Photo by shutterhacks on flickr.
This is a guest post by Aamir Musharraf who leads the “Read to Succeed” program for Tremendous Life Books
. He has worked with AOL/Time Warner and Gannett on various literacy programs.
Books have been my greatest mentors. My personal “search for meaning” initiated with Dr. Victor Frankl and culminated with Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.
For more than 50 years, Charlie was on a mission to help people improve their lives through reading. His worlds of wisdom touched my life. Getting people to read quality books that have the power to change lives has become my personal passion. In his book, Life is Tremendous, Charlie wrote that there are three great decisions in life:
3 Great Decisions
- Who are you going to live your life with?
- What are you going to live your life in?
- And what are you going to live your life for?
Who are you going to live your life with?
What are you going to live your life in?
And what are you going to live your life for?
I was 17 when I decided to settle in America, 27 when I asked a beauty queen doctoral student in Nashville to be my wife (Thank God she agreed!), and 37 when I discovered my calling to promote literacy. I believe that illiteracy is the greatest evil that confronts mankind. It creates darkness from within, a cancer of dis-empowerment, scarcity, despair, and anger. But knowledge overcomes all.
A single moment can change your life. A single decision can have a lasting impact. A single relationship can define you in ways you would never expect.
That single moment happened in Laura Schroff’s life over 25 years ago. She was a successful advertising executive living in Manhattan. Her life was full and her schedule even more so.
Crossing 56th street one day, she heard a panhandler’s voice. “Excuse me, lady, I’m really hungry. Do you have any spare change?” She dismissed the request, moving quickly through the intersection.
Somewhere in the middle of the intersection is where that moment happened for Laura. That decision. Where the relationship started. Laura stopped, turned around and went back to meet the panhandler. His name was Maurice, and he was only 11 years old. She said she didn’t want to give him money, but she would buy him some food at McDonald’s.
For many, that would be it. A single act of goodwill. Not for Laura and Maurice. The one meal became a weekly dinner for years. Their relationship has continued to grow over the past twenty-five years.
Image courtesy of istockphoto/bluestocking
On my desk at home, I have a jar of coins. In it is mostly pennies and nickels. Today as I was throwing some extra change into the jar, I found an old buffalo nickel. I didn’t expect to find it just sitting on top.
And that got me thinking. Inside this jar there are likely other coins more valuable than I think. Inside companies are employees more valuable than the company leaders think. And inside of you is more potential than you could possibly think.
“You may hit me. You may knock me around and knock balls out of the park. But I am always going to get back up and keep coming at you.” — R.A. Dickey
How many of us have this type of attitude no matter what trials we are facing?
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk and have lunch with Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey. It was our first meeting, but I had already met him in the pages of his new book, Wherever I Wind Up. His story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. When I finished the book, I flipped back to the beginning and re-read the words in the quote above. R.A. captured the essence of his life in those sentences and his ability to persevere through almost anything.