Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Living a Good Life Is a Choice, These Successful People Say

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Living a Good Life Is a Choice, These Successful People Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Swanson

Sometimes a difficult childhood can result in self-reflection and growth that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Such is the case for Ed Lawson and Joanne Dator.

Growing up in New Jersey in the '70s to parents who were physically and verbally abusive, Lawson was an angry, shy teenager who was also picked on by his peers.

Today, the Southside flooring specialist describes himself as "willful, happy, productive and socially ambitious." He attributes the turnaround to honest self-examination and reading self-help books.

At 23 he left home, following his girlfriend to Tallahassee, expecting his newfound freedom to be the answer. Instead, his honest and naive personality lost friendships.

"Through lots of study, I learned to come from a victim mentality to using the tools from the books to change myself and my reactions to others," said Lawson.

Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson stands out as a principle guidebook for Lawson.

"It's all about getting out of autopilot, being responsible and knowing who you are," he said.

A "eureka" moment came for Lawson while watching the movie Coach Carter and hearing these words:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you ... As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." (This is a variation from the quote by Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love.)

Through more than a decade of self-teaching, Lawson sees the main point of all he's learned as the need to "take to the world as a sponge, rather than with tunnel vision of limits and justifications. …

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