The Keys to Transformational Reading
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. -Soren Kierkegaard
So I am currently in the middle of a 52 book reading challenge this year. During my readings one thing I keep finding myself saying is, “I really wish I had know this a few years ago!”
However, the reality is that most things must be experienced to be understood. While reading a really insightful book may have prevented some mistakes, most of my mistakes would still have happened. Reading a lot of books does not make you an expert or wise, but it does give you access to some great teachers that can help you interpret the experiences of your life.
John Wooden, one of the world’s greatest coaches of all time.
Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researches in motivation.
Gary Mack, one of the world’s top sports psychologists.
Jim Loehr, one of the world’s leading performance psychologists.
Tim Elmore one of the world’s leading authors and speakers on fostering the growth of young leaders.
August Turak a highly successful entrepreneur, CEO, and author.
The list goes on.
These are some of the teachers I have had this year and the cost has been only a few hundreds dollars at most, instead of a $30k debt from pursuing a masters degree.
Reading is one of the habits I have constantly sought to develop over the last 10 years of my life. Every year my New Year’s resolution has been to read everyday for 15 minutes, but every year without fail I would stop reading after only a few weeks.
I know I am not the only person who wants to read more these days, but the trouble is we are constantly distracted by the latest TV shows, social media feeds, and the chaos that surrounds our everyday life.
However, the key to my recent success in developing the daily habit has not been “what” I am reading or “how” I have been reading this many books (check out my strategies).
The key to my success so far has been in my “why”, which I constantly remind myself every morning, day, and night.
So why am I reading so many books?
I want to be a better leader
a better coach
a better husband
a better father.
Reading immediately provided me more knowledge of coaching, leadership, parenting, spirituality and any other topic I was interested in.
However, I realized just 3 months in that reading would not lead to true transformation. I sought wisdom. And wisdom is only gained through experience.
“There are lots of different explanations for every experience. And while you can’t control your experiences you can control your explanations. And the truth is this: your explanations are more important than your experiences.” -Mark Batterson
The transformation started to happened when I used reading to help interpret the experiences of my life.
So I started to be more purposeful by continuing to lean into experiences and challenges, while reading the advice of some of the greatest minds out there to help me reflect and grow from those experiences.
- Read Daily: It is more about quality, focus, and intensity early on. Then you can focus on reading more.
- Take Notes: Underline, highlight, and write in the margins and then copy these into a notebook.
- Daily Journal: Every morning I reflect on the various things I have read. I answer a question that I can formulate for myself from the reading and then tie in with some experience or story from my life.
- Write: I currently try to write every week an article that shares my thoughts or opinions around some ideas that may have formulated from my reading.
- Mentorship: I use formal and informal mentors to discuss my experiences and challenges in life, while connecting them to the ideas presented in reading.
- Experience: Continue experiencing life and challenging yourself.
The struggles and challenges we face, we are not meant to face them alone.
If we want to even scratch the surface of our greatest potential at anything we do, we must listen to the advice of experienced people and then apply to our own lives.
The good news is that reading daily becomes significantly more fulfilling when you start to read for transformation instead of entertainment
And everyone seeks transformation in some area of their life.
Fitness, cooking, parenting, teaching, business, art, spirituality, the list goes on.
The great news is that many successful people have shared their experiences and understanding on nearly every passion or interest a person can have in life.
So stop ignoring them and listen up!