I have slowed down my reading for January, not because of any particular want, simply because the tomes I’ve picked up have required more of me. The self-improvement ones always me to do things, which is quite frankly a pain in the ass. Just as a slight addendum, if one was necessary, it doesn’t involve inserting books into anuses in the literal sense . . . that would be, unwelcoming. But the thing about being asked to do things, is that part of me thinks I’m already reading the bloody book, how much more of me do you want of me?! It turns out – and you may want to sit down for this a donut pillow for this - you don’t turn your life around simply by reading about it and not actioning anything. Who knew?!
There are other common themes too. Whether it’s Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week, John and Claudia Altucher’s The Power of No or James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh, the message is the same: it all starts with self-reliance. The inner strengths and core belief in yourself to make things happen, starts with getting off your ass and doing something, dedicating some aspect of your time to organise your life to get things done. It’s all well and good talking, but if you come home, sit in front of the television with a couple of beers and wonder why your life isn’t changing for the better, then I think you have your answer . . . unless of course your actual job is to watch television and drink beer, where you are handsomely rewarded for your opinion on both topics. In that case, hats off to you, and please let me know if there is a vacancy. For the rest of us mere mortals, it takes graft.
There are three variations on a theme: the first is to do things; the second is to do things right; the third is to do the right things. Everyone can be busy, which is why regularly reviewing your direction is necessary. Keep asking ‘what’s the goal? what is the end state?’ To borrow from the excellent 7 Habits of Effective People:
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." You can quickly grasp the important difference between the two if you envision a group of workers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. Managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs . . .the leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, "Wrong jungle!"
The most useful method heard recently was envisioning your own epitaph. What do you want it to say? Would you be happy with your lot? In any project I've ever worked on, you know the result you want to get out of it, so why not in life as well? Another method is that if a doctor relayed that you only had one year left on this sweet earth, what would you do? . . . as for me, I’d probably ask for a second opinion.
Writing and writing...