The final obstacle in the River of Resistance to our “Unlived Life,” at first glance doesn’t look like an obstacle at all, but rather an aid in crossing the river. It’s the Library.
When I first put the Library in as an obstacle, my son, a very successful CEO in Atlanta, challenged me by saying, “Poppa, I can’t believe a man as dedicated to life-long learning as you, would call a library an obstacle and put it in the River of Resistance.” I agreed.
Libraries are truly one of the greatest gifts we have to help us enjoy life, grow and learn. That said, there are some libraries that we would be much better off not visiting. That last statement probably needs an explanation. Our lives are stories. Hugh Jackman had a wonderful line in the movie Australia, “the only thing you ever own in life is your story.” If a person is 45 years old, they have 45 chapters in their story, with a whole bunch of sub-chapters. Hopefully, most of those chapters are positive, exciting, rewarding stories that one would happily return to re-read and use to gain confidence from those past experiences. However, most of us have stories that are just the opposite. Stories that we aren’t proud of. Stories that bring us pain, shame, guilt, regret, etc. I think it is important that we learn from the mistakes of our past.
A good friend of mine, Craig Tiley, who won three National NCAA Tennis championships at the University of Illinois, and is currently the CEO of Tennis Australia, said ” when you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” It’s important that we learn from our losses. But, once we have learned from the losses of the past, it’s time to move on. If you drive your car while looking in the rear view mirror, you’re going to run off road. A successful productive life is about being all that you can be, right now. Spending time in the libraries of our past failures only continues to feed our brain with negative thoughts, and negative thoughts are success killers. So stay out of the library that houses old stories of the past. When you are tempted to re-read the negative chapters of your past life, STOP, read some of the positive chapters, and focus on being your best NOW.