Read an Excerpt
At first there is no road. It�s only when a person begins it that it exists for others.
What follows is very much true. Beginning with I�ve never read anything I�ve written. Not after it�s been published. Not once. Not ever.
Not so with Ron.
He�s been known to visit with our pages from time to time, preparing for an appearance, lecture, or interview.�
He has even read passages aloud when invited to do so. Never minding, glad to oblige, gracious -- always that, so much so a gent, that�s Ron. But that�s not me. Can�t do it.
Oh, I read and reread what I�ve put down during the keyboard-clacking process of writing a book. Ceaselessly shaping and shading. Striving for the right word in the right place. Wondering what works, what doesn�t, trying very hard to make the concepts Ron and I have developed interesting and inspiring -- thought-connecting, too. Always hoping that it is written well, praying that it is accepted well. Blissfully happy that after so many months that something exists. Mostly terrified that once it�s polished and put out there for public view, that each day that dawns, zero people on planet Earth will care. Just another vestigial waste of pulp, lost on the bookseller�s shelf, gasping for air, of interest to no one. (Pssst! While you snore with happiness, this is the nightmare of all writers, the sort of madness that haunts our dreams the most.)
Closing in, this is not a confidence thing. Hardly. Hold me upside down and give me a good shake and believe me, confidence will pour out of my ears. But still, I pretty much never begin a page without cursing my lack of talent, or end one successfully dodging my helplessness. Because regardless of what happens later, no matter how much sales are going good, the books booming, pleasing the publisher and giddying those that own their stock, no matter how kind and assuring the plaudits and reviews, I long ago realized something, which in the interest of accuracy, I will share with you now. Shhh . . .�
I could have done better.
This is the torment I keep inside. My inner reality. That the ideas and intellections that were so golden in my mind back when, the thoughts that were winged with such purpose and passion, when they circle and land, becoming ink on paper, in part of my head I know that I could have done, well, just so much better. That�s where my mind goes spinning away to hide when I think about my writing.
Denigrating further, I have no problem sharing with you yet another of my nutball lunacies, which is the fear that many, most, who might turn to our books for guidance, inspiration, or enlightenment would discover the experience to be nothing more than an aberration, and that�s the panic I live with regardless of their praise unending.
So again, since I don�t much care for my writing, I�ve never read anything I�ve written. Not after it�s been published. Not once. Not ever. Because even though no one will ever know how hard I slaved, always, always turning in only my best work, wanting whatever I write to have as much quality as possible, I know in my heart of hearts that I could have done better. And how do I deal with such bedeviled expectation? Easy.
As a Zentrepreneur, I not only know that I can always do better -- I believe it. And understand this: Believing is a Zentrepreneur�s most prized possession.
While some live the life they�ve been given, Zentrepreneurs live the life they believe in.�
For that is what Zentrepreneurs are: believers who believe in living a life in which what they do is one with what they are. Pursuing their passion for the possible, perceiving a clarity of purpose, Zentrepreneurs endeavor to study and practice, to live a life where the creative spark, the inner illumination of spirit, talent, and uniqueness, is put into motion, fostering growth that not only enriches their own life, but the lives of others as well. But more than that, Zentrepreneurs have made their lives noble and rich beyond counting by living a dream defined. Exuberantly so. And how do they get to a place of such happiness and light, where they have the courage and commitment to follow their feelings and live a life where they can take charge, create, and do? By simply doing no less than one thing only --
Believing they can.�
Which is what we all need to do. All of us. All of the time.
This book was born of a belief that every time someone finds his or her own way, he or she paves the way for someone else. That to journey our best life we need only to begin on a path of enlightenment, but realize, please, that the path to achieving your deserved greatness cannot be taught, it must be taken. Only then can illumination be delivered.
Enter Federal Express.
There is a profound Japanese proverb that states: �To teach is to learn.� I learned a tremendously meaningful lesson one fortuitous mid-morning, beginning innocently enough, with a package that came to me that day. At first, the contents were common enough. A book. One of ours. A very well-worn Zentrepreneur�s Guide with just the most beautiful note along with.
Here it is, verbatim.
Dear Ron and Stuart,�
Blessings to you for writing this book. I could never express how wonderful, good and true your teachings, inspiration and advice have been and continue to be for me. Your words have given me the life-enhancing encouragement to take the steps I have been wanting to take for years. It could have never come along at a better time in my life and I refer to the pages on a daily basis. (Note the extensive use of yellow highlighter. The book�s condition due to my reading it over and over while working out on a treadmill.) It would mean just so much if you could both take the time to sign this for me. I wish there were more people like you in this world to teach us to live our passion and our dreams and not to look back. Your empowering words of wisdom have changed me and I will carry them with me throughout my journeys in life.
Well, now. I don�t know what you might think after reading such a letter, so thoughtful and sincere, and thank you very much, but I can tell you how it triggered Ron and me.
Blew us away.
And want to know what? This marvelous incident permanently altered my view, forcing me, for the first time, surprisingly and stunningly to read a few of the jottings I�ve put down, not only with fresh eyes, but more importantly, through the eyes of another.�
And want to know what else? The way this person had descended on the pages of the book, embracing them, isolating so many passages with such obvious focus and satisfying belief, the luminous flash of yellow highlighter holding them bright to the light, the way it was done, I realized she had to be serious when she said the encounter with our words had changed her.
Changed me, too.
Enough to look back a bit at some of the stuff I�ve written, the climactic moment, alas, not too terrible, the excursion allowing me to recognize something that, trapped in my own skin, I could not see before -- the unimportance of trying to build a church out of my words. I was confusing content with contentment, missing the true whisper of the words that within the stillness spoke a message as old as the world: By doing something that may help to change the circumstances of others, we help to change the circumstances of ourselves.�
This book is about change. More to the point, it is a book about the ultimate dynamic of life, your innate capacity to change your circumstance, perspective, and direction, indeed the power that is yours to become the change you wish to be. It is our fervent hope that this gathering of Wowisms -- these proverbs of possibility -- will ennoble your spirit, initiate your mind, and encourage an awakening that engages and guides. you to embrace your fullest essence and unlimited potential. Change is the elixir of life. Open yourself to the wow and the wonder -- the renewal it can bring -- remembering always, please, that you get the life that you allow. And so, as we get started, let me say, may you all become dreamers and doers and may you also remember this: While some books change the way you think, some books change the way you live. Either way . . .�
Over to you.
--Stuart Avery Gold
Copyright © 2003 Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold