Wednesday 24 May 2017

A Graduate's Guide to Life - Frank J. Hanna

A Graduate's Guide to Life:
Three Things They Don't Teach You in College That Could Make All the Difference
Frank J. Hanna

Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266272
eISBN 9781929266883

This is one of those small books that pop up around graduation time each year. I have read numerous books along this line, over the years there have been a few that I have really enjoyed. Such as James Allen’s As You Think, Todd Duncan’s Life by Design, or John Maxwell’s The Journey from Success to Significance or The Choice is Yours. Or the ever popular Dr. Seuss Oh The Places You Will Go. But to be honest all of those books pale in comparison to this book. To be honest this book was so good that when I finished it, I decided to immediately read it again, and thus have read it twice now back to back.

Hanna begins the introduction to this book with a statement, he declares:

“Within the pages of this short book, I’m going to give you a recipe for becoming successful. This recipe only has three ingredients: an understanding of reality, an understanding of competition, and an understanding of wealth. These concepts are not complex, so it won’t take us long. You’ll see.”
And then he goes on to do so. Some of the ideas he presents in this book were very new to me. Some were theories I was aware of but never seen them applied to life as a whole. In under 50 pages Hanna gives some excellent advice for those just starting out on careers after graduation, but it is also great advice for anyone who wishes to live a more fulfilled and meaningful life! The chapters in this book are:

An Understanding of Reality
An Understanding of Competition
The Real Purpose of Human Competition
How Competition Can Destroy Success
Abundance and Value—an Alternative Way
The Real Way to Get Wealthy
The True Nature of Wealth
How Does Wealth Disappear?
The First Essential Ingredient of Wealth is Hope
The Second Essential Ingredient of Wealth is Human Relationships
Why Good Communion Works
Going Forward

Hanna states:

“So first, a question: How many of you and your friends were told as you headed off to college that these would be the best four years of your life? By the way, this is a rhetorical question. In other words, I already know the answer, because I have asked numerous groups of college students this question. The answer is: all of you. All of you were told, by someone, perhaps your parents, that your college years should be the best four years of your life. But you know what? It is horrible advice! Truly terrible. It can send you down the wrong path and have negative consequences in your life. 
In the following chapters, I’ll show you why and give you a better alternative. Let’s start by taking a look at the first ingredient in the wealth recipe: an understanding of reality.”
And I had never really thought about it that way. I know people who still look back at University or even High School as the best years of their life. They are constantly living back in the glory days, and because of that not fully living in the present. Hanna says:
“My favorite definition of education is from Josef Jungmann. He said that “education is the process of introducing a person to reality.” I love that definition, and it is so true. I have been involved with the field of education for many years, and I have helped to start a number of educational institutions, and I know from firsthand experience that this is indeed the goal of education—to introduce a person to reality.”
Then he goes on to focus on how important reality is:
People love to fool themselves, to provide an answer that is more palatable, even if it is wrong. It is so prevalent that, in order to guard against it, we developed a concept in our business called “reality-based management.” In other words, manage based on the way things actually are, rather than how you wish they were. We even created a slogan for our business: “Measured by reality.”
Think about how often have we in our own life lived based on the way we wished things were, rather than they really are. Now How many times did that lead to disappointment? Do you have the strength, to see things as they really are and live from that place? Moving on to competition he has some startling examples from both sports and business but this statement really stuck with me:
Regardless of your religious or ethical beliefs, most scientists concur that over the past ten thousand years human beings have built increasingly sophisticated and prosperous civilizations via cooperation, not competition.
How much more could we achieve is cooperation was our primary focus not competition. If our goal was working together to get things done and done well; instead of competing in order to get ahead? Hanna challenges us in our thinking he says:
Good competition, with love, can raise us to heroic heights. We find ourselves pushing with more energy and force than we might have thought possible. But we should also hope that our competitors can do the same thing—push themselves past where they thought possible, into the realm of the heroic. It is only human competition when both of these elements exist; otherwise, it is the activity of mere animals.
Hanna’s final focus is on wealth. But he is interested in real wealth not just accumulating possessions. He first defines wealth, drawing from more traditional meanings:
The word wealth itself comes from the Middle English word weal, meaning “well-being.” Simply put, our wealth is a function of our well-being. Unfortunately, well-being is hard to quantify, so we use a very very inaccurate shortcut. We instead define wealth as material goods.
His examples especially from the economic collapse of 2008-2009 so what most consider wealth at a personal, corporate even national level is based on future expectation and evaluation and that it is very fragile.  He says “Wealth can be created out of thin air when hope increases, and it can vanish into thin air when hope is diminished.”. Finally he goes on to tie the three themes, wealth, reality and competition to help shape a new focus that will take graduates, (an any of us open to change) to greater fulfillment and finding a purpose with real meaning. Hanna concludes the book with saying “This book is an exercise in hope—my hope for your future wealth. I hope it has also brought value to your life.” And I believe this book will help open eyes so that it will come true.

This is a wonderful little read. Yes it is a great gift for graduates, but it would also be great for us all. I have already read this book twice and will likely read it again once a year over the next few years, it was an instant favorite and I encourage you to give it a read and see if your life is changed!

Books by Frank J. Hanna:
A Graduate's Guide to Life
What Your Money Means

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