Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Counts, Right?

I decided that I needed a confidence booster to keep me on track with my War and Peace. It's hard reading forever and still feeling like you have so much left. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't accomplishing anything.

I needed to finish a book. Any book. I needed a short break from War and Peace that would refresh my initiative and drive to finish about 1000 more pages. Sigh. So, I went to the book shelf and scanned the available selection.

When I was about 8 years old, I got a box set of classic children's books for Christmas. I actually remember opening the set of books because I'd purposely saved it as the last gift I would open. It was a really heavy present so I was excited to open it. To be honest I was a bit disappointed when I tore off the wrapping paper and stared down at a set of about 12 classic novels. Books. I set them aside with all my other gifts and feigned excitement anyway.

I don't know if I read any of those books as a kid. To me the writing looked really small, like it would take me forever to finish just one. I was a bit overwhelmed, so I just didn't read any of them. I kept them on my bookshelf to look at and feel guilty about for years and years. I still have all those books today. I hate to admit that I still haven't read all of them. In fact, I think I've only read one. White Fang. But I have a goal to read every single one of those books. There really are some good classics in there.... Call of the Wild, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, etc.

So as I was standing there looking at my bookshelf for an easy read, I saw the book "The Little Lame Prince" by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik. It was one of the books that came from the box set. I picked up the book and scanned the pages. It was short... 100 pages. The words looked big (well, compared to War and Peace). Bingo. We have a winner.
I read The Little Lame Prince in about 2 reading sessions. I was actually quite entertained by it! I really liked it! It had a good moral and was easy and enjoyable to read. And best of all, I finished it! It's easy to accomplish your goals when the bar is set really low. That's my secret.

I guess in conclusion I will just say two things: The Little Lame Prince was a good book. I recommend it. And... if you're getting discouraged accomplishing a big goal, accomplish a really easy little one for a quick boost.


heidi said...

OH MY GOSH. Paul and I totally share the SAME BRAIN. I was cracking up about this post, and he was downstairs working out and heard me, and he was SO curious what I was cracking up about. So, I explained your Secret: If you're getting discouraged, the key to success is SETTING THE BAR REALLY LOW.
Then I cracked up some more. And then, before I could write a word of commentary, Paul came up with the same helpful comment that was running through my brain. The Secret to OUR success, which we stole from our friend named after that great Greek orator:

Trying is the first step towards failure.

We've found this to be astonishingly accurate.

:D XO hj

heidi said...

p.s. Word ver. word of the day (and my candidate for new favorite swear... kidding, but it WOULD make a good one:) horbisha.

Rachel said...

I admire your fortitude. I think by now I would have flung "War and Peace" across the room in irratated frustration and quit reading it forever. (I did something similar with Henry James' "The Ambarassadors" several years ago.)