Catherine Hoke, author of “A Second Chance: For you, for me and for the rest of us,” is the daughter of an inventor. Upon hearing the word “inventor,” most of us immediately envision useful devices that have improved our lives. Catherine’s father did indeed invent many such devices. But he also taught her how to invent her own life.
Her father was an electrical engineer and inventor. When he was 22, he immigrated to Montreal, Canada, as a Hungarian Yugoslavian immigrant, with $200 in his pocket. When Catherine was seven, he moved his family to the United States when Stanford University hired him to teach there. While living in California, he taught her to build inventions and then present a business model around them to him. Doing so also engrained the personal skills related to inventing herself as a person.
“Whenever I saw problems, and I saw things I didn’t like about the world and I would complain about them, my dad would say to me, ‘instead of complaining about it, why don’t you figure out how you can fix it,’” Catherine said. “When he told me, we were moving to California, I told him I didn’t want to go. I could never become the president of the United States!”
But he told her, “I’m going to give you a little time to think about that, about how you could come up with a solution to that problem.”
She didn’t really want to become president of The United States. Her father knew that! And, he also knew the importance of allowing her to learn and use the process of personal creation.
The process of personal creation is something we all live through. Yet, as a process, it is something very few of us take the time to unravel and come to master. Catherine’s father’s advice on how to become the master of this process in her own life was, “Learn how to become the best of something.” And, he would constantly ask, “Why would you watch someone else do something when you could go out there and do it yourself?”
He believed and taught that we are all inventors.
I’m going to give you a little time to think about that, about how you and I could come up with a solution to who we want to be. What solutions could we come up with? What if you and I are the principal, useful resource to improve our own lives?
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.