What Is It?
This short but profound statement, “the secret”, has caused, for me, through the years, different emotions ranging from anger to frustration to joy.
To understand the meaning and my interpretation of “secret,” I went to the dictionary and because there are similarities between dictionaries, I chose only one, my definition comes from the Cambridge Dictionary.
SECRET—“a piece of information that is only known by one” and “a fact about a subject that is not known.”
To help a person better understand the second definition, an example was given, “the secret of the universe.”
I have a tendency to take words at face value and not really stop to consider the meaning and its impact on the statement or the understanding that surrounds a word.
I could not take this definition at face value, because it created more questions than answers, I wanted someone to tell me what the secret was. That wasn’t going to happen.
What I am about to write was not known to me at the time.
I cannot say I was the most confident of individuals growing up, matter of fact I was quite the opposite. I lacked confidence and didn’t feel secure in myself.
I found an avenue to cover up this lack of confidence and insecurity. Without knowing or realizing it, at a relatively early age I had learned that acceptance by others was easy, through what I did. This put me on a trajectory that if I did not stop and think, which I didn’t, or if I was not honest with myself, which I wasn’t, I could pass muster with the greatest of ease.
My father had a general store, at an early age I was allowed to work in the store, when I was nine I was working Saturday’s serving adults who came to the store. My father allowed me to learn how to drive. When I was thirteen I was taking the car, and making store deliveries.
That year my father and mother took a two-week vacation and I had the responsibility of managing the store. None of the other boys I grew up with, were able to do those things, in most cases none of them had a car in their family.
My confidence blossomed.
Unknown to myself at the time, my confidence was not in who I was, but in what I did. By my peers and by adults I was considered gifted and smart. As a young person it is easy to feel that way, when others say positive things to and about you. For a while that sufficed. I had loads of confidence. I finished High School at sixteen and went to business college.
I returned home and began working in my father’s store, this no longer had the same enamor it had when I was thirteen or fourteen. I wanted something more.
A radio station opened in our area, while I was away at college. I decided to look for a job there and continue working in my father’s store. The word was out, the station was not hiring locals, the enunciation of words could be a problem. I got the job as a radio announcer, my handle was “Ramblin Russ. This further increased my confidence, or so I thought.
It was allowing me to further hide from myself.
Two years later, I was able to raise enough money to buy my father’s business. He never did enjoy the business and was glad to get out. The next year I built a supermarket, the first in our area, business was good, I was on a roll.
Finding Out About Myself.
There was another important and life changing event during that time as well. I married Norma, the love of my life and we started a family.
This was a wake up call for me.
All of a sudden I am not feeling quite as confident. The family situation created a different arena for me, initially everything was about me, now there is a wife and children. I applied myself in caring for the family and being a good provider, this I did fairly well.
However, it seemed as I was applying myself to providing for the family, that year by year, I seemed to be distancing from them. Even though I was a part of the family and a relatively good provider, the children always turned to their mother. Norma, I think realized that as well, because she would encourage the children to go to me and not her, but it did not work.
This caused much frustration within myself and was making me wonder what was wrong with me.
My insecurities begin to surface more and more and caused me to work harder, more to hide from myself by building a world of my own, that would give me a comfort that I was finding difficult to find.
I began reading self-help books and take courses on self-help. One book in particular, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill constantly mentioned “the secret.” This frustrated me to no end. What is the secret? There was another book by Robert Collier who gave all the credit for his wealth to “The secret of the Universe,” rather than answering questions for me, my frustrations and insecurities increased.
It was later in life that I realized that a secret was as the dictionary said, a piece of information that belonged to one person, so how could any person tell me what the secret was.
It would no longer be a secret, this was some help.
I wanted to do what I thought was right for the children, but if I was honest with myself, the mother had much more control and impact on the children than I did. I only received or had any impact if Norma pushed them my way, and she wanted too. She was much stronger in the family roll. This I accepted, or so I thought, sometimes there is something in our heart that is not in our head. That I learned later, on several occasions.
For some unknown reason I still felt I should or wanted to have a more active role in the family, than just being a provider.
It was found in the church or religion, or again, so I thought. I became very active within our local church, applying myself more and more, than I experienced a calling to go into full time service.
I resigned from my job and moved to Ontario to study Theology and become a minister in the church. This I thought was my calling and as a family would bring us closer together. We had been a rather close family before, hindsight is twenty-twenty vision, the only problem was me. I didn’t feel a part of the family, sometimes I would say to Norma, it feels as if you are in a room with the children and’m on the outside looking in.
She would say “don’t be so foolish.”
That was how I felt, foolish or not.
My going into the ministry was more about me than the family, as time evolved, that became abundantly apparent. The introduction of religion caused more division and discord in the family, than unity. I begin to slowly realize that when you think you know something, you don’t know it the way you should.
I experienced a euphoria the day I met Norma, not really the day I met her, but the day I became acutely aware of her. I had attended school with her in a four room school, but on that particular day in August as I was passing her on my way home, she became the love of my life, she was my soulmate, four years later she became my wife.
I had experienced “the secret” and didn’t know it. Norma got the credit, she was the love of my life.
It was fifteen years later that I experienced “the secret” again, this time the church got the credit, and became my love. Each time I experienced “the secret” it was relevant to someone or something.
Both of those experiences brought immense changes to my life. In the next decade or two there were other experiences similar, but not as life changing as before, but it kept me moving in a positive direction towards my almost lifelong quest.
Summing Up To This Point.
In a way “the secret” was alluding me. I was searching for something that in some ways I believed would answer my greatest question.
What is my purpose while here on earth?
I wanted to fulfill my purpose and be complete in myself, perhaps that is a little too heavy, but I wanted to know a completeness within myself and not have to depend on anyone or anything, that may have seemed unreachable or perhaps even selfish, but I could not shake that feeling that something was missing.
In my earlier years I was not aware of this vacuum in my life, it was filled with what I did and my responsibilities as a father and husband. It was circumstances brought on by those responsibilities that caused me to want an answer to the questions that life had put in my way.
Life changing things that took place in my life would constantly come in view and keep me searching.
I would try to fill those voids with something or someone, but it wasn’t happening.
In my next post I will continue my search for “the secret,” it takes me on another different path, again that is life changing but rewarding. It will begin to bring into focus the thought and purpose of this blog, “The You Process.”
I realize this post is about me, but it is meant to be about experiences in my life that had significance and brought me to a sweet spot. Your experiences, while different from mine, are meant for the same thing as mine. To bring you to the point of fulfillment as a person.
Nothing happens in our lives without a purpose, it is up to you to find that purpose.
If you have any questions or comments about this post, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I will be happy to get back to you.
Until my next post, be happy.