Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grow up!

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
When I gave my lecture on “How to become a writer” to fifth graders, I had a young fellow ask me after the lecture was over, “Were these the things you did to become a writer?”  Although I would have loved to say, “Yes, exactly!,” I had to be honest with him.  “No,” I said, “but I didn’t have someone come into my class in the fifth grade and tell me what I’ve told you today.  These are things that I learned and am now sharing with you.”
There are so many things I wish I had known about as I grew up.  Of course, part of the fun of growing up is learning about new things, so there is a certain dichotomy here that is difficult to resolve completely.  My thinking on this is simple.  Since there are so many things to learn—and things that you can learn—all the help you can get is greatly appreciated.  The help only serves to lay the foundation for even more learning and understanding.
There are some ideas, however, that can help solidify a foundation.  That is, there are ideas that are basic and can serve as a starting point.
First, let me ask you if you know someone who is immature?  Someone who needs to grow up?  Someone whom you know could be more active and creative?  Someone who could lead a more purposeful life if he or she just “wised-up”?  Someone who just seems to be wasting his or her life away—wandering randomly and aimlessly without goals, purposes, or direction? 
If your answer is yes, then I have an idea.  I have written a book designed just for such a person.  It is called You Rules—Caution, Contents Leads to a Better Life (And Then Some Publishing, 2008).  This is the kind of book I wish I had as a teenager, as a college student, or even as I was just starting out in life.  I was a person who needed direction and purpose.
You Rules is a 316-page book (with only a mere 175-words (average) on a page) that is divided into six parts: 1) Establish the characteristics, 2) Strive to be healthy, 3) Get where you want to go, 4) Exercise your creativity, 5) Maintain your progress, and 6) Look toward a positive future.
The first section, “Establish the characteristics,” includes eight chapters, 1) Learn to be optimistic, 2) Develop a positive attitude, 3) Make self-discipline a habit, 4) Become passionate about life, 5) Make your own luck, 6) Get out of your comfort zones, 7) Make TNT your motto to feed your mind with positive input, and 8) Get organized.
Each chapter is full of specific, practical advice and suggestions.  I write in the “Introduction,” “If you are looking for encouragement, specific suggestions, and inspiration to make changes in your life, this is the book for you.”  For example, I write in Chapter 2, “Develop a Positive Attitude,” “For those who do not possess a positive attitude, positive thinking, and optimism, there are a number of things that can be done.  Essentially, it requires a change in your mindset, but, even if you have been a pessimistic, negative thinker for many years, it is not too late to change your way of thinking and reap the benefits of a positive attitude” (p. 9).  This is a series of sentences that can be changed only slightly to include every topic covered in the book. 
Whether the subject is learning to be optimistic, developing a positive attitude, making self-discipline a habit, becoming passionate about life, making your own luck, etc. (any subject in the book!), I not only offer suggestions for change, but I give the reasons why as well.  How will change help you?  What differences will it make in your life? 
The second section, “Strive to be Healthy,” includes six chapters: 9) Adopt a healthy lifestyle, 10) Make a commitment to regular exercise, 11) Develop a sense of wonder, 12) Have a sense of humor, 13) Make healthy selfishness part of your everyday existence, and 14) Work to achieve mindfulness in your life.  In the “mindfulness” chapter, there are fourteen specific mindfulness traits that can be adopted, applied, and used in your life—practically and right now.
The “Get Where You Want to Go” section includes the most chapters of any section at eleven.  That is because moving from where you are now to where you want to be requires more than just motivation; it requires action.  These chapters discuss commitment, self-discipline, time management, listening to instincts, controlling worry, developing memory, pulling yourself up, pursuing a program of growth, development, and change, becoming an effective listener, moving to the front of the pack, and opening the mystery doors of your life.
Chapter 16, “Develop Self-Discipline,” is one of my favorites because it is based on the speech I gave as part of the “Last Lecture Series” at Bowling Green State University.  In this chapter, I discuss the seven keys to developing self-discipline: attitude, time management, capitalizing on your skills, working hard, taking good care of yourself, making time for relationships, and spirituality.  If there were one, overarching, chapter of greatest importance, it would probably be this one simply because it is one of the keys to accomplishing the ideas in all fifty chapters.
All of the chapters in You Rules are motivational.  One of the best examples, however, is Chapter 24, “Strive to Move to the Front of the Pack.”  In this chapter, there are at least eight specific suggestions that apply to any situation you face in life in which you want to excel.  If you are truly interested in self-growth, this is an essential—exceptional—chapter.
The fourth section of the book, “Exercise Your Creativity,” includes six chapters: 26) Discover the benefits of creativity, 27) Develop the characteristics of successful, creative people, 28) Know how the creative process works, 29) Establish the kind of life in which creativity will flourish, 30) Become immersed in a field of study, and 31) Capitalize on flow.  This is a section where you can truly stretch your boundaries, extend your knowledge, and push yourself beyond what you are and what you know.
There are nine chapters in the fifth section of the book, “Maintain Your Progress.”   This section discusses all the distractions that can get in the way of forward progress—failure, mistakes, obstacles, undesirable social influences, perfection, brain issues, and devilish issues.  The final chapter in this section, Chapter 40, “Make Your Self Improvements Last,” contains four specific and realistic suggestions that are guaranteed to assist you in making the changes you want continue.  Change is tough—requires time, effort, focus, and commitment—but when you examine your life and make changes, now (with the book You Rules) you can make them last.
The final section, “Look Toward a Positive Future,” includes 10 chapters that attempt to keep things (change, growth, and development) in perspective. “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” advocates caution, just as the chapters on developing a growth mindset, reflecting on your present blessings, learning how to forgive, making the best use of your time, and striving for improvement not perfection.  The final chapter about “the good life” shows that it is both well-defined and achievable.
At the end of Chapter 6, “Get Out of Your Comfort Zones,” and as part of the conclusion to that chapter, I write what could be the theme or thesis of the entire book: “What many people fail to realize is that, indeed, they are in charge of their lives—qualified, capable, and able—and they have the key to their prison cells if they would just find it, put it into the lock, turn it, open the door, and allow themselves to be catapulted into new and uncharted territory” (p. 17).     Catapulted, I might add, into new and uncharted territory that could best be characterized by “growth.”  At least when someone tells you to “Grow up!, after reading You Rules, you will know how to do it.
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At wikiHow the essay, “How to grow up,” offers 7 practical tips for growing up.>

At Scribd the essay, “Ten Steps to Mental Maturity,” is excellent!

At the essay “7 Steps to Emotional Maturity,” is also excellent!
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Copyright August, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing LLC


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