When I first started reading this book I thought oh this is going to be a boring one. You know the story about the rich kid, successful in the business world who finds himself helping people in need in a third world country. I do not mean to sound negative, but there are quite a few of those stories turned into books. However, this one is different. If you want to rethink your life, even in the tiniest of ways in order to help others, be sure to pick up “The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change” by Adam Braun. After you realize it is more than the rich kid meets third world and you let yourself get pulled into his story you will realize that this is a meaningful book.
Braun’s non-profit idea started from a conversation with a child where he asked: “What do you most want?” The child’s response was: “A pencil.” He wanted a pencil so he could go to school and learn. It was a reminder of how privileged we are each and every day. Most of these children whether in Africa, Asia, or Latin America do not have a school let alone a classroom to go to each day. Throughout Braun’s book he shares what he learned along the way of building his organization and juxtapositions his experience with little things anyone could do in their daily life to make change. Listen more. Strive for exceptional things. When you are tested, continue to move forward. Connect with others. Believe. Rejuvenate in order to be completely present with others. The list goes on. “Pencils of Promise” has built over 150 schools and the entire idea was started with $25. This is the one of the final quotes of his book, I thought it was a great ending:
“Start by changing the subjects of your daily conversation form the life you are living to the life you aspire to create. By speaking the language of the person you seek to become, you will soon find yourself immersed in the conversations that make you most come alive. You’ll sense the energy you emit attracting similar energy from others. Your conversations will lead to opportunities, which will become actions, which will become footprints for good.” Page 250
This book made me think about what I am doing in my life right now. How am I helping? How am I listening to those around me? How am I connecting? Regardless of whether I have started a non-profit, or building schools in other countries, how have I become alive? Am I living my true energy? How will being true to myself lead me to the next phase in my life? So many questions and so many opportunities.
Read this book. It may just inspire you.