The night before I turned ten, I had a dream that my mother walked into my room carrying a small package, wearing her South Sea Islands orange mumuu housecoat, and further, that she walked over to my eagle lamp to turn it on, and then sat on my bed. Upon waking, I saw that every item I'd obviously preceived as much as perceived before my eyes were open or mind consciously awake, was acquitted by my eyes.

She handed me a wrapped package, stating that it was Volume I of the Reader's Digest Condensed Series, where they take long classical novels and condense them at the rate of four per month, contained in one volume. My mother then told me that one of my tenth birthday presents was a monthly subscription to the series, in order for me to continue developing my mind. She said the best birthday present she could give to me as I turned ten was a reminder to read a book every day of my life. She punctuated the point by giving me what I'd later remember as the last hug of my childhood from her, and the words, "If you read a book every day, all you have to do is survive 'til age sixty-five, my son, and I promise you'll be a wise old man."

As some of you can understand, that prospect was attractive indeed, so I took her advice.

It was a rare day when I missed at least a book. When it would happen, there'd be mad overcompensation on weekends with reading sessions totaling thirty and forty hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

After six years, I saw that, at age sixteen, I'd been drinking in delightful words to the tune of two thousand books. In my early twenties, it was startling to see the total moving up to five thousand. Daunting to think of competing with Jefferson himself, sometimes offered as the most well-read man in history.

Now, with a thousand days and more behind me, it became painfully obvious that there are not enough years in one lifetime to read THE best one hundred thousand great books. Even if I made it to twenty thousand in one lifetime at the cost of getting a bit less from each one, that still leaves tens of thousands of tomes or screenplays, drafts or treatments that will never be sipped or gulped. That can be frustrating, which requires an offset, a resolution, a better focus of energy upon. You agree that frustration is better utilized as an asset instead of allowing it to be an obstacle?

Knowing that knowledge is not power, that knowledge is only potential power, doesn't lesson the thirst for knowledge. It's a most delicious drink. At some point, the information gleaned has to be used, in order to justify a lifetime's investment into reading a few hours per day. To read and understand another hundred books every few months has value only insofar as it is employed, even if it's only condensing it to pass on to others.

So, why do we (including you) confuse knowledge with intelligence? You're impressed by those of us who can deliver a river of facts and observations at higher speed only to the detriment of you hesitating to take certain extra steps just because of the difference in the speed of delivery.

We both know that you have produced some pretty excellent ideas for solving challenges throughout your life. the creative process, which includes problem-solving, is innate in all humans. It's hard-wired into our programming as surely as a kitten cleaning its fur with a thousand licks per day or a squirrel holding the nut while cracking it open.

Each and every one of us knows one or more persons who has high potential, and doesn't go for the gold in their lives because they don't think they can do it. Far more than looks, talent, love, money and more, the definitive root of all desirable human behavior patterns is the phrase, "I can." It is the most magnificently unbroken divider between those who fulfill their lives and those who do not.

The only demonstration of intelligence that qualifies as accurate in the long-term is the measurement far less of what we know, instead, how much we use of what we know.

Difficult to explain or even fully understandy why most of us get it backwards, believing that people who have the information are more powerful. How many people have you seen or known in your life who are exceptionally successful and yet, underneath it all are remarkably ignorant?

They show themselves to be brighter -- even with the burden of ignorance -- because they do not possess much in the way of knowledge... they simply squeeze their lemons harder... and more often... than the rest of the populace.

Having the discipline to stick with a passion even on sick days and holiday ends up producing a fruit with juicy delights that are tough to beat, and even tougher to describe to those who choose not to invest even fifteen minutes per day into something with rarely a day off. They payback is bright, positive, and exponential, and comes from directions you'd least expect.

I once called my mother to thank her for giving me such wonderful advice. She responded, "What're you, an idiot? I told you a book per week, not a book per day." I declared, "You mean I've read eight thousand books more than I should have? Bummer, man."

The ultimate payoff is there for one hundred percent of us who consider these thoughts. The only reason the payoff comes to a mere seven or ten percent is the difference between belief and lack thereof. That belief is a form of gasoline, that gives us fuel and power to take that one more step, one more time; one more time, one more time.


© EASY STREET, USA by MrShortcut, urging you to feed starving children. Period. Feeding people - - what a thrill --                               Does not cost a dime, yet you save lives!!

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