Friday, May 22, 2015

Partial Book Review of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, and Swabbing the Deck

How do you run your life? Do you push yourself, pull yourself or follow yourself?

I ran across a snappy little book yesterday during my whirlwind trip to the library that was written by a high school drop-out. He also happens to be the son of the author of the famous book Jonathon Livingston Seagull. I have not yet read it, but back in my high school and college days it was being read and discussed nearly everywhere. (note to self: Read Jonathon Livingston Seagull)

After dropping out of high school and becoming an emancipated minor, the author of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar went on to teach himself computer programming and work for Apple. Timing surely had a part in his success due to the fact that in the 80's the industry was in dire need of young kids who intuitively could understand and perform programming, but this young man made a name for himself by literally taking charge of his own education.

There are many lessons to learn from his example, the first and foremost not being 'you should drop out of school immediately'. The fan site for Jonathon Livingston Seagull quotes on its cover page, "This is a story for those who follow their hearts.", and "This is a story for those who yearn to fly their own way."  Clearly, yet ironically in spite of his early emancipation, this boy managed to glean from the spirit of his father's famous work. The nugget from the book, written in a humorous pirate-buccaneering theme, that resonates for me is the admonition to "follow your energy". By this he meant that rather than force yourself into things, you should pay attention to what you're most interested in doing and let this be your guide.

As a fairly confirmed right brainer, I'd been doing this for years, but with much guilt. I've been following myself rather than pushing myself but feeling as if I really should be pushing a lot more. Sample inner conversation: 'I should make a schedule for when I mop the kitchen floor. No I'll do it when I'm ready, when I want to.' Strangely, the 'deck gets swabbed' with some regularity, even if I don't plan it. When the time is right, it happens. Midway through my 50's, I doubt I'll change this modus operandi  much. But now I've been given permission.

I haven't finished the book yet. But so far it's already delivered the finest gift a book can give, confirmation of something I already knew but couldn't put into words.

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