Denny Crane wouldn't change one thing about himself. Alan Shore, James Spader's character, asks Denny what he'd change about himself. Denny replies, "Nothing." That's why he's one of the greatest TV characters of all time. Denny Crane epitomized self-confidence, but more importantly...he was completely comfortable, no, pleased...about who and what he is. Genius! I miss that show, Boston Legal.
It's a good question though.
As kids we'd throw a ball at a buddy and shout, "Think quick." So let me throw you a question with the same challenge, "Think quick!"
What would you change about yourself?
I doubt I've got any Denny Crane types listening to my podcast. If I do, let me hear from ya! ;)
The entire self-help (ahem, personal development) industry is based on the truth that most of us (maybe ALL of us) would change something about ourselves. Sometimes we know what it might be. Other times we might be stumped. We just know this ain't it.
Mostly, I suspect people are aware of what they'd like to change...they just aren't sure how. I was taught, through books when I was still a kid, that successful people don’t obsess about how. They mostly focus on who can help them, and get very focused on what they want to accomplish. I confess that was hard for me because...well, I was a teenager. I didn't have a network of people who could or would help me figure it out. Whatever IT may be.
“Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I started reading self-help books when I was young. I don't remember the first one I read, but it was very likely, How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I'm pretty sure I started reading them because I was curious about improving myself. Truth be told, I wanted to be better. Denny Crane moments didn't often occur in my life as a kid. They still don't. ;)
There are so many things I'd change about myself that I doubt an Excel spreadsheet has the computing power to database them all. And yet I'm comfortable - especially at this age - with who and what I am. I'm a walking contradiction like that, I guess.
Sitting here inside The Yellow Studio listening to an album by Francis King that came out last year, Ask For The Moon, I started thinking more deeply and specifically about it. "Asking for the moon" is tantamount to asking for something that is seemingly impossible. At the very least, it's quite difficult. Are there changes you'd make in yourself that seem impossible? Or very difficult?
With Francis singing to me through my headphones I started thinking how making big changes - seemingly impossible ones - are most worthwhile. I started to think back to the books and my attraction to that section of the bookstores, SELF-HELP. So I pondered it, took a stroll through my bookshelves and concluded - perhaps incorrectly, I'm not sure - that Stephen Covey's 1989 bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, may have been among the first to distill a variety of notions put forth by the self-help crowd. I'm not saying it was the first book to capture my attention or even the first content I seriously consumed and considered. Not by a long shot.
“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where’s the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ― Steven Wright
My maternal grandfather had some books on a little table by his evening chair. Guys had evening chairs back in the day. Maybe they still do. I've not had a chair (that's dad's chair) since my kids were toddlers. I've only had one and that one was it. I'm so deprived, no wonder there are so many things I would change about myself? :D
“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner
The year before I was born, in 1956, Earl Nightingale produced an audio record entitled,