I recently spent a morning speaking to a group of high school football players for a program called Suits for Seniors.
We talked about mindset and the power of contributing value so you can get more of what you want, which ultimately lead to the topic of personal growth.
After all, if you don’t grow, the amount of knowledge, creativity and ideas you can contribute is limited.
In fact, most people get stuck in their lives because they stop growing…
They get set in their ways and their mind becomes a prison that they can’t see outside of.
Major Key: If you’re stuck in a rut, it’s probably because you stopped growing somewhere along the way.If you're stuck in a rut, it's probably because you stopped growing somewhere along the way. Click To Tweet
I was reading an article recently that talked about how people only grow their businesses or get promoted until the point that they get overwhelmed.
I love this insight because it’s incredibly true….
We all start out thinking we’re goign to take over the world, and little by little, we take on responsibilities until we get to a point where we start rejecting opportunity.
… Thennnn, once they’ve mastered those skills, they find themselves bored out of their minds and in a rut but because they haven’t continued to grow, they’ve hit their ceiling.
Never stop growing.
Personal growth can be soooo overwhelming… So what do you play a video game and you’re out of lives, money and other resources, what do you use to keep playing?
You find cheat codes.
Reading, my friend, is the cheat code to life.Reading is the cheat code to life. Click To Tweet
I’m not talking about cuddling up with a good book… I’m talking about treating books as instruction manuals for how to live your life.
There’s a strategy behind reading as a cheat code, rather than reading for pleasure.
People have lived and struggled before you… Learn from them.People have lived and struggled before you... Learn from them. Click To Tweet
Every problem that you’ve ever had or will have, someone has already had and solved.
The answer is somewhere in the millions of pages in bookstores and libraries, you just have to go find it.
Don’t reinvent the wheel.
There’s a quote that says “you’ll be the same person five years from now that you are today except the books that you read and the people that you meet.”
The reality is that we don’t know what we don’t know, so we will continue to operate in the small mind that we have today if we’re not constantly expanding it.
“I don’t have time” is not an excuse.
If you don’t invest in your personal development, your ceiling is going to come way sooner than you think it will and one day you’ll look back and wonder what happened to all of your big dreams.
Step 1. Identify The Area For Growth
The first part of this is to let go of your ego and get ready for some extreme ownership.
If there’s an area of your life that isn’t extraordinary, it is because you haven’t developed that area…
However, in order to grow that area, you need to be able to identify what the root of the problem is, not just the surface problem.
Imagine getting 20 or so hours to sit down and pick the brains of your idols or imagine asking them about their greatest struggles and how they dealt with them.
That’s exactly what you’re doing when you read a book.
Someone is taking everything they’ve learned through their entire lives and handing it to you on a silver platter.
The challenge is that most people read for the sake of learning, rather than reading for the sake of doing.
Our brains are already overwhelmed with information, so it’s exhausting if you’re just reading to learn.
Every theme that I read has a purpose that directly relates to something I’m actively working on improving.
Step 2. Pick the Top 5 Books In That Category
It’s easy to get caught in the analysis paralysis trap..
Overthinking, over planning, over everything.
Last year, I was at a point where I felt like I was suffering from a severe case of squirrel syndrome.
I wanted to try every new shiny thing and I wanted to do a million things but I felt like I was constantly trying to finish ANYTHING, even though I was feeling like nothing was ever getting done.
I decided that I needed to get some structure in my life… and structure starts with habits.
I picked up the Power of Habit and fell in love with that book… and then as soon as I finished it, I picked up the Compound Effect. I noticed myself talking differently after reading those two, so I wanted to keep going…
I read the Miracle Morning to fix my morning routine, the 12 Week Year to start getting more stuff done and then read Grit to stay focused on my goals.
That was just five books and my whole life changed.
When you read for the sake of implementing, it will fill you with ideas and inspiration, rather than draining you.
My golden rule has become five books.
Anything you want to learn, you can learn the basics in five well-written books.Anything you want to learn, you can learn the basics in five well-written books. Click To Tweet
By no means will five books make you an expert on any topic, but after you’ve read five books, you’ve rewired your brain with these new thought patterns and you have also encountered enough different perspectives to begin to develop your own opinions on the topic.
Five books isn’t intimidating either, so you can commit to that.
Let’s say for example, you’re getting ready to hire your first employee…
Read five books you can find on hiring, interviewing and training.
The hiring process will go exponentially smoother for both you and the interviewees.
Reading books on hiring when that’s a short term goal of yours will make the information a million times more impactful and useful, rather reading on hiring when your short term goal is product development.
By reading five books on the topic of your short term goal, you’ll be able to eliminate much of the trial and error because you’ll learn from the mistakes of others, which will then end up saving you time in the long run.
I realized that I did a few things right during that period, which leads me to step 3…
Step 3. Read The Right Way
Reading for pleasure is VERY different than reading as a cheat code.
Firstly, it’s not about how quickly you read… It’s about how effectively you do it.
That means it doesn’t matter how quickly you finish the five books, focus on what you can get out of them.
I’ve always hated taking notes, so when I went through this period, I would read 10 pages or a chapter at a time and as soon as I put the book down, I would spend a few minutes thinking about how I could implement it into my life.
That has been INCREDIBLY helpful… and because you start to realize how much of an impact it makes on your life, you start getting addicted to reading more.
Here are a few of my best tips for reading successfully:
- Here’s the crazy thing: if you read 10 pages a day, you’ll read 18 or so books in a year. Yes, you will have to build the habit, so at first you might struggle to do it. After the first few weeks, you’ll find that you’ve really started to enjoy what you’ve learned.
- If you’re going to read on a tablet or phone, make sure you get an anti-glare screen. The anti-glare makes you feel like you’re reading paper instead of a screen and is less exhausting on the eyes.
- Always keep a book on you. Once you’re about halfway through a book, make sure you have the next book ready to go.
- Read at the same time every day. Whether that’s in the morning, over lunch or before bed, the habit will be easier to build. I recommend reading in the mornings because it’s a powerful way to start your day in a positive mindset.
- Finish a book before you start a new one. Not only will you get the feeling of completion when you finish the book, you’ll get a lot more value out of it that way too.
- Listen to audiobooks. I don’t really count this as reading, but it’s a great way to continue shifting your mindset.
- Surround yourself with other readers. They’ll hold you accountable to reading and their enthusiasm will keep you excited about reading too.
- Pick a theme that really applies to your current goal. If you want to lose weight, read about nutrition or working out. If you want to sell more, read about sales. If you want to be more creative, read about other creative people or the topic that you’re focused on developing. If you want to be more productive, read about that.
Step 4. Implement
Reading drastically improves your problem-solving abilities.Reading drastically improves your problem-solving abilities. Click To Tweet
When you know that any question that you have or any issue you may encounter already has an answer, you really start to focus on finding solutions rather than focusing on the issues.
Your brain almost becomes wired to identify a problem, figure out what book to read and then implement what you’ve learned.
It’s like downloading a manual into your brain.
That feeling is incredibly freeing.
One of the biggest benefits that I’ve noticed is that through reading, I’ve been able to reiterate a lot of the stories, lessons and topics during day to day conversation.
It’s given me the ability to really expand my conversations with other people and have more meaningful and authentic conversations.
I don’t follow your typical networking rules like “don’t talk about religion, family, politics, etc.”
I believe the fact that we take away every ounce of depth to conversation is why so many people have such a hard time with it.
As long as you’re willing to listen and have a conversation, not an argument, you will find that having conversations about those “taboo” topics is what will really fill your soul.
Step 5. Analyze, Adjust and Start Back At 1.
This is not a once and done process… This is an ongoing feedback loop of growing, implementing, analyzing and starting over.
Putting it into action is going to be the hardest part of this entire process and truthfully, it’s the one that matters the most.
One of the biggest mistakes that most people make is that they learn for the sake of learning instead of learning for the sake of doing.
Reading will save you a lot of trial and error so while it might take you a little while every day, in the long run, your learning curve will be slashed and whatever you’re pursuing can be done more efficiently and with less stress.
Take advantage of the cheat codes this world has to offer and you just might win at this game of life.Take advantage of the cheat codes this world has to offer and you just might win at this game of life. Click To Tweet
I created an entire growth plan course which includes a list of 30 topics with the top 5 books for each topic along with a workbook to help you identify your growth areas.
This isn’t your usual “top 50” business books list… This is drilled down to the top 5 best, most impactful books for each topic. You ready to have your breakthrough? Get started with the growth plan course for free right here: