Earl Nightingale was the first mass media voice of reason I ever heard regarding self-improvement. He offered concrete, non-woo tidbits of helpful information that anybody could understand and put to use.
I was initially exposed to Nightingale the first time I filled in for the morning DJ at WJAG in Norfolk, Nebraska. Each morning a track of his syndicated commentary show, “Our Changing World” was played. There were six tracks per vinyl LP side–one for each weekday and Saturday for a week. Many of our listeners said they appreciated these short programs because Nightingale’s words were the perfect way to start the day.
After I returned to the afternoon shift, I’d sometimes listen to a few tracks from each week’s LP record for my own edification. Nightingale’s pithy wisdom would stay with me all day.
“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”– Earl Nightingale
Even though Earl Nightingale died in 1969, his legacy of thoughts and advice continued on with his early morning radio feature. Even now, whenever I read one of Nightingale’s quotes, I can still hear his very deep, sonorous voice in my mind.
Nightingale’s wisdom triggered my search for similar thinkers and writers who did not rely upon wishful thinking and airy-fairy escapism. So, when the radio station’s contract with Nightingale-Conant expired, there were plenty of books to consult for inspiration.
I don’t remember the source, but I once heard an interviewed expert say that one of the best ways to be happy is to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Self pity is a very addictive trap that is so easy to fall into. We are fed a diet of self-pitying celebrities and regular people reinforcing their own self pity on television and on the Web. Once a person gets stuck in the mire of self-pity, it can be a major chore to get unstuck. But it’s not impossible.
To pity oneself is an huge disservice to oneself. It not only destroys oneself, it enables self-fulfilling prophesies. People do not like to listen to friends and family constantly feeling sorry for themselves, so relationships become ever more strained and alienating. The self-pitier eventually finds him or herself suffering alone.
“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.”–Anaïs Nin
A good point to remember is to aim higher than you think you are capable of doing. Don’t only try to be better than those around you, aim to be better than yourself. Of course, never look down on other people because that causes them to respond in kind.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”