You have an exhausted look on your face. You rub your hand against your right temple, massaging away the frustration that is your current state in life. It’s been so long. So, so, so, long since you’ve felt sure of yourself. Of the path you were on.
And now… ugh… now it’s just confusion.
Everything you do, everything you have, is just… not the right fit. Your relationships, your job, home, health. It’s all just… off.
We’re sitting at a table, you and I. And as you continue to fight the headache of your reality, you look up, with tired eyes, and ask, “Corey, what’s the fastest way to get my life moving in the right direction?” I stare back, reflecting on my own past struggles, and consider what the best advice is that I can give.
Books are the key
I can’t tell you what to do: I myself am imperfect and have more to learn. However, I recognize that I may have insights into things that you have yet to encounter. And then it comes to me.
A sudden knowing of the answer.
I return your gaze across the table and answer simply, “You need to read more.”
At that, your frustration begins to bubble. To turn into anger. You say, “That is your advice? You give me chores to do? I need answers, man! Answers! Not homework. I need action, not research. You’re wasting my time.”
The metal chair screams against the ground as you push back from the table, prepared to leave.
Why I recommend reading
I calm you down and urge you to listen to what I speak.
“I’m serious,” I say. “Whatever you are struggling with, someone much smarter than me (and you) has written about it. Your problems are not unique and have probably already been solved.”
I explain how reading has vastly changed my life.
How, in this year alone, I’ve dramatically changed the way I think about space, nutrition, budgeting, how the mind works, and more. That within a 365-day span, my entire way of life has changed countless times.
And when you multiply that learning across two, three, ten years, the future is intensely bright with possibility.
It has worked for me
I go on to reiterate my point. To really drive it home. I explain that whatever questions you have, there are answers.
Someone, somewhere, has already thought about your query a great deal. And from their months (and often years) of work, they have compiled what they know into a volume that you can consume and act on.
All you have to do is find it.
“So… I just need to read more? That will fix my problems?” You ask, hesitantly.
I reply, “There are no guarantees. However, I speak from my own experience. I am telling you what has worked for me.”
You have some questions though…
You start asking me questions, showing your openness to my argument. Questions like:
- What books do I read?
- How will I know it’s working?
I respond in kind.
What books to read
The only books you should read are ones that interest you. If you want to save more money, read a book on budgeting. If you want to start eating better, find a book on nutrition. Or if you want to enhance your imagination, read some fiction.
You have a problem. Every book is a potential solution.
Now, something to keep in mind – there are a seemingly infinite amount of books out there. And, due to the immense quantity of them, some will be much better than others.
It’s up to you to decide if a book is worth reading.
How I decide
Personally, I like to read books recommended by people I admire. So if I listen to a podcast and the host mentions a book that changed their life, I’ll add it to my list to check out. From there, I’ll look at the reviews to determine the general consensus of the quality.
I’ll read five one-star reviews, five three-star reviews, and five five-star reviews. At that point, I have an idea of whether or not the book will benefit me.
And then I dive in.
If you’re interested, here are some books that I highly recommend.
How to know if it’s working
Every time you learn something new, it’s working. Every time you apply something to your life, it’s working.
Each book will impact you differently. Sometimes you may just have a note or two jotted down after you finish a book. Other times you may have pages upon pages full. When you take that newfound information and implement it into your life, you will immediately start to see changes for the better.
In turn, you will create a positive feedback loop.
You will read and learn something new. You will apply it, be thrilled with the result, and from that excitement, will find a new book to start the cycle again.
It’s powerful and immediate.
Your next step
You push back from the table again. This time with a different look on your face. I ask, “Where are you going? We’re in the middle of a conversation.”
Your hair’s askew from running your hand through it so many times. You say, “What you said makes sense. I’m going to a book store right now.”
“Book store?” I ask, “What century do you think this is? Sit back down. Let’s find you a book on Amazon. My treat.”
Moving forward with your books
Reading can seem intimidating but take it just one page at a time (literally):
- Find a book that interests you (ideally one that speaks to a problem you’re having)
- Buy it
- Read one page a day, taking notes as you go
- When you finish it, implement what you’ve learned
- Then buy a new book and do it again
Books have dramatically changed my life for the better. And they will for you as well. So go buy a book and get started.