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But Intelligence for Your Life is more than a guide to informed living; it is also a memoir. Tesh shares his own story here, revealing the passions that have driven him and given shape to his extraordinary professional and personal life. You can live a life that's more purposeful, more effective, and happier. Intelligence for Your Life can start you on your way... today.
Wherever you are right now in your life, there lives within you an urge to go deeper. To be useful. To be alive. When you resist that urge, you kill any chance of living a life of purpose.
Living on Purpose
I love asking people big life questions. It's a hobby of mine. It doesn't always advance my friendships or win me new ones, but it can be wonderfully challenging nonetheless, for both the asker and the askee.
Here's my favorite question: "Tell me the deepest desire of your heart." You want to see someone frozen in his or her tracks? Just ask that question. And while you're at it, ask yourself. It is my opinion that very few of us find that deep desire within us. So each day we pursue happiness instead of desire-what our hearts desire. If someone asks you to state the deepest desire of your heart and you don't have an answer, there's a good chance you're living your life merely as a reaction to what happens to you. You know, stimulus response. Rats do that; ring bell, get cheese.
The successful people I have interviewed and met in my travels all share these important distinctions: They know what they desire. They are sure of it. They live it intentionally. They know what makes them come alive, and therefore they know where their compass points. Sadly, it took me years to accept my heart's deepest desire. Notice I said "accept." We all are born with our own personal desires, but a great many of us spend our lives denying those desires and instead go with what the world would have us do. Or maybe we just eventually give up and distract (or drown) ourselves in video games, text messaging, shopping, food, alcohol, or some other self-medicating habit.
So, what is your deepest desire? It's a question first posed to me by John Eldredge in his book Wild at Heart. What is that one thing, when you are doing it, that causes you to lose track of time? What do you do that gives you great pleasure and a sense of purpose without regard to monetary reward? If you won the lottery, or if you had only one year to live, what would you do?
Before you answer, let me hit you with a quote from author Harold Thurman that I often have playing in my head: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what it is that makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs are men and women who have come alive."
That's deep. It begs the question, why don't we do what makes us come alive? How have we missed the deepest desire of our hearts?
First, let me say it's not entirely our fault. It's a big world out there, and that world is always trying to conform us to it. We've heard it a thousand times, "Be in the world but not of it." But it's hard to live in it without becoming part of it. Reality shows, magazines, and Internet sites bombard us with the idea that celebrity is the highest good. Kids get the message that a Mercedes-Benz is the symbol of a life well lived, that earthly pleasure is the best happiness we can hope for in life. The world-money, parents, friends, fame-can easily cloud the vision of what God originally planted in our hearts.
When we're young it's especially hard because our parents and relatives can't help but get involved in helping us select a career. We ask ourselves what the world needs. Or maybe we don't even ask anything that deep. Maybe we ask, "What will make my parents proud and happy?" or "What will get me lots of money and fame and a Mercedes?" In any case, some of us were talked out of choosing what makes us come alive. But here's the truth: our deepest desire will eventually seek its rightful place in our life. Like a bottle of cola forgotten in the freezer, like a ticking time bomb, there will be an explosion. It's only a matter of time.
If you had seen me as a grade school child, you would have seen a boy keen on defining his life with music and live performance. I played in the high school band and orchestra. I stayed up late nights charting chords off of Jimi Hendrix records. I was in two garage bands. I snuck into clubs to see live bands. I built Heathkit amateur electronic kits and used them to broadcast into my parents' car radios.
But my mom and dad were convinced, like many baby boomer parents, that music was not a respectable, viable vocation. So they "strongly encouraged" me to apply to college to study textile chemistry, my father's occupation. My dad had carved out a wonderful living working for Hanes, and I had worked during the summer months in the Hanes dye mill. So joining Hanes seemed like the logical, sensible choice. Sound familiar?
I enrolled in North Carolina State and attended classes on surface-active agents, statistics, and weave factors. I was a C-minus student. At night, I would sneak into the music building's piano practice rooms, and for hours I played songs by Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Eyes closed, I lost myself in what had always been my deepest desire.
In January of my sophomore year, my friend and soccer teammate Steve Thomas suggested that I might enjoy a brand-new elective course at the university, Radio-Television 101. From the first day in class, I was a whirling dervish of creativity-writing copy, shooting camera, editing videotape, and then scoring it all with a beat-up Moog synthesizer. On weekends I took a hosting shift at the campus radio station, WKNC-FM. I was hooked. I didn't even tell my parents I had signed up for that first class, by the way. When they finally found out that I had switched my major, it got pretty ugly.
The short version of the rest of this story? I embarked on a professional career in music and television that led me through local TV news, network sports, and a music recording and scoring career. I ended up hosting Entertainment Tonight, and today I'm a syndicated radio host and touring musician. That's a pretty varied résumé. As you may have noticed, it doesn't include any mention of textiles.
I was fortunate. I don't know what would have happened if Steve hadn't suggested the TV and radio course. I'm grateful he did.
So, what is the deepest desire of your heart? What is it that makes you come fully alive? Ask yourself that question-and when you have the answer, go do that, because what the world needs is you, fully alive.
Big Life Question: Do my parents still know best?
You need to figure out what's right for you despite what your parents think. Maybe they don't think you should take a career break or move to another state to be with your girlfriend, but if you feel strongly about what you're doing-and you've looked at the consequences-make your own decisions. My parents insisted I would starve to death as a musician. I took their advice and took chemistry courses in college. I wasted valuable time because my parents (and they were great parents) didn't really understand how serious I was about a career in music, radio, and television.
Excerpted from Intelligence for Your Life by JOHN TESH Copyright © 2008 by John Tesh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 14, 2013
Posted September 9, 2009
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I did a sermon earlier this year using this book for part of it. Section 6 "Trust God" and the quote from Hammer William Webb-Peploe on page 193 offers an insight into a fundamental issue most people have today, "It's all about me and what can you give me" vs How can I serve and who can I trust"! As on page 203 Would you like to get your soul in shape? ...The first step is to lighten up! See what G.K Chesterton said.
D I need to be richer? What am I worried about? Can money buy happiness? What does your choice of friends say about yourself?
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