Augustine “Og” Mandino was born in 1923, was once the editor of his high school newspaper and planned to attend the University of Missouri’s journalism school. Unfortunately, before he was able to enrol and enter college, his mother died of a heart attack. As a result of this loss and ensuing circumstances, he decided to work in a paper factory until 1942. He then joined the United States Army Air Corps where he became a military officer and flew bombing missions over Germany during the World War ll. After the war, he became an insurance salesman, but wasn’t all that successful. He became more and more depressed, relied heavily on alcohol to ease his pain and at his lowest point, almost tried to commit suicide in Cleveland. Wisely, he turned to books rather than a loaded gun to solve his pathetic state – as he sorted through several books in a library, volumes of self-help, success and motivational books captured Mandino’s interest. He selected some titles, went to a table and started reading. Og followed his visit to the library with more visits to many other libraries around the United States of America. He read hundreds of books that dealt with success, a discipline that assisted him alleviate his alcoholism. It was W Clement Stone’s classic, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, that changed Mandino for the better. Mandino eventually became a successful writer and speaker. His 21 books have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into twenty-five different languages. He was finally inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.
Dr Steve Price, in his book, Dream Making in a Dream-Taking World, notes: “Og Mandino’s life is a lesson in the power of personal growth – Mandino had hit rock bottom, but instead of giving in to despair, he sought out the knowledge and wisdom that would empower him to reinvent his life”. There are a couple of helpful learning points for one’s own growth that should be mentioned in relation to Mandino’s philosophy:
- You are unique and have something special to contribute – his main philosophical message was that every person is a miracle and should choose to direct their respective lives with confidence and congruent to the laws that govern abundance. Strength and opportunity lie in uniqueness.
- You need to persist resolutely until you succeed – Mandino noted: “I will not fail as the others, for in my hands I now hold the charts which will guide me through perilous waters to shores which only yesterday seemed but a dream”. Don’t give up!
- You should attempt to master your emotions – emotional intelligence is required to make significant progress in relationships, both personally and professionally. With emotional intelligence comes good understand of one’s strengths and weaknesses, motives and inner desires. We are all emotional beings – the possibilities are endless if we can learn to use our emotions effectively towards “selling” ourselves, our uniqueness and our giftedness.
- You should act now – Mandino’s words “I will act now” characterise much of his writings – it is written 18 times in one of his editions. Proactivity leads to getting done that which is worthwhile, that which can lead your life forward. Procrastination is the enemy here. Take responsibility of that which is truly important.
- Laugh a lot – at the world, at circumstances, at yourself. Humour gives one perspective, a characteristic sorely needed in our rather chaotic world.
- Multiply your value – offer your best and teach others how to do the same. Be generous with yourself, your time and your giftedness.
- Pray for guidance – guidance can come in many forms – seek it: spiritually, through available networks, through friends or even in the library as Og Mandino did. No-one can operate as an island – wisdom from God and others is priceless.
Albert Einstein said: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”. Perhaps these words of wisdom could be your focus regarding intentionally growing your life? As value is realised, doors start opening up for one, new opportunities are created and new possibilities become a reality.