2018 was easily the most challenging year of my life, both personally and professionally. There were major ups and downs and it never felt like my life had any semblance of balance or normalcy. I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off: no sense of direction, and can drop dead at any second. I struggled with debilitating depression and anxiety, and had no idea what to do to get out of the rut personally, in my business, and in my relationships.
Growing up I was always just smart enough to solve most of my problems by myself. I was no genius, but I was confident that I would be able to survive from my own intelligence alone. This was true all the way through high school and then some. Once I became an adult, however, I realized that the world is a much different place than when we get home from playing at our friend’s house and ask our parents what we’re going to have for dinner. We have to make that decision ourselves; and for those of us who have been there, sometimes it is an extremely difficult decision.
The hard thing about life is that the problems and decisions become more and more challenging as we get older, and I became less and less able to solve my problems purely on how smart I was. I needed help, and I finally was able to acknowledge my pride and admit that I couldn’t figure things out on my own. I eventually started seeing a therapist (I believe everyone should go to a therapist or life coach. More on that another time.) and finding really strong people who have passed through similar challenges and lean on them for support and growth. It was through this experience that I realized everyone needs a mentor. Mentors have immense knowledge of, or have accomplished, what we hope to accomplish, and by definition, goals are future accomplishments that we have not yet achieved.
I have always enjoyed reading. I picked that up from my mom. I don’t remember a time when my mom wasn’t reading a book or searching for a new book. Because of that influence, I started reading at an extremely young age. I enjoyed reading all those stories and being transported to a new world. Somewhere along the way, however, I started watching television and movies a lot more for my entertainment fix and stopped reading. Looking back, I realize I only viewed books as a form of entertainment, not as the gateway to greater knowledge and the success/peace that I had been looking for.
Last year a friend of mine recommended a self-help book to me, and I decided to read it. I honestly couldn’t say what it was called or what it was about. But I can say that after reading that book it felt like my eyes were opened wide. There is so much knowledge in the world, and many people with knowledge need a place to share it. Traditionally this place has been formal education and textbooks, but more and more people are choosing to write books and share what they’ve learned in life. There are thousands upon thousands of books out there. If I want to learn how to improve my online marketing skills, there’s a book for that. If I want to get better at expressing my feelings and strengthening my relationships, there’s a book for that. Literally any topic I want to learn about, I can find it in a book.
Usually when we think of mentors we think of someone who sits down with us and someone we can call when we have any questions. This is one type of mentor, for sure. However, I believe that the main quality in a mentor is hearing their story. It’s not so much about a two-sided relationship (although it can frequently become that), but rather learning what did and didn’t work for them and then putting it into practice. Because of this, I say that I have been mentored by the likes of Mark Manson, Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, Brené Brown, and many others. Books gave me access to the mentors and knowledge I so desperately needed. Like C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” Through reading, I now know that there are many others who have successfully maneuvered my same situations, and I can find hope for the future in their words. Today I don’t view reading as entertainment, I view it as a critical key to living my best life. I need it, and I think we all do.
Reading Leads To Success
I have extremely lofty goals in life. I’ve been told they are unrealistic too many times to count. They are unrealistic to those people, but not to me. In order to get to where I want to go I have been trying to learn from the people who have already gotten there. One thing I have learned is that every successful person, to whom I aspire to be like, reads many books.
- Bill Gates, worth nearly $94 billion dollars, reads 50 books a year.
- Warren Buffett, worth nearly $81 billion dollars, reads 500 pages a day.
- Mark Cuban, worth nearly $4 billion dollars, reads 3 hours a day.
- Tim Ferriss, worth $100 million dollars, reads 3-4 books a week.
According to Thomas Corley, 85% of self-made millionaires read 2 or more books per month. Of course, it’s not all about the money. Many people start reading to improve their relationships, health, mental strength, and self-improvement in a plethora of areas. The amazing thing about reading, that I have seen in my life, is that by reading you acquire the skills necessary to earn more money. You may not choose to become an entrepreneur, but you are cultivating and preparing the skillset to do so. This is why I will read 52 books in 2019.
The Book A Week Challenge
The seeds of this challenge were planted after reading that first self-help book last year. I found the power of books, and after finishing I immediately came up with my goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I wanted to prove to myself that I can follow through with my goals and plans, and it felt amazing to have a goal that I could fully get behind. The reason I started this blog is to hold myself accountable to others about my goals and create a community of others who have the same mindset, because that is the most important element in completing goals in my opinion. I do not have a set list of books I am going to read, but there will be a lot of self-help and business books, as well as anything else I feel like reading.
My challenge to anybody reading is to join me in the Book A Week challenge! It does not have to be the full year like me but set a goal of the number of weeks or months and follow through. Completing what we promise ourselves is one of the biggest natural highs we can get. Make a goal to read a book a week for a month, two months, or however long works for your schedule, and commit to it! Whenever you finish a book, use the hashtag #learnforlife2019 and share a picture of the book on Instagram. I am always looking for more books to read as well, so if you have any suggestions leave them in the comments or post them on Instagram using the hashtag.