I clearly remember sitting in my 10th grade English class being asked to write a paper on a book. But my book was different than everyone elses.
While my classmates were reading Steinbeck, my English teacher pulled out a copy of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
The cover was slightly worn, and the corners more dog-eared from sitting under a large bulk of other books, rather than page turning.
I'm sure I rolled my eyes as most typical 15-year olds and mustered some sort of cocky response to my teachers request as I took the book from his hands.
Although I was an avid book reader, initially more by consequence than by passion, being forced to report on a book I had no interest in reading was something I was not accustomed to.
Whether it took me a week or a day, I don't recall, but I remember being smitten by Daisy, enamored by the roaring 20's, and wishing that one day I could too leave my home and create a new home - like Nick did.
Reading the Great Gatsby influenced me in more ways than one, but watching it on the big screen (err-my home VCR) made our those beautiful narritives come to life.
I wanted to go to a roaring 20's party, watch a Polo match and wear fantastic vintage dresses.
Fast forward to 2011: I am no longer a teenager and have since been forced, plenty of times, to read and research topics that I would later welcome.
It took time, but I finally got the message my teacher was aiming for:
Walk outside of your comfort zone to learn something greater than you.Here's to hoping that you read that dog-eared book that will touch you, and help you make a difference in other's lives.
Go against the grain to add to your knowledge and add to your influence arsenal.