You’ve heard the quotes.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”George R.R. Martin
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”Rene Descartes
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”Dr. Seuss
Most of us are conscious of the fact that reading is good for us. If you’re not, this is a friendly invitation to get out of whatever rock you’ve been living under and wake up to reality. Slap in the face, bro.
Read nonfiction books.
Now ~1-5% of people can probably look at that statement and say, oh, yeah, if it’ll help my life, let’s go read! And these people will go on to read for the rest of their lives. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not this person. 85% of people will buy a book and read 1/4 of the way into it then let it sit and collect dust for the next year, only to look at the book again with guilt and shame.
The new year is upon us, and if you want to join that 1-5% of people that can “just do it” then keep reading, because however smart you think you are, you are not. Your commitment to learning is a direct correlation to how smart you actually are. If your mind is made up and you think you’ve got it all found out, good luck homie.
You need to first shed whatever ego you’ve got around learning. take a step back and realize, there’s so much shit out there for you to know, and you don’t really know shit. You might know some stuff here and there; you may be a so called “expert” even. In the case of the expert, even you should know that the bounds of knowledge are limitless as long as you keep your ego low. A quote I like on this topic is this:
A man who knows he knows nothing is smarter than a man who thinks he knows something but really knows nothing.Socrates
Be humble. Rip that ego out of you, or you will never learn anything. Trust in the principle of radical open-mindedness.
Now, you’re finding it hard to read. Your quick fix mentality can’t handle the idea of sitting down to read 20 pages, 30, 40, or 100, every single day. Your mind doesn’t trust in the principle of delayed gratification.
It’s not your fault.
Because of the society we live in, we’ve been basically hard-wired since birth to look for that quick fix. The ice cream, the video game, the 6-day 6 pack routine.
It is your fault.
Don’t use this as an excuse. You can sit and complain and play victim forever, but that won’t ever solve the problem. The root cause here is searching for quick fixes. You’ve got to unwind that whole mentality and throw it away. Every day, practice delaying gratification.
Ditch social media.
Quit video games.
Improve your diet.
This is all “mainstream self-help advice” that no one does. They’re all too scared of letting go of their instant gratification so they never take that dopamine-detox-leap, that dive into the life free of constant stimulation.
I’ve done it, and I fight the battle against short-term gratification every day, and I tell you what, it’s a lot cooler over here.
A wise man works and waits, while a fool wishes and complains.
Are you a fool or a wise man? Do you delay gratification or live in a loop of quick fixes? If you’re a fool. There is only one way out. Start being the wise man. Work and wait, and the results will come.
Momentum, momentum, momentum.
You just need to break through the initial barrier of resistance before you begin to cultivate momentum. Once you get that momentum, all of this stuff is easy and fun. You’ll begin to delay gratification, and it’ll be your new life. You’ll read, and you’ll enjoy it.
Always, make sure your mental health is in check. Meditate and gratitude journal daily to get the ball rolling and your happiness compounding on itself. (And please sleep well. everything falls apart if you don’t.)
You’re likely not reading because you indulge in short term gratification so much that your mind doesn’t see a point. You have to get rid of all that stuff, so your mind has a reason to read. Your brain functions off of values. What’s more valuable, YouTube, Netflix, ice-cream, or a cup of green tea and reading? If the answer is and honest yes to the first three, your values are out of wack. Deep down, you believe that short term gratification is more valuable than delayed gratification.
Every day, do the habits stated above. Break through the initial barrier of resistance and build momentum. When you lose motivation, remember to be the wise man. Work and wait. Create the motivation by working, waiting, and receiving it. Fight back against the quick fix and take control of your values.
School didn’t teach you how to read, it taught you how to consume and regurgitate and forget.
Here is a practical short guide on how to read properly.
1. Pick the right books.
Read what interests you, or you will not want to read. Read about the skills you want, what makes you curious, what spikes your interest. Pick books that are written well and have been recommended by people you trust. (Hey, if you trust me, I have a free booklist on this site with a bunch of great books.) Link here.
2. Read Physical copies.
No audio books, book summaries, etc. eBooks, only read them if you can actually read them. Get physical copies of books.
3. Read slowly.
If you enjoy what you’re reading and you really want to learn, read slow. You won’t learn if you don’t let your mind process it. Ditch that speed-reading bullshit. It’s a marketing scheme tailored towards your lizard brain, quick fix mentality.
4. Take notes.
This one is controversial, but it’s what actually got me to start reading. In school you read the book without digesting it. You just want to get the test questions right. In real life, the test questions aren’t the same. The test questions are whether or not you can react properly to a situation. This type of test requires good principles, and good principles are found in books. So, take notes. All you need to do is underline each sentence that makes you go, “ah-ha!” or “wow” then fold the corner of the page you underlined the sentence. Later on, if you want to revisit the book, all your highlights will be there and will serve as refreshers. Repetition=learning, so this makes learning very easy.
That’s how you read properly, and I have a statement to make about finishing books.
Some say to finish them, some don’t. I say, if you start a book because you wanted to learn about it, finish it. If the book is downright horrible, just give it away. You can practice discipline by finishing books, trust me, having a stack of 10 half-read books is not fun, especially when they’re good books.
Read. Thanks for reading, if you got this far, you obviously like it 😉
If you want to read something deeper from me, check out my eBook “Your Worst Enemy, Your Best Friend” Link here
Thanks for reading, DM me on social media or email me to talk, I’d be happy to.