As hard to believe as it is to me, numbers show the majority of people never read another book after leaving school. Add to this the simple fact that most only read fiction for entertainment, and you have a recipe for ignorance and failure.
For myself, this is incomprehensible. I love to read – to the extent that I have often said the printed was my first true love. That puts me at one end of the spectrum, the extreme. On the road to success and self improvement extremes are often acceptable. The true enemy is “average” or “normal.”
The average – normal individual only picks up a book for fun. Any true Student of Winning will immediately see the challenge here. It is through reading that we change. No, don’t freak out on me – it is not the only way. But it is the most dependable one. All lasting change comes from within. We assimilate information via all forms of experience. Studies have proven that some learn best by hearing, others by seeing, and of course we all learn by doing. These methods all work, but to win – optimize.
The art of change is difficult to grasp. The mantra we have all heard, “If you think you can, you can,” is the simple brutal truth. The many who repeat, “I can’t change, it’s just who I am” guarantee their own inability. Personal change comes through a combination of factors starting inside of us. Allow me to list the various areas with the greatest impact on character/attitude/action alteration. No particular order.
Change will be brought about by:
1. Repetition – do it again and again, it gets easier
2. Reward – it works = pleasure, it fails = pain
3. Conscious thought – yours or theirs, change rarely is by accident
4. Unconscious thought – man creates a habit, habit creates the man
5. External reinforcement – good for you, you can do it, it’s worth it
6. Force of Will – yours or theirs, strength of the conscious thought
7. Mentorship – trusting & adopting another’s thoughts/ideas
Within the list there is much overlap, but the separation helps us to focus on one issue at a time. So, where does reading fit into these areas? Actually it encompasses, either directly or indirectly, all of them. During the act of reading we are being mentored, we are receiving external reinforcement and through the author’s words -repetition, reading stimulates conscious thought which (over time) generates force of will, which in turn brings about unconscious thought & habit, and finally, all these things pull together toward action. Action brings reward.
Throughout life many have these various ‘agents of change’ used against them, molding them into another’s idea of how to think and act. We are daily being programmed by the world, media, school, others, etc. You can choose to program yourself, the way you want. Having this knowledge gives you the power to use these very same concepts for personal change. Ponder this. What if you could actually create the person you will be in the future? Is there anything you wish to change about yourself? Perhaps there are one or two things on the list below that you want to accomplish:
Achieve true personal success
Reach a certain level of financial success
Become a better: person, parent, sibling, child, spouse, employee, boss, citizen, care giver, neighbor, etc.
Make others happy to be around you
Help others achieve success
Make a difference in the world.
I have observed that these areas, and others, can be controlled by every person willing to do what it takes. Lest you misunderstand me, I will be perfectly clear: You can Change into what or who you desire to be – not by doing the best you can, rather by doing what it takes. Personal experience and that of many others show unequivocably it all starts with READING bringing about desire, decision, and action. No matter your age, place in life, or situation – you can take control of your future. Will you win every battle? No, just more. Will you become perfect? No, just better. Will you grow taller? No, but you will stand taller, with confidence. Now, to choose the programming materials.
What should you read in the effort to become more? Many can tell you where to start. Check into it for yourself. Attend a seminar or two on self-improvement. Scope out several of the better websites dealing with personal development. Attend any sales training or motivational talks available. Listen to church leaders recommendations and ask anyone you have met that is successful, or a true leader, or runs a business with happy employees and satisfied customers. It does not take very long to notice that several titles or authors or speakers seem to be mentioned over and over again. Pick up any well known book on the subject, read the bibliography and recommended reading list.
I will delve into this further in future posts. Be sure to READ them.
Prove it to yourself – check it out, and remain always a Student of Winning.