This is my review of Adam Braun’s book The Promise of a Pencil, the captivating story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 320 schools around the world as of December 2015 and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a purpose-driven life. Below are some of the chapters, key points and quotes that I found very inspirational and in a way, motivated me to do more.
BIG DREAMS START WITH SMALL, UNREASONABLE ACTS
The biggest of dreams often start with small, unreasonable acts.
The difference between a lunatic and a leader is that only one of them has others who join in his or her pursuit.
Early adopters and evangelists are actually the ones who make a company’s success possible.
PRACTICE HUMILITY OVER HUBRIS
It’s in the moments when you feel most confident that you are most likely to fall flat on your face.
We learn far more from our mistakes than we do from our successes, and although it nearly cost me my job and my best opportunity to start PoP, he was right to demand nothing short of excellence. I would never make the same mistakes again.
SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME
Sometimes you know something in your head, and other times you know it in your heart. The mind delivers logic and reason, but the heart is where faith resides. In moments of uncertainty, when you must choose between two paths, allowing yourself to be overcome by either the fear of failure or the dimly lit light of possibility, immerse yourself in the life you would be most proud to live.
The more we speak in the voice of our most aspirational self, the closer we pull our future into our present.
HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN CELEBRATING OTHERS
FIND THE IMPOSSIBLE ONES
FOCUS ON ONE PERSON IN EVERY ROOM
READ THE SIGNS ALONG THE PATH
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, has said that an entrepreneur is someone who will “jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” I wasn’t ready to jump yet, but it was time to start looking for airplane parts.
NEVER TAKE NO FROM SOMEONE WHO CAN’T SAY YES
STAY GUIDED BY YOUR VALUES, NOT YOUR NECESSITIES
But nothing is more potent or deceptive than the competing interests of another great opportunity. In those moments when priorities clash, always stay guided by your values, not your perceived necessities. Necessities exist in a state of mind that will not last, whereas values are transcendent and enduring.
YOU CANNOT FAKE AUTHENTICITY
THERE IS ONLY ONE CHANCE AT A FIRST IMPRESSION
The single most wasted resource on earth is human intention. How many times have you wanted to do something but not acted right away and forgotten about it later?
You can only prepare for making the best possible first impression on those new people you’ll meet in the future.
FESS UP TO YOUR FAILURES
“The most powerful thing in the world is an idea whose time has come.”
I personally learned that failure is a necessary step toward achievement. – Adam Braun
LEARN TO CLOSE THE LOOP
Make the little decisions with your head and the big ones with your heart. Do that, and you’ll be just fine.” – Kevin Roberts,
CHANGE YOUR WORDS TO CHANGE YOUR WORTH
I wanted to spend my time maximizing purpose rather than profit – Adam Braun
By changing the words you use to describe something, you can change how others perceive it.
A GOAL REALIZED IS A GOAL DEFINED
“You have to find a mantra and live it fully. – Adam Braun
‘You may be safe, but I am free.’ – unknown
“Hope is not enough. You have to believe, and then it will be so.” – Justice from Ghana
Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Live not in dreams, but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future.”
“We don’t just want you to support us, we want you to join us.” – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
Sometimes you just know. With absolute conviction. The complete absence of doubt is so rare it generates a sense of excitement that’s so powerful it becomes shocking. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
I believe in keeping your friends close and your family even closer. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THOSE WHO MAKE YOU BETTER
Bliss does not come from materials or possessions, it comes from fulfilling one’s purpose in this existence.” – Ray Chambers,
African proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
VULNERABILITY IS VITAL
The tasks I ignored were the ones I feared.. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
We all know which tasks are the most important in any given day, yet we still choose to do them last. Choose to do those things first. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
LISTEN TO YOUR ECHOES
If an idea grows, it expands far beyond the confines of any one person’s control. By limiting it to a single story told by a single voice, we strip it of its true potential. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
Mantra 29 IF YOUR DREAMS DON’T SCARE YOU, THEY’RE NOT BIG ENOUGH
I looked around and acknowledged that what you see around you is proof of what exists within you.- Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Make your life a story worth telling
I never thought, I hope this works out. I knew it would. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
Purpose is found when you stop thinking about how you exist in the world and start trying to figure out why you are here. Once you solve that question, everything else will fall into place. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
For anyone going through a restless period in life, looking to make a change but not sure how, start with an ambitious but attainable goal. I set out to build just one school. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
The key is to think big and then take small, incremental steps forward day by day. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
Start by changing the subjects of your daily conversation from the life you are living to the life you aspire to create. – Adam Braun of Pencils of promise
But you can’t keep saying, “I’ll get started tomorrow.” The world has far too many problems, and you are way too smart and capable not to help tackle them. Your time is now. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise
Regardless of age or status, if you’re not satisfied with the path you’re on, it’s time to rewrite your future. Your life should be a story you are excited to tell. – Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise