Curing Bad Professional Habits for Personal Growth
I’ve written 19 books so far. I have 4 more in the works in various stages of completion. My books in English and several other languages have sold way over a million copies. I must be pretty good, huh?
Yes, but… I want to be better.
I sent one manuscript in progress to my friend book author Whitney Stewart, whom I have known since we met at a Dalai Lama event 20 years ago. I respect her, we seem to have a lot of spiritual connections, and I know she is interested in what I am writing, so I asked her to look at the manuscript with her fresh eyes and give me her take on what I could improve to be more readable.
I thought she would comment on my subject and how I told my story, but she did not. Her observation? I used way too many quotation marks for words that were not in fact quotations. I had put those quote marks around certain words to imply irony or unusual use of the words, but she felt such use was either confusing or unnecessary.
Hmmm. OK. I took those quotation marks out and re-read the passages.
Wow. Whitney was right. Despite all my reasons for having done what I did in using those quotation marks, the blunt truth is that my work reads way better without them.
How about your writing style? Any room for growth and improvement in the way you use words? Maybe you misuse apostrophe s to make singular words plural, as in the embarrassing, “Learn throw’s and kick’s”. Maybe you use capital Letters at inappropriate Places. Maybe you overuse the same phrase repeatedly – Does this make sense? Know what I’m saying? Maybe you use popular but awkward clichés at this point in time (as opposed to just now). Ugh. Pay attention. Learn and grow. Impress more people, including yourself.
I know I have other habits that could be improved when it comes to my writing. Sentences in the Black Belt Books Ninja series Volumes 1-5 are more often than not way too long. I wish I had put in three times as many periods. That would have made the books more encouraging to non-scholar readers.
I wish I had done better, but I did what I did, and I am ready to be more skillful next time. I can look at my areas of needed improvement without shame, anger, defensiveness, or denial. That is actually the point here. How open are you to getting valuable needed advice as to how to do an even better job when it comes to something really important in your life that you are proud of?
If your goal is to communicate effectively, or be a masterful teacher, or be a good parent, or live a healthful life, and someone you respect points out a way to do that even more effectively, do you thank them and rush to make the changes, or do you resist and balk at the affront of their hurting your little feelings? Growth must involve change. How can you grow and yet stay the same?
Are you ready to learn and advance? Really?