Two years olds are fascinating.Many years ago when my oldest son was about two, I watched with a mixture of horror and keen interest as he jumped from our split entry landing onto our basement couch, bounced onto my mini-tramp and then flew across the room and hit the wall.
Undeterred, he adjusted the tramp and tried the whole process over again until he was able to cling to our TV hutch, gain a firm hold and then shimmy up the rest of the way to the top shelf where I had previously kept a jar of butter mints that he didn’t much care for. He said they tasted like toothpaste.
Finding them gone, however, he dejectedly slid down the hutch only to find out that he was eye level with my stash of Hershey’s miniature candy bars I’d set between the side of the hutch and the TV. He’d been so focused on getting the butter mints, he completely missed something that he liked much better and that had been easily within his reach the whole time.
I thought about that experience this week as I read Barry K. Phillips book Caught in the Headlights – 10 Lessons Learned the Hard Way. Too bad this book hadn’t been around then. My son could’ve used a lesson or two from it.
Although billed as a self-help book, I would more classify it as a self-evaluation book because it really makes one sit down and take stock of where they are and where they should be going.
He hits tough subjects like the pursuit of everlasting happiness, self-esteem versus self–worth, humility instead of pride, giving up control in order to embrace faith, freedom knowing you obey the rules, tolerance while having opinions, forgiveness for your own sake and peace of mind, obtaining true success, enjoying the day to day journey and the myth of physical ‘perfection’.
He uses humor, cartons, poetry, anecdotes and his own experiences to help his readers understand that the brass ring they’ve previously been chasing is not what brings true happiness.Many of us have been Caught in the Headlights for way too long, and it’s time for a course correction. He then gives the road-map to navigate the ten things we all think we want out of life only to find out that there is something that makes us happier – the butter mint versus chocolate theory.
Being the journalist that I am, I was so intrigued with Phillips insight and thoughtful wisdom, that I could not resist the urge to find out more and ask a few more questions. Here are his responses;
1 - How did you narrow your scope of experience to only 10? Were there other lessons you wanted to write about but chose not to? Why or are we talking sequel?
Well, these 10 were the most common. We all seem to do well the top 10 lists, so it seemed like a good number. There are others, but I thought I'd see how well this book does before I worry about a sequel.
2 - Of all the lessons you wrote about, which one for you was personally the hardest to learn and why?
The lesson about Control took some time, but the one about the Big Event was the hardest. I suppose that's because of my entrepreneurial nature. Big dreams can easily cloud day to day pleasures.
3 - Why the title Caught in the Headlights? Was this the original working title? If not, what was and why was it changed?
The original title of "the book" wasn't real catchy. "Caught in the Headlights" was actually the working title, but I had written a fair amount of the book before I finally came up with it.
4 - You use an almost conversational tone throughout the book - like friend talking to another friend. Is this how you always write or was that just the style of this book? What would you say is your normal style of writing and your normal genre?
I've written everything from marketing hype to training courses to contracts. The conversational style I used for this is probably my favorite style. It's more true to my personality than any other style, but I'm comfortable in writing in nearly any style. By far, my favorite type of writing is humor based, no matter the style.
5 - You do not shy away from your religious beliefs. Is this because those convictions are such an integral part of the lessons you've learned. For someone who does not have the same religious beliefs, how can this book help them?
I don't think you need to share my beliefs to gain perspective from the book. But you do need to come to terms with what your core beliefs are. Too many people try to replace religious belief with other things. It just never works. Faith is key to being fulfilled in your life.
6 - Who are the three people you'd most like to meet here on earth? In heaven?
On earth, I'll pick one from three categories: Religious: Henry B. Eyring a top leader in my Faith. In business, Chip Foose (leading car designer) and in sports, Tiger Woods. No longer on the earth (in different categories), Joseph Smith, George Washington and Leonardo DaVinci.
7 - If there was one trait about yourself that you could market knowing people would buy and that it would help the world, what would it be and why? (And don't tell me your wife - we already would love to have that saint in our lives...;-))
Wow! I've never even thought of this concept before. Probably perspective on priorities. I've struggled with that a lot, but I finally think I'm starting to get it. Relationships are top on that list, my relationship with God, my family, and with many others. If everyone cared more about that, most things would take care of themselves.
Although this book is only 104 pages, it contains a lifetime of wisdom and lessons learned that we all should take to heart.
I would highly recommend it to anyone who is proverbially flinging themselves against a wall for butter mints that taste like toothpaste instead of going after eye-level Hershey’s chocolate! You’ll save yourself scads of pain, a less than sweet taste in your mouth and the mortification of having your mother tell embarrassing stories about you on her blog years later…..
If you’d like your own copy, you can order the book here.