It started as a hobby. It was a non-event, something that happened without effort. Nobody warned me what I was doing would change my life in a dramatic way.
It was simple: I picked up a book because I didn’t care to watch TV.
It happened to be a book about motivation and owning your work – right up my alley. I vaguely remember some of the principles but I cannot recall the title. It doesn’t matter.
Many of the author’s ideas became practices for me. They were new and novel and made me want to be better
at my job. Many of those practices, like waking early, became habits. But that isn’t what mattered most from the experience.
Here is: when I read this book, I was changed. I was changed in a way that made me realize I had learned something that would help me. Up to this point in my life, my mid-twenties, my education had come from school (which ended years prior) and from work-related training. Both school and work experience are fantastic teachers, but this was different.
School ends for most between 18 and 25. Work starts around the same time and those lessons pick up where the schooling left off. But, education through school and work are about what other people want you to learn. I realized, after reading this book, that I could learn about anything for very little.
When you leave the subject of your education up to others, they will typically teach you just enough. In school, this often means enough to pass the class; not always it’s day-to-day application. In work, this often means enough to get the job done; not necessarily how to think about improving the business. Not everyone wants you to have your own opinion. You have to be the one to who makes the choice to educate yourself.
My eyes were opened. The subject matter wasn’t what changed me, it was the idea that I could change me. I didn’t have this beautiful revelation where I finished the book with tears streaming down my cheeks. I did, however, go immediately to the book store to buy another book.
That next one didn’t change me as much as the first. Nor did the one after that. Or the one after that. But the fourth one did. Not every book will make you reassess your life, but if you don’t continue learning, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to do so.
Some people don’t like reading, fair enough. But don’t let that be an excuse. This is about educating yourself, not necessarily reading. Reading a book was simply what opened my eyes.
NOTE: I say books, instead of blogs, because there is a LOT of bad information on the internet, be careful.
Podcasts are plentiful and audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular. Some people don’t have the money, fair enough. But before you say that, Google “free ebook + your topic” or YouTube “free audiobooks” to see what type of results you come up with. I can’t promise you’ll find something that will change your life, but I promise you’ll find something worth your time.