Two pink lollipops.

Books Are Rare Candy For Your Mind (A Lesson From The 90s)

There is no Cinnabar Island hack though.

“Can you read it to me?!” I begged my Mom. I sat on the couch with pleading eyes as she moved about in the other room.

She replied, “No, you know how to read now. You can do it.”

“Fine,” I conceded.

I took the small instruction manual out of the box and… well… I honestly don’t remember. I’m assuming I read it, but I really have no idea. After all, I was but a mere four-year-old. A four-year-old with a Game Boy in one hand and the instruction manual for Pokemon Red in the other.


The lessons of Pokemon

When I reflect back on my childhood, I think of Pokemon. I loved Pokemon. The 8-bit design, the sounds, the characters, the whole thing. My Game Boy and I went everywhere together. It was my smartphone before there were smartphones.

And we were good pals.

Now jump ahead roughly three decades. I don’t play Pokemon as much anymore – just like how Andy went off to college and left Woody behind (a la Toy Story) – but even so, when I think back, I’ve taken away many lessons from the game.

I developed patience from Pokemon, I developed long-term planning from Pokemon. However, my favorite takeaway has got to be leveling up.


A little background

In the game, you’d catch Pokemon, train them, and battle others.

If memory holds, I believe you could have up to six Pokemon with you at all times, with some being stronger and some being weaker. The Pokemon were diverse and had different specialties. For example, some were fire-based, some water-based, and some were mice that could harness electricity.

As you trained them, they got stronger and “leveled up.” Meaning that you could have a Level 12 Bulbasaur that, after training it, became a Level 13 Bulbasaur. The highest level any Pokemon could reach was level 100… most of the time.

But that’s outside the scope of this post.


A person holding Pokemon Yellow.


The power of Rare Candy

If you wanted to level up your Pokemon faster, you could utilize items. Now, there were all sorts of items one would come across. But there was one special item that was my favorite – Rare Candy.

Whenever you gave Rare Candy to a Pokemon, it immediately leveled up by one; you’d give Rare Candy to your Level 47 Rapidash, for instance, and it would suddenly become a Level 48 Rapidash. Nice, right? No other work was needed. You just gave it the item and that was that.

I can certainly continue rambling on about Pokemon for several more minutes, but really, the point I needed to make has been made.


Your life as Pokemon

As an adult, I still think of Pokemon. And yes, sometimes I do still play it for nostalgia’s sake (and because I could never figure out how to catch a Mew – or if it even existed), but more than that, I think of the “levels” concept.

I look at my life and wonder what level my:

  • Financial literacy,
  • Health,
  • Business acumen,
  • And relationship skills are.

After all, these are my real-life Pokemon.


Real-World Rare Candy

Technically, dogs and cats are more like real-life Pokemon, but let’s think metaphorically for a moment. These are the various aspects of who you are. They are your “party.” And as you learn and progress through life, you level up in those areas.

Some areas are stronger than others, but generally, you get smarter and better with each coming year.

You are leveling up. And just like with Pokemon, there are ways to level up faster. I’m talking real-world Rare Candy.

I’m talking books.


Books act like Rare Candy for your mind.


Leveling up with books

Yes, books. And I know, I know. They aren’t a level-up-fast scheme, but they are an efficient way to level up compared to anything else; much faster than through sheer experience or asking around.

When I look back, at even just this year, my life has dramatically changed a number of times solely because of the books I consumed. Furthermore, unlike Rare Candy which only allows you to level up by one, books offer limitless level jumps.

For instance, if I was a Level 32 in nutrition earlier this year, after reading two new books on the subject, I now feel like a level 67. That’s a big jump. And that’s only in nutrition.

When you take that same approach and apply it to the other areas of your life, the potential is exciting.


Level 100 (and then some)

Books are Rare Candy for yourself.

Look around at the various categories of who you are, the Pokemon that make up your identity, and determine what books would help you level up. You won’t evolve overnight, but each life-altering book comes with the promise of an equally life-altering new level.

I’ll see you at Level 100.


PS: Looking for new books to read? Check this out.

Want to hear more from me?