The inter-web says that learners are earners. I took that idea to heart, studying successful people and the habits they have. One commonality amongst almost every successful person is there obsession for learning. Books can be a fantastic tool for personal growth.
To read 1 book a week involves reading the first book, just reading, getting past the beginners cliff, and realizing nobody cares about your excuses.
When I was in my second year of high school I purchased a book titled The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. The Intelligent Investor is a book on investing, crazy I know. Sophomore year I began to lose interest in school, and searched for alternatives. Stocks interested me. After 3 weeks of struggling through the 640 pages of technical terms and foreign language, I felt I understood the secrets to wealth. Private jet here I come! The only thing I remember from the book was how long it was..
But, It started my interest in reading. And, I actually ended up opening a Etrade broker account and making some money on Facebook stock, roughly $500 profit. Being the age I was, with pimples all over, a crackling voice, and not any experience, I sold all my stocks because I wanted a Playstation 3 game console. I wasn’t rich, but I got a taste of having money work for me.
Anyways, back to reading. My first read that I bought for myself, on my own, which no one told me to read, was an investment book. I was reading material online about investing around the time The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo Dicaprio playing Jordan Belfort (the Wolf himself) came out. Penny stocks! The next book purchased was a penny stock for dummies book, which ended up collecting dust on my desk. Eventually, I stopped investing because I wanted to use my money elsewhere, mostly on pleasure (food, video games, impressing girls). Also, I lost a lot of money on penny stocks. Wah, Wah..
The first step to reading is actually having a book to read. Find a topic you are interested in. If you need book suggestions, look at my book list.
To be able to read 1 book a week, you must read. Similarly, to growing muscles, you must work out. It’s funny when people inject themselves with steroids and don’t workout. Or, even funnier, buy the late night infomercial ab machines that, literally, electrically shock you to an olympian physique. Please don’t waste your money on these things. Here is some great life advice from a 23 year old: there is no substitute for hard work.
Just read. It’s going to be fun at first — probably even enjoyable. Give it a few weeks and you will probably stop reading. With anything new, there is what I like to call “The beginner’s cliff”. The beginner’s cliff is about a 3 week (maybe longer or shorter depending on the person) time frame of progress. After that, an abrupt stop. A falling off the cliff, the first resistance. Case-and-point, the spike of gym memberships in January. By March, most new year gym member sign ups are nowhere to be seen. All together now, new year new ME (tips head back, swallows shot of tequila)!
It’s funny, the schedule is exactly the same, now all of a sudden there are excuses as to why I don’t have time to read. Don’t get me wrong, I experience the beginner’s cliff as well. I am about to hit you with more life advice from a 23 year old because I can, and you’re reading my blog (insert creepy smiley emoji): every new habit is going to take time and effort to develop.
When we start something new, we have to think about doing it, putting in a lot of effort and energy. The longer you can do it, the easier it gets, becoming effortless. You start to see results, and the new habit becomes a central part of your day. I always like to use working out as an example. When I first started working out, my schedule was very inconsistent, spans of weeks sometime without going to the gym. I kept coming back. Seeing little results of progress. Now working out is the central part of my day with everything else coming second.
Seth Godin, a blogger who has written a blog every single day for over three years, sparked a realization in me while I watched an interview: no one is coming to save you. In the interview, Bryan Elliot was talking to Seth Godin about the advice that changed his life. You can have a pity party, come up with all the excuses in the world, and think of yourself as the victim. Nobody cares. The only moment is the present. What you do in the present determines who you become in the future. Life throws shit at you. Learn from the shit, and keep moving forward.
A little effort each day adds up over the long term. A book a week turns into 52 books a year. Heck, a sentence a week turns into 52 sentences a year. Visualize that for a second. Visualize how much more you will know, how different your life will be.
This article wasn’t really about learning how to read a book a week, but more a motivational, maybe a little philosophical, guide on building a lasting habit. Bedazzled with some humor, some shit talking, some life advice from a 23 year old who doesn’t really care about the majority of opinions of others (thank you The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck).
Keep moving forward