Palau, John Perkins and many more.
Have you unlocked the secrets to greatness as you read about other people's experiences?