It has been said, you make your habits and then they make you. Certainly this applies with your habits concerning exercise, meals-snacks, hygiene, smiling, dressing clean and sharp.
What about your habits with reading, seeking wisdom, understanding?
What about mentors, who help you understand daily experiences with life through their lens of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, along with their first hand experiences.
I do not know where I would be without my mentors throughout my life. Everybody has certain desires that carry great weight in their decisions with regards to how their time is invested, in spent. Here is a quick review of some of my youth, for I believe sharing it now, will have value for some of you reading this.
When I was 12, my father had the first of seven heart attacks over five years. One every January, with two in the second and fourth year. My mother was incredible in many ways. A teacher who invested 38 years with 1st and 2nd graders, she was detailed. Her final year, she was teacher of the year in Marion County, up for the state teacher of the year as well. She was Incredible in many ways, yet I will suffice to say this. As overwhelmed as she was at times caring for my father, dealing with Mrs Matthews who watched dad from 8am-4pm over a 5 year period, and teaching, she was always attentive to my needs. Everyone admired and adored my mother.
My brother, 6 years older, was off to college at UCF, while I was in 8th grade. Growing up, as her time was mostly invested teaching and caring for my father, great independence developed from age 10 to 19. Not that I didn't set out for new adventures throughout my youth.
At six I set out pulling my red wagon around the neighborhood, selling 10 and 25 cent cups of kool aide to all of the construction workers there with our neighborhood expansion. I was making over $10 a week at age six. Other jobs followed, such as a paper route starting at 12 and lasting 4 years. My father, a great bass fisherman, and I did fish often, four to six times a month, from perhaps age 8 to age 16.
Yet one of the three biggest influences in my life happened from 11-15. I became consumed with reading from our church library, a series of biographies on great Americans. They had approximately 200 biographies, each about 180 pages. I read each book twice over a 4 years, about two books per week.
I was happy in so many ways. I kept active physically (I won city championships in 10 different sports), and reading books on other's lives. Whether they were Kit Carson or Daniel Boone, the brilliant Booker T Washington or Thomas Edison, or our presidents, western heroes, I was hooked.
Later in life, I reflected on the lessons I learned from those books, their successful, very effective lives. What resonated quite deep was the consistency of several of their habits and attitudes. Almost everyone of these "American Heroes" had qualities I am about to list below, permeate their daily life. From their youth until their death, these qualities were part of almost everyone of the 200 men and women I read about.
The first quality, one that influenced them, was their steady thirst for knowledge, understanding, and to experience new arenas of life. To go beyond the boundaries that history had set forth in ink, not to be disturbed.
They would ... continued soon.