War and Peace 45 years on…

It’s never too late to set new goals or to revisit old ones and, as long as you persist, just about anything is achievable (even passing A-levels).

I eventually passed my A-levels in August 1973, (with grateful thanks to the lecturers at Harrogate Tech). I asked my father if he could get me a copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, the book, or rather books as there were two volumes, was published by William Collins for whom my Dad worked, based in their office in the Corn Exchange in Leeds.

Then, as now, whenever I buy a new book I sign my name and the date inside the front cover.

The scrawl has become more flamboyant and less decipherable over the years but is still recognisable.

I had started to read Tolstoy’s Magnum Opus at several times since then, but never got beyond the first chapter. This summer, 45 years on from that date in August 1973 I determined to get through both volumes, in all 1443 pages, by the end of the year. I put aside 30 minutes after lunch and when I had finished work every day whilst at home, but as I travel a good deal there were gaps between sessions. Thankfully there are relatively short chapters so it was straightforward to complete the day’s task at convenient points.

This “small steps” approach did the trick, I was able to get involved in the plot lines and the characters  of the novel without having to rush. Tolstoy’s writing is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the tale of Russia in the first two decades of the 19th Century. It’s a great book and I recommend it to you, there are lessons to  learn that still apply to each of us in our daily lives.

The point about goals being 1)Specific, 2)Measurable, 3)Achievable, 4)Relevant and 5)Timely, is well made. In this case, I wanted to read the book from beginning to end, so that takes care of 1) & 2). I can read and short of going under a bus (or my finding the book unreadable) I knew I could manage 3). It was relevant to my overall life plan 4) which includes tackling some “big” reads and 5) I set an end point of December 31st 2018, knowing that if I had to do some catching up I had the Christmas period to complete the task.

Should you be setting goals in your business or personal life then I hope this might inspire you.

PS when we moved into our home in West Cork five years ago, there were no fewer than three separate volumes of War & Peace amongst our books – the enthusiasm had obviously been there but we had allowed life to get in the way.

Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

One thought on “War and Peace 45 years on…

  1. SMART Objectives: I always thought the ‘T’ stood for ‘Timebound rather than ‘Timely’, Alun, and you appear to agree with my understanding in so far as you said it was your intention to complete the project by 31 December.
    Anyway, a Happy New Year to You and Yours!
    With all best wishes,


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