The years between the initial story that was created for a presentation for J. Paul Getty’s Educational seminar and the final version were filled with turmoil, challenge and personal rebirth. This rediscovery of what I was capable of came to be through the exploration of a number of personal growth books, lectures and meditation. A great amount of this rediscovery was centered on the insights of Napoleon Hill. I was enlightened by his knowledge shown in the “Twelve Great Riches of Life,” or The Magic Ladder to Success. I was a little frustrated that I hadn’t come across this knowledge earlier in my life. That thought turned into the question, “Why did it take so long to discover this knowledge and how can I change that for others?”
Until recently, I was an art teacher at Santa Monica High School. During short art history lectures, many times I would weave in a life principle concept or some other insight from Hill. The feedback was terrific. The value of these insights was enormous. When the story was rewritten, I decided to add the character of the Old Dragon Sage, who would introduce these personal growth concepts into the story and therefore introduce the reader to these valuable insights.
How successful individuals deal with adversity is a major part of this story. If we let external situations create bad feelings about ourselves, we become victims; instead we can use negative situations as a reference point to stand back and look at our lives and ask the question, “Who do I want to be?” “What must I do to I achieve it?”
As we grow up, we form an operating system that will keep us safe during our formative years. If we had a safe, loving environment, this system would be normal and give us the results in life that we want. when we face challenging situations we must overcome, we sometimes make decisions that don’t always work to our advantage. The problem stems from the fact that this operating system works subconsciously, kind of like being on automatic pilot. We can engage in behaviors that don’t serve us well. Such behaviors can be discarded but it’s not always an easy task. By watching ourselves with awareness and facing the frustrations of life with courage, resolve and dignity, we can turn into the person that we want to become.
Please know that I don’t sit in some remote ivory tower untouched by human difficulties. The observation about facing life’s difficulties was inspired during a religious ceremony that I attended at the end of the writing part of this project. I was reading a passage in a Bible that talked about trials from above and how to face them. I believe that God allows us to encounter difficulties with our own free will and how we respond to them defines our character. I included this insight (how to face life’s challenges with courage, resolve and dignity) in the conclusion of the story. Strangely as soon as I did so, I found myself entangled in difficult situations that tried my own resolve and patience.
I hope the challenging days are on the wane and i am looking forward to getting this story published. The key illustrations are completed and will be displayed in later posts.