Something Old. Something New. Something Borrowed.

October 2, 2019 –

I’m always on the lookout for a new book, a new blog, an original magazine article or speech that deals with creativity, motivation, psychology, and self-improvement or history— especially biblical history.

Genuine breakthroughs or innovations in the self-help and motivational fields are something many people like. Go online to Amazon (or a nearby bookstore) and browse the business or psychological book titles. They print many book covers to say “New,” “Breakthrough,” “Discover,” or some related promotional phrase.

I am convinced that many contemporary writers, authors, and speakers in the subjects mentioned in the above categories do not plow new ground but till the same old fields. The unoriginal, non-innovative, people follow only one-half of a comment attributed to Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney University. “Innovation is the creation of the new or the re-arranging of the old in a new way.”

I selected several examples to prove my point. Epictetus was a Greek-born slave of Rome in the first century. He became a great philosopher and teacher and eventually gained his freedom. His teachings based on Stoic philosophy, but a careful read of his lessons sound like contemporary thought; not the first century.

  • It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
  • Happiness is only found within.
  • Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
  • First, say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.
  • Learn to distinguish what you can and can’t control.

Don’t these rules sound like the empowerment principles from contemporary authors? Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Who Moved My Cheese?) Jeffrey J. Fox (How To Become A Rainmaker), Ken Blanchard (The One Minute Manager), John C. Maxwell (Your Attitude), Jon Gordon (The Seed and The Energy Bus). All excellent books and well written.

I, along with many other writers, write to offer encouragement and motivation. Here are five simple self-improvement tools—none of them original. But, each rule is worth re-reading.

Rule 1. STUDY the works of others.

Rule 2. ATTITUDE is determined by how a man views the event.

Rule 3. KNOW your purpose.

Rule 4. PRACTICING principles mean more than proving them.

Rule 5. DISREGARD what doesn’t concern you.

One last thought. If you say, you will do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.