Fill your mind THEN change your body
One year ago this Sunday I set out on a personal quest to do something so simple yet it was the most challenged I've been since embarking on my own health journey. I decided to .... read. A lot. Like, with reckless abandon. At first my goal was to read 200 books in 365 days. I made it to day 90 and 37 books before I took a long, hard break. I was in the middle of the book, 'Drive' about intrinsic motivation and that's about when I lost mine. It happens. Our goals can have such clout that for awhile I was kind of kidding myself about completing it even though I was well on my way to reading all 200. I took a break because I lost my WHY. To read 200 books is irrelevant if you are unable to retain 200 books full of information. My goal became more about quantity than quality so I backed away and reassessed my intentions.
Not all was lost and in the Spring, after much guilt and let down for walking away from my goal, I picked up, ''Start with Why' by Simon Sinek and it re-sparked my love for reading. I let go of my 200 books in 365 days goal because it no longer fit, and that's ok. Why am I writing about my reading frenzy here? Because in honor of my year in books and all 70+ books I did devour a few lessons I want to pass on. No matter your aim in life I am sure these lessons can help a bit.
As a child and well into my adult hood I didn't think I was a good reader. I could read, still can. I grew up surrounded by books - my parents still have 2 library rooms in their home. Conversations with my family always include, "So, what are you reading right now?" Which I would sometimes fake the answer to. I was envious of people who could consume book after book like it was ice cream or something. But I realized it wasn't reading I didn't enjoy, it was reading fiction I didn't enjoy. As soon as I picked up a personal growth book, a biography, anything self-help, psychology, or business I was totally consumed (Yeah, I am one of those people. Proud of it too). I save fiction for beach vacations and airplane rides. Nothing like a raunchy romance novel to distract me from flying :)
SO. Here are my 5 lessons from my year in books. I could list 100 lessons but I want you to be able to read this list and use these little nuggets of knowledge in your life. As for the year ahead? There is no race to complete any specific number, but I would say the habit is real now and I look forward to my morning reading like....ice cream.
It's ALL been done before
You name it, it's been done! Making millions, creative inventions, writing your first book or your 100th, opening a business, becoming famous, tripling your income, traveling the world, changing careers, losing weight, becoming a Yogi, that infamous Ted Talk. Anything, and I do mean anything, that you want to accomplish has been accomplished. When you think it's not for you, you can't, you're not sure how, you don't know where to begin, or it's just not going to happen for you, that is your conditioned mind reminding you of the life you've been living UP TIL TODAY. It doesn't know the possibility of tomorrow because tomorrow is an illusion. It's not real. If it's been done before it can be done again. The difference being that those who have accomplished YOUR dreams got out of their own way, risked everything (including looking like an idiot, see the next lesson), and stuck to their goals like glue. Like really sticky glue.
The really BIG accomplishments will make you look like an idiot
may will look stupid when you go after your dreams. Even if it's been done before you may get some blank stares. Imagine the Wright brother's mother telling her neighbor that her sons actually think they can...fly. Ludicrous. It just means that your goals, no matter how big or daunting, come with risk. You are daring to follow your dreams, make big things happen for yourself, and go against the grain. There are bound to be a few people who scorn your attempts. Don't think of it as you being an idiot, think of it as them just not understanding the infinite power behind possibility.
Courage is all you need
Courage is really a grand gesture. It's you standing up for what you believe in (no matter what) and it's you pushing through all the negative and limiting voices that come your way. Most of which are inside your own mind. The root of the word 'courage' is heart and courage really means to speak from your heart and act from your own truths. What would you do today if you knew you could succeed? What would you do today if everyone around you just wanted to see you be successful? Where would you start? You aren't going to go out into the world and just make it happen, but you can just make that first step happen. What is that first step?
Your mind is a minefield
It's tricky, that mind of yours. It can keep you safe of oncoming cars and find the inspiration to paint all in a day. Not to mention the other 12,000+ thoughts per day your brain processes. Some positive and productive, and some not so positive and not so productive. Here is where it gets kind of fun (well for me anyways) along with thought you also have choice. Choice to act or not to act on your thoughts and ideas. You really can achieve what you believe you can achieve. Remember, it has all already been done so it can be done again. Anything you desire to achieve is achievable by you. But with many of your big dreams come big obstacles, also created by the mind. Those obstacles are your perceived fears, the things that might happen. Likely, your BIG 'what if's' will never come to pass, but the fear of them even remotely stopping your success can stop your success! Choose you dreams and choose to move towards them.
Intelligence has nothing to do with it
Really, and I mean really intelligent people are sitting at home right now wishing they could achieve their goals. While others who may have a fraction of their intelligence are achieving their goals everyday. Why? Because knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power. It's not enough to know, you must also take action. Common sense is not the same as common action. There are many things you know to be true and easy and yet they still seem to get the best of you. If there is someone today who is visibly accomplishing something you want for yourself it just means they took a series of steps you haven't taken yet. It doesn't mean they are smarter, more intelligent, or more clever than you. It does mean they chose results over their reasons to stay small and went for it. What will it take for you to go for it?