Why reading a Personal Development Book Everyday can change your life

Personal Development is like taking a shower a day….

In 2004 I didn’t really read books.  I read at school but once I left then I didn’t really think about it.

OK, I may have read a Raymond Feist Book once or twice like the Magician but I didn’t read to learn, only for enjoyment when I felt like it.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read.  In fact I had to read a lot for work.  I was consulting in the software industry and much of my time was spent either creating contracts or reading them.  Not much fun really.

I just didn’t see the point in reading.

Then something changed.  If you have read my story then you know I was in a pretty bad place when a friend helped me.  I was nearly bankrupt, about to lose my house, drinking heavily and did not have good relationships.  I was sad and unhappy.  After a good career in the software business I went into my own business and lost almost all my money, and some I didn’t have.

If you have ever been in the same place you know how it feels.  It make you feel ill.  That’s the best way I can put it.  Not only do you have no money but you still have to pretend that everything is fine to those who said you could never do it in the first place.  There is nothing worse than that person in town saying “So how is your business” and me saying with a smile “Oh fine”.

But really I just want to go home cry. Seriously cry.  Cry my eyes out.

It was at this point I was ready to learn something new, a new way of thinking.  Luckily for me someone was about to give me that new way.  He was a successful guy and knew that I needed something to make a change.

So what did he give me?

Well some personal development books.  Nothing “too deep” to start with.  You see he was smart, and he could see that I was the type of guy that would say “Oh I don’t need those self help books, they are all just crap anyway”.  So he gave me Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad Poor Dad.

This is more business then “self help” and it was exactly what I needed.  Yes the book is excellent and it changed the way I see business but more than anything it got me in the mode of reading to learn.

That’s exactly what my friend wanted it to do!  Over the next few weeks he started to give me books that were more about looking at me rather than business.  Books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Magic Of Thinking Big, Positive Personality Profiles.  And it worked.  I started to change.  I started to see that many of my problems were just challenges and that I was causing them!

I also learnt that I wasn’t quite the amazing business man I thought I was (at 25!).

Then something great happened.  I started to find books to read, I couldn’t read enough!  In fact I think I can honestly say that for 2 years I must have read everyday for at least 10 minutes.  There might have been the odd day but however I felt I read.  It didn’t matter what time of day it was, before I slept I read.

This completely change me as a person and everything else changed with it.  My relationships got better, I met some great new people, I slowly got out of debt, I felt good about myself and I actually stopped drinking for 2 years.  I do drink now but back then I was alcoholic.

You see it’s not about NEEDING help from these self help or personal development books it’s just about realising that there might be information out there that I don’t know.  It’s being honest and realising we don’t always know everything!

About 2 years into reading these books I met an old school friend in town.  Obviously I was very excited about how these books had changed my life and I was very open about mentioning this to EVERYONE I met!

Oh well, boy did he have a different view!

He started off into this great big speech about how all Self help and Personal Development books are just brain washing and how they are just a load of crap.  I was really surprised at his reaction.  There I was just saying how much I have enjoyed them and here is was saying that I have been brainwashed!

Well, to be frank with you, I am fairly communicative myself when I feel like I should be and argued back that they are just there to help and you can take what works for you etc.  Not very Personally Developed!

Do you think he felt the same after our “conversation” or had I sold the idea of reading these to him?

Yes guessed right.  He went away thinking I was stupid and that those books were worse than ever.

By the way if you want to know what I thought about the brainwashing argument look at this post Personal Development Books are just brainwashing.

This wasn’t the only time I had someone tell me something just as negative.  It got me wondering why.  After thinking about this and talking to to others I came to the conclusion there it could be many things.  Mainly probably due to fear but also lack of understanding about what these books really are.

All they are is how to books, or information books.  Much like you get when you buy a new car or DVD player.  Really the are nothing more than that.  But they key is they are about changing your life not how to set up the DVD.

Have you ever read a text book on a subject?  Maybe for business or work?  Then that is exactly the same.

These books give you more ideas and knowledge about particular subjects only most of them are about people.

A new process

As I said, after about two years of reading every day I felt I had changed almost completely.  I was still me, just a better more happy me.  In fact many people commented about how different I was and for the first time in my life complete strangers would comment on how nice I was.  Isn’t that good!

Well I got a little complacent and stopped reading every day.  You can guess what I am going to say?

Things changed back a bit.  Not completely to where I was but I noticed myself slipping back into some of the old ways.  People would annoy me more, I wouldn’t be as “In the Present” as I would have like to.  Nothing like before but I knew I needed to reading again.

Is that a crutch?

No way, not at all.  It’s like taking a shower.  If you didn’t do it every day you would start to smell.  It’s the same with reading.  If you do a little a day your mind is always thinking about it.

We all have busy lives so we need the reminders that these books give.

That’s why reading everyday can change your life.  Just think if you could read 10 pages a day how many books you would read in a couple of months?

I know people who read a book a week and they are some of the most successful people I know.  I heard a very successful speaker once say: –

“Books give you knowledge, knowledge gives you confidence, confidence creates action, and actions creates results”

I know this is true as I have felt this myself.  I dare you to pick up a book and read everyday for 1 month and see how that changes your life.

Matt

Steps to Success

Hi,

So you might have read my other post about “How not to be Successful”? Well that was just a bit of fun but it had a powerful message in it.  Really I was just trying to reach people in a different way.

Based on that post I thougt I should do a more serious (not too serious!) post about what it takes to be successful.  There is a proven formula and all you have to do is know what it is and follow it.  I will create a more comprehensive post but this should get you going.

This is not some tip on how to run a business or what stocks to look at.  If you have read Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad Poor Dad then you may have been a little disapointed that he doesn’t give you a “quick fix” on how to generate wealth.  He gave you much more!  He gave you a formula on how to be successful in any element of life you care to put some effort into.  He gave you the key to the process.  That is what this post is about, the process.

So this is a process I have learnt from reading books for years, attending hours of seminars, listening to podcasts, watching videos, talking to my mentors and learning on my way!

You need a Goal/Dream

This is the most important part!  You must know what your goal or dream is.  Without this you won’t achieve anything.  If you don’t have one yet….go out and get one!

Write that goal or dream down

So now you have the goal you need to write it down.  I have a notebook that has my goals in it.  I look at this to remind myself.  I have done this so often now that I know EXACTLY what I want.  You should know exactly what you want.

Create a to do list of what you need to do

Now you have that goal you need to work on what has to be done to get it!  Don’t wait just begin.

Find someone who has achieved what you want

There is nothing more motivating than being around someone who has what you want.  It makes it real and you may even find they are willing to give you some help.  You will be surprised how open people are if you tell them they have achieved what you want.  In fact they will probably be more than happy to spend some time with you.  Obviously be polite and ask if they are willing to meet with you before you try and have a meeting!

Start to do the work

Ahh the work!  Now we have the goal, the to do list, perhaps even met someone who has what you want.  Now we need to get to it and start working.  I should probably say at this point that this is where most of us make a mistake.  We tend to think too much about this rather than actually doing the work.  It’s something I know I have done and it stops you getting your goals and dreams.

Keep your eye on the dream not the work!

It is really important to keep your eye on the dream and not the work.  How do you do this?  Well let’s say your dream is to own a certain car.  Every week or so go into the showroom and sit in the car.  Ask the salespeople and they will most likely let you take pictures with you in it.  If you are really nice you might get a drive!

Whatever the dream keep looking at it, touching it, dreaming it.  If you just want more time in your life take some time out and imagine what it would be like when you do have time.

Check your progress

I see this a lot in people who are achieving great things but feel like they are not doing enough.  Why?  They are not checking their progress.  It is really key to look back at what your goals were and how much of them you have achieved.

You can even reward yourself.  If you don’t do this then subconsciously you will not want to achieve your goals.

As I said this is not a detailed post on the process but a good start.  Look out for the the more detailed posts soon.

Go for it!  What would you do if you couldn’t fail?  Work that out and go for it!

Matt