Fast Company put up a slideshow titled "9 Easy-to-Steal Habits of the Super Successful." They are pretty good ideas that apply to Book of Mormon studies, too. Here's my take on a few of them:
LEARN HOW TO TELL STORIES
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Big companies know storytelling is the secret weapon to "branding." Why? Because people don't fall in love with data dumps and PowerPoint slides—they are moved by emotions.
And for those looking to be in charge, the best—and most memorable—way to make an impact and stick in people's minds is to ditch the small talk, and learn how to unspool meaningful narratives.
Want to get started? Here's how, straight from a master of improv.
This one summarizes the Book of Mormon (and the scriptures generally). We could have scriptures that consist of the Ten Commandments and a few regulations; instead we have scriptures that consist of stories from many civilizations throughout the world over thousands of years.
LEAD, DON'T DICTATE
There's a big difference between being a leader and being a boss.
If you're interested in Book of Mormon studies, take some initiative. Do some research and thinking and then contribute something to the conversation.
DON'T BE AFRAID—OR EMBARRASSED—OF YOUR FAILURES
Sir James Dyson, creator of the famous Dyson vacuum (who recently came by and vacuumed the Fast Company offices), is no stranger to failure. In fact, he embraces it.
I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That's how I came up with a solution. So I don't mind failure. I've always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they've had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.
Dyson's point: If you want to discover something new, you're bound to fail a few times (or in his case, 5,126 times), and that's okay. It's also okay to quit something your heart isn't into, in order to get somewhere better.
By now, most people realize the Mesoamerican theory of Book of Mormon geography was a mistake, but that's okay--so long as we learn from it. Mesoamerican advocates generally have been well-intentioned and sincere. Now it's a question of how they will respond to the new paradigm. Those of us who have already shifted paradigms think it's great that we have decades of research focused on Mesoamerica because 1) Mesoamerica is an interesting place even though it has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon narrative and 2) all that research has convincingly proven that the Book of Mormon could not have happened in Mesoamerica. Now let's take those lessons and move on.
ASK QUESTIONS, A LOT OF THEM
It turns out Albert Einstein would have made a great entrepreneur:
To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.
What is your purpose on this earth?
What should you stop doing?
What is your petri dish?
You've got all the answers, right?
The Mesoamerican theory, like many "consensus" theories, has thrived for decades because people didn't insist on answers to basic questions (and, when people did, the Mesoamerican proponents ignored them). For example, the Sorenson model insists "north" in the Book of Mormon text is not "north" as defined by the English language. Nor are "horses" horses, etc.
BE HONEST—WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Remember what we said about asking questions? Here's a hard one:
Delusion is a double-edged sword. When it comes to productivity, tricking yourself can be your best move, but if your career is hurting other (more important) aspects of your life it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities.
Truth be told, I think the difference between passion and delusion isn’t even very distinguishable. I suspect many an entrepreneur has fallen too far down the rabbit hole without even realizing it. It happened to me. Maxed-out credit cards, empty cupboards, and a frustrated spouse helped me wake up to the delusion I created in myself. I was laser-focused on the belief I had to succeed no matter what, which led me to lose sight of reality. My story fortunately has a happy ending. But if I hadn’t faced that reality head-on (and it did indeed feel like a crash), I wouldn’t have been able to honestly evaluate my business and redirect toward a healthier course.
Do I need to point out how this applies to the remaining advocates of the Mesoamerican theory?
TAKE NOTES AND STAY ORGANIZED
If you're trying to delve deeper than surface level engagement, try taking notes.
It might sound silly, but put some genuine effort into it—note-taking is an important key to keeping your mind organized, and understanding better what it is you're after.
This is great advice for anyone reading the Book of Mormon. Take notes, ask questions, and see for yourself which proposed geography makes the most sense.
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