At a picnic table in Conway, Arkansas, my grandfather, George W. Cummings, Sr. (PawPaw to me) and I sat having a conversation as we often did. He brought up one of his favorite subjects – reading. Even as a boy, I noticed his bookshelves were lined with books, overflowing with all types of literature.
This wise man was my greatest teacher early in life, and to say I appreciated and deeply valued my time with him is an understatement. He was an inspired and highly principled person who taught through the example he set for his family.
As the conversation turned to reading, he spoke with antidotes and engaging stories, the way he did when he began to share something he wanted me to remember.
His real life examples would stick with you long after the conversation ended. He used vivid word pictures and memorable stories to make his points and share his insights.
“Son, you need to drink from the pages of great books until you are intoxicated by wisdom.” ~ George W. Cummings, Sr.
Over the years, I wrote all of these simple lessons down. What a gift he gave me by taking time to share his wisdom. When he passed away at the age of 94, I knew I could not be selfish and keep all he taught me to myself. I made a commitment to share what I learned with others and consequently published three books through Random House detailing these lessons:
Lessons at the Fence Post – Volumes 1 & 2
Principles of Dynamic Leadership
My Learning Library
His simple statement led me to become a lifelong learner – a true addict to the consumption of all things knowledge-based. This gift has been passed on to my five children who are also knowledge junkies and prolific readers in their own right. Oh what I have learned over the years because of this simple decision.
The Theory of CANI
Are you committed to Constant And Never-ending Improvement? Do you take the time out of your busy day to read and consume new and powerful information? My PawPaw taught me books are one of the greatest investments you can ever make. I can still hear him saying:
Son, books are money well spent, and reading is time well invested.”
Think about it. A man or woman spends his or her entire life learning something specific. These lessons and strategies are then shared through the written word. For less than $40 in most cases, we can access a lifetime of knowledge in a few days, or even a few hours. How can you not view that as a bargain?
Here’s the application: go buy a book today!Carve time out of your busy day to drink the knowledge from those pages. Keep a journal, and write down your thoughts and feelings about what you read.
I hope this story will lead you to adopt this practice. If so, I’m confident it will impact your life as it has mine.
From Lessons at the Fence Post:
“A person unwilling to invest in themselves has no right to expect others to make an investment they are unwilling to make.”
~ George W. Cummings, Sr.
Have a great knowledge-building day, and make a difference today.
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