I was interviewed for a personal development book lovers blog a while back after a friend tricked them into believing I was some Gandhi type character.
One question stood out to me as a significant problem too many of us face…
“A lot of our readers are frustrated because they can’t find the time to read more — what are your best tips to help them out?”
To which I responded…
I know you’re thinking it, so I’m just going to say it because fuck me, you’re right, that sounds exactly like something Gandhi would say.
Anyway, that’s for another day.
“On average, a CEO reads 64 books a year.”
Sounds familiar? And if you don’t want to suck at life, you’ll need to do the same. Because people who suck at life on average only read four books a year. Yadda yadda ya…
I call bullshit. I call bullshit because CEO’s are busy little bastards. I call bullshit because almost every successful person I know DOES NOT read 64 books a year. And I call bullshit because God dammit, I like to call bullshit.
That is more than one book a week people. We can’t even sit on the throne in peace these days without the phone buzzing for our attention — how are you gonna read 64 books?
Knowledge is powerful. Yes. Of course, it is. I love sitting with friends and rattling off a load of crap that makes me sound intelligent. But…
knowledge is only truly powerful once you apply it and turn it into wisdom.
And that’s where so many of us trip up. That’s your Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. This can only be gained through repetition. Otherwise, it’s worse than useless. It’s just more noise in an already polluted mind making it more difficult to make decisions and do whatever it is you have to do.
If you’re constantly reading and chasing knowledge to better yourself, you’ll never get anywhere because you’re chasing perfection (which isn’t attainable).
You’ll never penetrate the subconscious mind (because you lack patience. Not your fault), which is where all knowledge needs to sit for it to transform into wisdom.
Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that’s why so many caught in the cycle of personal development or self-help stay spinning on that hamster wheel. It’s because we try too hard.
We need this stuff on auto-pilot. Think about it—you’re never a good driver until your subconscious does the driving for you.
Same applies to pretty much everything. And how do you learn to drive? Through repetition, of course. Not from reading 50 books on how to be the best driver in the world.
I’m not saying don’t read. Quite the contrary. I love this art form. But if you’re reading frantically to develop yourself, I would suggest dusting off the books that got you excited about life when you read them…
The ones where you felt the author was on your wavelength and offered practical solutions to the problems you face. Because the chances are you’ve forgotten all that inspired you to get out there and start living your best life. All because you had to read another ten books on the subject—which really just turned everything into one big cluster fuck!
These little gems are what I like to call Bible books. The ones that inspire you so much you can hardly put them down. But eventually you do, and too often never pick them up again.
NEVER put down a Bible book and assume you now know. Or rush through it so you can be one book closer to your annual target. That’s blasphemy. You don’t need more knowledge. You need more wisdom. And the only way you can acquire that is through repetition. Have I repeated that enough?
Let me ask you this:
Do you believe you would be better off reading 64 books a year or reading five books that inspire and speak to you on a deep level five times each?
If it’s the former, I can’t believe you’re still reading. If it’s the latter, pick that Bible book you feel could inspire you the most at this juncture and start reading it again tonight because it will teach you more the second time than it did the first time.
Your Bible book, if you give it the attention it deserves, can truly change your life. But you have to action the learnings.
Whatever you are struggling with or trying to develop, find yourself a Bible book. Read it and apply it and re-read it and re-apply it until it penetrates your subconscious mind.
And now when you read, don’t read under pressure. Read for fun. For pleasure. To escape. To feed your curiosity and pique your interest. Read for the sheer joy of it. Not because that annoying dude from Mentor Box told you wouldn’t amount to shit if you weren’t reading every day.
And yes, read in search of new knowledge you might consider turning into wisdom. Read to find yourself a new testament as you progress through life. But take comfort in knowing you’ve a copy of the old testament sitting at home—and there’s still a whole lot of wisdom you can extract from that!