My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was an author whose motivational classic Life Is Tremendous had sold several million copies. Every time he spoke, he was waving piles of books about the podium, kissing them, reading from them, letting people know that the key to everything they ever wanted in life was between two covers.
The interesting part was that the books he waived about were rarely his own. And so I learned at an early age that helping people was best served by introducing them to as many others as humanly possible. My father’s motto was, “You’ll be the same person you are today five years from now except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” And he wasn’t just referring to himself or his book.
So much of what I encounter on a daily basis is people talking about themselves. When I was in the military it was about their rank. When I was in corporate America it was about their ideas. Now that I’m in publishing it’s about their book. I think we’d all agree that there really is nothing new under the sun so what makes a person think that their words or experiences are the only ones that matter?
Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Everything we communicate should be a compilation of the best and the brightest ideas that have touched us. Every great autobiography will be a testament to the individuals and experiences that have made that person what they are.
The Holy Bible is the bestselling book of all time with an estimated figure of over six billion sales. It is a compilation of 66 authors. What if the Apostle John or Paul had insisted that theirs be published separately? What if the Old Testament prophets’ words had not been sewn together into an eternal tapestry?
Look around you. Read. Listen. The next time you are tempted to talk about yourself, include the insights of several others. Bundle your words with others’ genius and see how exponentially more powerful they become. In the end, you may become the person responsible for changing someone’s life, even if the ideas or words are not your own.