Here at Treeline, we have a best practice where we present 'book reports' to the rest of the team at our monthly meetings. The books we read can be about anything as long as they add value to our business in some way. We have read books written by leaders in their industries, motivational speakers and spiritual guides. This past month I read a book written by an educator named Hal Urban, who wrote a book for his 3 sons called Life's Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter.
As I said, he wrote it for his sons as a way to let them know how to live a life as a good human. After its first printing, he received a tremendous response. Not from parents or children but from business professionals. These simple lessons about living a fulfilled and moral life are closely tied to how we conduct ourselves in the world of business. A lot of his lessons are obvious but they serve as good reminders to us.
Urban talks about lessons such as "Success is More than Making Money." I know for you sales professionals this lesson probably makes you cringe but he makes a good point. He is not saying do not make money, rather he is saying make money and be successful but make sure your priorities are in check and you are not missing the big picture. Live a full life, give back to society and make the world a better place through your success.
He also talks about how "Life is hard…and Not Always Fair" and "It Is OK to Fail, Everyone Else Does" – here is where Urban sounds like a father but his point is to remind us not to be a victim. Life is hard and unfair and there are no exceptions to the rule. Successful people have to deal with their failures, hard times and injustices just like everyone else. It is how they deal with these difficulties that separate them from the masses. But don't forget, "Life is Also Fun and Incredibly Funny." When Thomas Edison passed away, amongst dozens of notebooks that were found with hundreds of ideas for inventions that he never got around to, there were also a handful of notebooks filled with nothing but jokes. When you work hard, it is important to keep your sense of humor.
And with that being said, Urban goes on to remind us that we, as individuals, have choices. "We Live by Choice, Not by Chance." We choose our values. We choose how to treat others. We choose how to handle adversity. We choose what we learn. We choose what we accomplish in life. We choose our belief system, ultimately – we choose our own purpose.
Urban states that ATTITUDE is the most important choice we make and we make it on a daily basis. He quotes Dr. Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning, saying, "the ability to choose our own attitude, in any given set of circumstances, is the last of the human freedoms." It is simple statements like this that put a lot of life's simple truths into perspective.
The direction of the book then goes onto how to explain how we can choose to live a better life both personally and professionally: "Good Habits, Be Thankful, Be Respectful, Be Honest, Share Kind Words With Others, Motivation Can Only Come From Within." He really breaks all this down into simple and relatable stories. Again, obvious lessons but great reminders.
Urban goes on to explain that these are tasks for the journey but what is the destination? "Goals Are Dreams with Deadlines." Catchy,eh?! But he is right. What good are goals if we don't set up a timeline to achieve them? How do we achieve them? The answer is something that we have all heard from our parents: "There Is No Substitution for Hard Work and Sacrifice." He tells of how resilience and persistence will get you places – don't let anyone tell you different.
He wraps up the book with prioritizing life, "Life is Simpler When We Know What is Essential" and what is most essential?? "Being a Good Person." Urban does a good job of reminding us what we are doing right in our lives and where we could improve ourselves. He explains it in a way that we can relate to. His writing is not a 'how to,' although he is incredibly obvious: it is never a bad idea to take a crash course on how to be a good person. Never stop learning how to be better…perhaps I should submit that as Lesson Number 21.
The 20 Lessons:
- Success is More Than Making Money
- Life is Hard…and Not Always Fair
- Life is Also Fun…and Incredibly Funny
- We Live by Choice, Not by Chance
- Attitude Is a Choice – The Most Important One You'll Ever Make
- Habits Are the Key to All Success
- Be Thankful – The Best Habit
- Be Respectful
- Be Honest
- Kind Words Cost Little but Accomplish Much
- Real Motivation Comes from Within
- Goals are Dreams with Deadlines
- There's No Substitute for Hard Work
- You Have to Give Up Something to Get Something
- Successful People Don't Find Time – They Make Time
- No One Else Can Raise Your Self-esteem
- The Body Needs Nutrition and Exercise – So Do the Mind and Spirit
- It's OK to Fail – Everyone Else Has
- Life is Simpler When You Know What's Essential
- Most Essential: Be a Good Person