No. 1004



Inspiration is a wonderful thing, and sometimes I receive mine in the most unusual places. A few weeks ago I left home early one morning to talk with some community leaders in the nearby town of Heber Springs about starting a Bookcase for Every Child project.
After talking with some wonderful people there, I headed on up the road to visit with folks in Mountain View, about 35 miles north. This is really a unique community, with historic Blanchard Springs Caverns, the Ozark Folk Center and trout fishing on the beautiful White River. Sometimes I have friends who travel with me on these trips, especially if it happens to be their hometown, but this day I happened to be all alone.
If you have ever been in this part of the world, you know that this land in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains is just beautiful. As I was driving along, and alone, this thought came out of the blue -- success is really a lonely business. As I thought more about this, I began to realize just how true this is. If you have ever been discouraged and you feel like you are not making much progress in your career or whatever you might feel is worth your time, I have some thoughts that may be helpful.
First, let’s take a look at the word “Inspiration,” because it can literally mean the difference between success and failure. According to the dictionary, the word “inspiration” means “the infusion or arousal within the mind of some idea, feeling or impulse that leads to creative action.” Now, the key words here are “creative action.” It has been my observation over the years that everyone has some good ideas, but very few actually follow through and put them into action.
Our Bookcase for Every Child project is a classic example. We started the project here in my hometown of Conway, Ark., back in 2005. A great group of our local citizens got on board and we have been very successful. We are now in our 11th year and have built and given 550 bookcases and a starter set of books to pre-school children being reared in low-income homes.
A few years ago I saw the need for this project to be taking place in every community in America. It is all volunteer driven, using no tax money or grants of any kind and purely on the concept of “Giving Back.” While I have had a good deal of help, it has basically been up to me if this unique project is to move forward. We now have projects in five states, with more than 1,500 bookcases being built during this time. In the past few months I have personally visited about 12 different communities (mostly towns that are county seats because they have resources many of the others don’t have) to talk with leaders about starting a project in their area. I am pleased to say, we are making progress.
Now, please permit me to bring this concept home to you and your own success and needs. To really become successful, you must do many things (such as thinking, planning and practice) while you are all alone. It does not matter the task -- whether you are studying for a test, starting a business, wanting to be the best in basketball, golf, or some other sport -- this same principle applies to practically everything. We must have something that we love that fires our imagination, because we won’t spend the necessary time if we don’t love it. To be sure, you will become much more successful if you are willing to be lonely, at least for a while.
As Confucius once said, “Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)