I was born and raised in an abusive family. Apart from the physical, mental and emotional abuse I was made to undergo, the only other thing that did stand out was how I was introduced to other people.
Some of the adjectives I was given courtesy my Step-Father and Mother was:
- Trouble Maker
- “If he focused in his studies, then maybe….”
- He is a good boy BUT…..
In my life — receiving a compliment was as common as spotting a UFO flying through the sky. It was non-existent.
One day, during my 15th year, when I was being introduced in the same manner, to my Step-Father’s relatives who had come home — This one gentleman looked at me and smiled. And then he said, “I have a book I want you to read.”
Curiously, I asked him, “What is that book about?”, to which he just told me, “I want you to read it. Just read it.”
Didn’t think much about it.
And as he was leaving — he took me with down our apartment building, and then handed me this book saying, “I want you to read this book carefully. Alright?”
And then he added stating…. “It has a secret. A secret that will change your life forever, if you read it carefully.”
And then he handed that book to me.
For a 15 year old boy of my age — to be given a book that had “A secret that could change my life” meant a lot. I was absolutely curious to know WHAT THAT SECRET WAS!!!
The 15 year old me was absolutely excited. I grabbed the book at took it home. My parents were amused. After all — a school boy who didn’t have the patience to read any book, who would fail in each and every subject and who didn’t have the patience to read even books with pictures (I didn’t know it at the time but I was diagnosed having extreme ADHD when I was in my late 30’s) — would that boy even manage to read 1 page of this book.
So they let me keep this book.
Immediately I started to read the book and before I knew it — in a month’s time — I finished reading the book. To my disappointment — I didn’t find any ‘Secret’.
Confused and Curious that maybe I missed it in between — I decided to re-read this book all over again. This time slowly — really slow — underlining each and every important line I felt stood out. I just wanted to be sure this time round — I didn’t miss “The Secret”.
I took my pen and carefully underlined whatever I assumed was “The Secret”.
After a few weeks — I completed reading the entire book. It was difficult for me — especially given:
- I had never read a book until now without pictures
- I had never completed reading any book until then in my life
- I had never read any book slowly
- I had no experience or insight what to search for
- Most importantly — I didn’t know the meaning of works like ‘manned’ ‘cognizance’, ‘bequest’, ‘facetious’ — and whomsoever I asked — also didn’t know the meaning to these big sounding words!!!
But I kept on trying to read and trying to make sense of the book.
Finally, after reading it for the 2nd time — it I found the secret. In fact, I found many secrets throughout the book — and I underlined them all.
In hindsight as I look at this book, and the many other books I purchased after this one (Saving canteen money I was given to have food), I realize how the words in this book impacted a young man like me — that too in an age where there was no Internet, no Social Media — and in my house — no access to TV, no Radio and No Telephone.
For a young man like me who lived in a dark ages of ignorance but one who had a spirit to discover, to learn, to grow and who believed he was something special — not a mistake, not a trouble-maker and not someone useless — this book was a game changer.
And years later — when I went through the deepest and darkest failures of my life, the words in this book helped me move on.
Its strange what an act of kindness can do to a person’s life — even if it is something as trivial as a book — that too — to a young man whom everyone dismissed as useless, a mistake and a trouble maker. To me — it gave me hope.
And that is where, if you ever feel down, or ever have doubts — let these ‘secrets’ be your ray of hope and your saving grace….And I quote from Napoleon Hill’s book. These are the same sentences I read, re-read and read again in my moments of darkness, doubt and despair…..
- “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
- “Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache, carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit.”
- “Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.”
- “The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.”
- “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”
- “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
- “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”
And these words today — I gift them to you.