What a Chevy Nova taught me about life

I bought it at one of those buy-here, pay-here car lots. It was a red 1989 Chevy Nova and looked similar to a Ford Escort. It had two endearing qualities. First, I could take the key out of the ignition and engine continued to run. Second, once a cassette tape was inserted into the stereo, it was impossible to eject.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to a tape in a car, you know that it overrides the radio. Since the tape was stuck, I had two options: stereo on or stereo off.

The only tape I owned was “Chicago’s Greatest Hits”. Nope, not proud of it.

I had two jobs at the time, both requiring lots of driving time. The first 50 hours or so of Chicago were unbearable. So I tore out the stereo, pushed the tape out from the back of the deck and reinstalled it. I asked the owner of the company at my day job for a tape and he gave me a Zig Ziglar cassette. I listened to that tape for 10 months. Over and over. For hundreds of hours while I delivered pizzas and sold fire alarms door-to-door.

The broken stereo changed the way I saw the world. I listened as Zig taught me:

-That a goal set is halfway reached.

-To get everything in life you want, help enough others get what they want.

-Failure is an event, not a person.

-Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking.

That Chevy Nova lasted a year until the engine gave out (never did get the ignition fixed).

But the car changed my life. For $3,500 I received the incredible gift of repetition. Zig Ziglar showed me a new way to see the world, to value others, to think positively, and to set goals…over and over and over.

The downside of the Nova? I still recoil when I hear a Chicago song and have nightmares about eject buttons.

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