100 Ways to Motivate Yourself : Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler, chapter name 12. Put your library on wheels

12. Put your library on wheels

One of the greatest opportunities for motivating yourself today lies in the way you use your drive time.

There is no longer any excuse for time in the car to be down time or frustrating or time that isn't motivating. With the huge variety of audiotapes and CDs now available, you can use your time on the road to educate and motivate yourself at the same time.

When we use our time in the car to simply listen to hip-hop or to curse traffic, we are undermining our own frame of mind. Moreover, by listening to tabloid-type "news" programs for too long a period of time, we actually get a distorted view of life. News programs today have one goal: to shock or sadden the listener. The most vulgar and horrific stories around the state and nation are searched for and found.

I experienced this firsthand when I worked for a daily newspaper. I saw how panicked the city desk got if there were no murders or rapes that day. I watched as they tore through the wire stories to see if a news item from another state could be gruesome enough to save the front page. If there's no drowning, they'll reluctantly go with a near-drowning. There is nothing wrong with this. It's not immoral or unethical. It feeds the public's hunger for bad news. It's exactly what people want, so, in a way, it is a service.

But it reaches its most damaging proportions when the average listener to a car radio believes that all this bad news is a true and fair reflection of what's happening in the world. It's not. It is deliberately selected to spice up the broadcast and keep people listening. It is designed to horrify, because horrified people are a riveted audience and advertisers like it that way.

The media have also found ways to extend the stories that are truly horrible, so that we don't hear them just once. If a plane goes down, we can listen all week long as investigators pick through the wreckage and family members weep before the microphones. A week later, playing the last words of the pilots found in the black box, on the air, extends the story further.

In the meantime, while we are glued to our news stations, air safety is better than ever before. Literally millions of planes are taking off and landing without incident. Deaths per passenger mile are decreasing every year as the technology for safe flight improves. But is that news?

No. And because my seminar schedule requires that I travel a lot by air, I can see up close what the so-called "news" has done to our psyches. Simple turbulence in the air will cause my fellow passengers' eyes to enlarge and their hands to grip their armrests in terror. The negative programming of our minds has had a huge impact on us.

If we would be more selective with how we program our minds while we are driving, we could have some exciting breakthroughs in two important areas: knowledge and motivation. There are now hundreds of  audiobook series on self-motivation, on how to use the Internet, on health, on goal setting, and on all the useful subjects that we need to think about if we're going to grow.

As Emerson once said, "We become what we think about all day long." (I first heard that sentence, years ago, while driving in my car listening to an Earl Nightingale audio program!) If we leave what we think about to chance, or to a tabloid radio station, then we lose a large measure of control over our own minds.

Many people today drive a great deal of the time. With motivational and educational audiobooks, it has been estimated that drivers can receive the equivalent of a full semester in college with three months' worth of driving. Most libraries have large sections devoted to audiobooks, and all the best and all the current audiobooks are now available on Internet bookseller's sites.

Are all motivational programs effective? No. Some might not move you at all. That's why it's good to read the customer reviews before buying an audio program over the Internet.

But there have been so many times when a great motivational audio played in my car has had a positive impact on my frame of mind and my ability to live and work with enthusiasm.

One moment stands out in my memory above all others, although there have been hundreds. I was driving in my car one day listening to Wayne Dyer's classic audio series, Choosing Your Own Greatness. At the end of a long, moving argument for not making our happiness dependent on some material object hanging out there in our future, Dyer said, "There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way."

That one thought eased itself into my mind at that moment and never left it. It is not an "original" thought, but Dyer's gentle presentation, so filled with serene joy and so effortlessly spoken, changed me in a way that no ancient volume of wisdom ever could have. That's one of the powers of the audiobook form of learning: It simulates an extremely intimate one-on-one experience.

Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Barbara Sher, Tom Peters, Nathaniel Branden, Earl Nightingale, Alan Watts, and Anthony Robbins are just a few motivators whose tapes have changed my life.

You'll find your own favorites.

You don't have to find time to go read at the library. Forget the library. You are already driving in one.