Wrote books that sold more than 75 million copies.

From The Pen of a Writer

By Shaktida at Ekko

No one can tell your story
So tell it yourself
No one can write your story
So write it yourself

The universe is made up of stories, stories of how plants grew from the seeds, stories of how the flowers bloomed in the morning dew, stories of how the apple fell from the tree, stories of how the titanic sank, stories of how the babies are born, stories of the sun, the moon, the stars…the list can go on and on. Every story, no matter how momentous or how peripheral, how eventful or how regular, has an underlying lesson. Some of the most simplistic stories that we get to hear in life, inspire. One such story is of a simple man who lived a full regular life but in those 90 years that he had in his hands, he made sure he left behind a mark. He was James Albert Michener. Today is his anniversary.

Here are some valuable lessons that we can pick up from his life.

  1. A rough start doesn’t mean that you can’t finish strong.

Some of the greatest and most accomplished people in the world had a rough start. Your past is not the reflection of your future and you can use your present to make sure that it never comes to be that way.

James Albert Michener was born in Pennsylvania, U.S. on February 3 1907. When he grew up he didn’t have the slightest of idea about his biological parents. He was adopted by a woman named Mabel Michener who then rose up this future writer.

2. Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world.

The right education can turn you into a powerhouse of knowledge. Once you reach that point, the pathways of success automatically get paved on the path you choose to take.

Michener was a zealous student who stopped at nothing. He graduated from Doylestown High School in 1925. He pursued a degree in Bachelor of Arts in English and History at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania post that. He graduated summa cum laude and that was not the end. He went to Scotland and studied for two years in the University of St. Andrews. He then took up a job as an English teacher while also pursuing a Masters degree in Arts in the field of Education from University of North Colorado, Colorado. He taught at the same university after he graduated from there. The library of the university is now named after him.

3. The right blend of books and co curricular go into the making of a marvel.

People often mistake that the key to success is books, books and more books. But that is as catastrophic as witnessing the sun rising from the west. Books are good but co curricular, even if it’s nerdy, groom the personality of a person and add that “extra” to the “ordinary”.

Michener apart from all the degrees was also a man who participated in various co curricular activities. He was an active member of the basketball team back in college. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, a fraternity that had about 185 active chapters and colonies in more than 43 states of the U.S. along with some provinces in Canada. Now irrespective of how nerdy his latter membership was, it was something he did outside of his class and his course books, so that counts!

4. Travelling opens you up to a whole new world of possibilities. It is how people rediscover themselves.

There is a famous quote that goes, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Travelling to different places opens your mind to realms you never knew existed. It gives you a rejuvenated outlook and fills you up with revitalized spirit and strength to go on with your life.

Travel played a major role in Michener’s life. He was called on active duty during the World War II. During his duty he got the opportunity to travel. His experience during that time is the inspiration behind his first book, Tales of the South Pacific. This book also went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. The travel unraveled the writer in him, and a brilliant one at that.

5. Mistakes are a part of life and the good thing is you get to learn from them.

Michener ran for the elections as a Democratic candidate to obtain a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. But that didn’t work out well for him and he went back to writing books.

7. Sky is the limit.

Michener was one of the most celebrated and accomplished writer of his time. He wrote books that sold more than 75 million copies all over the world. He never restricted himself when it came to the genre. His book Hawaii (1959) was written and based on a large scale research. Centennial, another book by him was a collection of stories of several generations of families in the West.

Michener died on 16th October, 1997 and the 90 years of his life only suggest that life is as boring and as interesting as you make it out to be. Don’t wait for the right time because time will pass anyway. The right time is now. Discover yourself; discover what you like, what your passion is. It doesn’t matter if you make a few mistakes in the way. They will go into making your story even more idiosyncratic.

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