I SEE MY WORK as beginner material. And
I'm not saying that to insult my work. Not at all. The most important
material in any field is fundamental and not fancy. It is beginner
material. Most of the greatest gains come from the most basic
For example, I know a young man who drinks
wheat grass, uses healing magnets in his shoes, and drinks water
only if it is filtered. But he doesn't exercise. In my opinion,
exercise is beginner material. It is basic and fundamental and
would produce more real gains to his state of health and well-being
than all the esoteric stuff combined. There are hundreds of studies
showing how effective and important exercise is, and there are
only scattered reports or mere anecdotal evidence that the other
three things I mentioned make much of a difference or do any
good at all.
There are a few things in life that are
really important. All else is secondary and even superfluous.
But the fundamentals are boring to an inquisitive mind like yours,
so it wanders off and wants to get fancy. But to succeed and
experience peace of mind you need to keep coming back to the
Earl Nightingale once had a conversation
with his friend, Dr. L.D. Pankey. Nightingale was looking at
a picture of one of Pankey's classes he taught for the people
in his profession every year, when he noticed that there were
some familiar faces faces he'd seen in pictures of earlier
"I notice many of the people who took
your course a year ago took it again this year," said Nightingale,
"What did you teach them this year that you didn't teach
them last year?"
"Nothing," replied Pankey, "I
teach them the same thing every year, not only in this country
but abroad as well. Oh, I add to it each year, as I learn new
things. But basically, it's the same course every year."
"Do you mean you teach the same things
to the same people all over again?"
"That's right," said Pankey.
He looked up at Nightingale. "When you find your golf game
isn't as good as you'd like it to be," he said, "or
you suddenly find the ball isn't going where you want it to go,
and you can't quite put your finger on what's wrong, what do
Nightingale didn't have to think about
that one. "Well, I go back to the pro for some lessons."
"That's right. And what does he teach
you? Does he teach you something new about the game something
you didn't know at some time before? Or does he merely remind
you once again of the basic fundamentals that, if you'll but
be guided by them, will result in your getting the kind of score
you'll be happier with?"
The idea of coming back to basics is itself
a basic and needs reminding too. And one of the most enjoyable
way to re-learn the basics is to teach them to others. No doubt,
as you read the articles on this web site, you will learn many
useful things that you'll be able to teach your friends, and
by teaching them, they will benefit and you will learn it better.
That's a finding that has schools changing their curricula.
In tutoring programs in the past, they
would take kids who excelled and let them teach kids who weren't
doing very well. But recently, a different approach has shown
a tremendous amount of promise: Taking average or below-average
students and having them teach students two grades lower
fourth graders tutoring second graders, for example.
In studies on this approach it was found
that the second graders obviously benefit, but the fourth graders
did too. Many of them had never quite mastered some skills until
they had to teach it to someone. The process of teaching the
younger students allowed the older students to clarify and solidify
what they had learned before, and it also improved their attitudes
and increased their self-confidence besides.
When you think you've got a pretty good
grasp on something from this web site, teach it to someone. The
process of doing so will increase your own understanding, as
well as giving you an even better attitude than you have now,
and giving you more self-confidence than you have already.
Helping someone else learn something fundamental
will deepen your mastery of those important basics. One of the
things I like most about the business I'm in writing
is how much better I understand what I learn just by trying to
explain it to you.
Stick to the basics: Your health, your
relationships, your peace of mind. Everything else is icing.
If your frame of mind is good, when your relationships are all
dandy, and when you've done what you can for your health for
today, then worry about extras. Don't spend time on icing when
the basics are not in place.
some of the basics
Once on a quiet holiday at the coast, when
I was feeling philosophical, I posed myself the question: "Of
all the things I know that are practical and really help, what
are the ones I know that are the most solid and effective?"
I came up with three. Here they are:
1. Purpose Focus
Constantly bring your attention back to your purpose. At any
given time, be clear what your purpose is for the task you are
engaged in. Know what you are aiming at. As much as possible,
make your purposes something you want rather than something you
feel you should do. And focus your attention on what you want
rather than what you don't want. Spend time thinking and planning.
Aggressively criticize your negative thoughts. Don't try to be
positive; try to be accurate. It is easier to do this on paper
than in your head for many reasons. Use the 22
virus definitions from the antivirus for your mind to give you an idea
of how to criticize your thoughts. But you don't really need
anything other than the will to criticize your own negativity.
Talk to yourself in a way that creates motivation and determination
to take intelligent action. Deliberately take over your stream
of thought. Use mottos and slogans. Practice thinking things;
use repetition to make the new thoughts familiar and comfortable
and natural. Remember that: Talk to yourself in a way that creates
or intensifies your motivation.
You'll see these simple ideas woven throughout
the pages of this web site. Whenever I find something that really
works, it almost always involves one of these elements. There
are other things that help, of course, but I've found it extremely
useful to have chopped it down into its most simple and basic
elements, and these are the ones I've found to be the most reliably
helpful, applied in an almost unlimited number of ways.
If you already know the principles on this
web site and apply them, then read this site to boost
your conviction and motivation to keep on doing what you already
know works. If you know the material but don't apply it,
then let this site motivate you to get to work. And if you come
across something new here, that's great too. But whatever you
do in your life, keep to the basics the simple, the practical,
and the effective.
Stick to the few fundamentals.