Self Improvement

How Reading Changed my Life

As a child, I was never a big reader. I read books, but I would say I was far from an avid reader. I remember in elementary school, we use to have a book reading contest which involved getting a sticker for every book you read and at the time “Goosebumps” books were all the craze (may have just dated myself). To this day, I can remember that feeling of wanting to be the kid with the most stickers and wanting to get that prize at the end of the month for having read the most books. But back then, it wasn’t really about the joy of reading, but, more so, the happiness of getting that prize, which at the time was being one of the few selected to have pizza in the classroom privately when everyone else was eating letter-shaped, partially cold, chicken-like nuggets. This was my introduction to reading and looking back at it now; it began my spark for reading. But soon after elementary school, this spark quickly dimmed and for the next 15 years, reading a book would be seen as cruel and unusual punishment. Besides, what could reading do for me? I liked my books explained in a movie theater. Live action, explosions, emotional highs, visual references, and everything that didn’t require me spending my “precious time” reading or listening to something that could even be perceived as a book.

Now 32, I’m a consistent, enthusiastic reader. I read at least one to two books a month. My method of choice, audiobooks, but you may occasionally see me with a hardback book in my hand. Sometimes, reading the words, feeling the lettering on the cover and the smoothness of the page in my hand is distinctly refreshing. Whatever the case, reading became life. So by now, you may be wondering, what changed? Why did you all of a sudden start reading? Well, it all started with wanting to be successful. Wanting to live a better life. I wanted money. I must say, I didn’t start off with the most impressive of intentions but, at the same time, I was honest with myself. So of course, what would anyone looking to be successful and make lots of money start reading.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

For some reason, that book was stuck in my head from a few years ago. I remember being at work, pushing the ol’ broomstick and my friend walk in the shop with his copy and said it was a really good book. My thinking at the time was light years from reading. I was thinking more along the lines of, “Man, can’t wait to get off work, have a couple of drinks, party it up. Sera, Sera!

Fast forward a few years. There I was, headed to the library, searching for this mysterious book that lingered in my head these some odd years. I was determined to find out what it could teach me about making money. How I could use the author’s words to grow a vast fortune. How this could be the start of my success.

What I found was something I would have never looked for.

I was addicted. After reading Robert’s words in that book, I saw the world differently. It was like, Robert opened the door to another life in my mind, to business, to what I been seeing and not seeing at the same time. I wanted more. One book lead to two. That second book lead to a third. I was jumping from Robert Kiyosaki to Brian Tracy, from Brian Tracy to Robert Greene, from Robert Greene to…. whew! I was on fire. It was like the flood gates were wide open. As I think about it, that first year was life-altering. I wanted more. I haven’t yet written an article about my past yet, but let me say, what I learned that first year, I would have never learned from the people in my day to day dealings. It was like, each author become my mentor. They were all giving their private lessons. Teaching me their crafts, hoping that one thing would stick and open another door to discovery or a window of fresh new ideas.

After that first year, I was never turning back. From that day forward, I saw each book as an opportunity to find another mentor. To learn something that had been eluding my grasp these 20 something years. With every book, I was attentively listening. Every day, I’m slowing applying action. Those audiobooks that became bookmarks in my life, I bought the actual book. I highlighted those key lines, bent the edges to those pages that I refer back to keep myself reminded of what I need to do.

It’s incredible how wanting success and money drove me to find something more fulfilling. Something that you can’t buy. Something that you can’t spend.

A mentor can be one of the most important people in your life. There are buildings full of mentors. Hiding behind a cover, or waiting to be downloaded. No matter how you do it. No matter your method of choice. Hardcover or audiobook. Do it!

It all starts with a passion and a book!

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