Today, Earl Nightingale (known as the Dean of Personal Development) would have turned 93. This blog post is in tribute to him and the powerful influence he had on my life.
Earl Nightingale is my hero. I “met” him in the early 1980’s during a difficult time in my life. I was lost, confused, frightened, and felt isolated and alone. I “met” Earl through an audio program that I’d borrowed from my local library (it was a collection of his well-known works). The moment I turned it on, his gravel-y voice calmly delivering his wise message instantly soothed me. It felt like he was tossing me a lifeline. It seemed that he was taking me by the hand and gently pointing out the way, all the while letting me know that everything was okay, this situation was no big deal, and I would be just fine.
As I studied his messages and did my best to implement them, gradually I felt surer of myself and my place in this world. Even though he’s been gone from this earthly plane for 25 years, he’s still inspiring me and, now, I hope you, too.
One of the outstanding character traits of Earl Nightingale was his curiosity. His fascination with the world around him and his passion for passing along his discoveries was legendary. He has inspired—and still is inspiring—many thousands of people to become better versions of themselves.
Sometimes it’s hard to be excited about our goals and dreams and to have confidence that we’ll achieve them. We all know we must have at least a little bit of belief in our abilities and capabilities and a tiny modicum of enthusiasm for our goals and dreams, but we just can’t seem to muster any of it—not even the tiniest bit. Perhaps it’s because we’re anxious or afraid, or possibly we’re confused and lost, or maybe we’re discouraged. Whatever it is, the result is the same: we aren’t moving forward and there seems to be no hope of forward movement in the near future.
If this is ringing true for you, it’s counter-productive and silly for me to tell you to: Pep up! Get excited! Go team, go! Rah, rah, rah! Instead, I encourage you to emulate Earl Nightingale and look at your situation with curiosity.
Curiosity is neutral. It’s a state of no expectations and it’s an openness to any experience and any outcome.
Approach your situation as if you’re a scientist intent upon observing why a certain thing behaves the way it does. Or, perhaps have the attitude that you’re an explorer whose task is to report all that you’re experiencing to the people back home. Or maybe you can approach your situation as an athlete learning a new technique, observing and noting how it feels and how best to assimilate it into your training routine.
In all of these scenarios you’re keenly aware of what you’re seeing, hearing, and sensing, and making note of it all. Some aspect of what you’re observing may particularly intrigue you. As you delve into it, you’re led to the next step, and the next…. Soon you’ll discover that you’re full of energy and enthusiasm for your goals and dreams.
Your homework today is to have the attitude of curiosity. Look objectively at the pathway to your goals and be curious about it. Ask yourself the questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how. Investigate the answers and then ask the questions again. Keep asking and keep following where the answers lead you. You may find yourself going in a whole new direction, one you’ve never considered before. And it just might be the direction that leads you to the breakthrough that will make all the difference.
Post in the comments section below how curiosity—switching into neutral—has helped you move forward.
You are absolutely AWESOME for forging ahead—because curiosity is a valuable and essential technique to help you move forward!
I’m so proud of you!