There is a popular saying which goes like, "Reading does to your mind what exercise does to you body". Such is the power of reading. It has the power improve our thinking by exposing us to higher dimensions of thought. Better yet personal growth books offer us perspectives on how to approach self-improvement. The learning that it entails is an indispensable tool for anyone aspiring to grow financially, socially and in other domains of growth. I have gradually come to this realisation in the few years that I have been trying to cultivate a reading habit. Nevertheless, as many others can testify, building up a reading habit is not easy. I have to admit that I used to dodge any books that were outside my school readings, by all means until I went through a series of events that forever changed my outlook on reading.
It's quite shocking that I am now a staunch fan of personal growth books, given that I once mockingly dismissed a friend, who then, urged me to build a reading habit. A friend and former school mate of mine, Nyasha, suggested that I start reading personal growth books after he had identified our mutual interest in starting successful technology based startups. Amazingly from his extensive research, he had discovered, one of the ways to make that ambition possible would be to undertake extensive and rigorous learning. It is the kind of learning that digresses from the technicalities of technology to principles of business, leadership and personal growth. He was excited to share what he had learned and he yearned to persuade me to pursue a similar course. "Leaders are readers", he would remind me.
Even though he painstakingly tried to persuade me into reading, I just could not wrap around my mind the fact that I would have to sit down to read a book with about three hundred or so pages to its completion. In fact, I have to admit that I used to regard those who managed, as magicians applying some fuzzy magic tricks to enjoy, or rather to endure reading. Personally, I just thought that it would be just boring. Therefore, I didn't even dare to start reading.
It did not take long, until all of that changed. The tipping point came to be, during one of my final exams in high school. It was a communication skills exam. As I opened the examination question paper, I was greeted by an inspiring passage that had been extracted from a book by Stephen Covey which is entitled, The seven habits of highly effective people. As I red the personal growth message in that passage, I was so fascinated that I made a resolution to hunt for a copy of the book as soon as the exams were over. Amazingly, before long, I had managed to acquire a copy and had started reading the book. Before I knew it, I was already hooked to the book.
In retrospect, I think that, the book got to me quite easily because it offered me valuable perspectives on self-improvement. I had eagerly, but hopelessly been yearning to pursue self-improvement. I did not know how to initiate a sustainable process of self-improvement on my own. The book then came to the rescue, offering new theoretical and practical perspectives that proved quite beneficial. It divulged the idea of having private victories before public victories, by placing our value primarily on making success in the little areas of life that are important but not-so spotlight-worthy, such as cultivating virtues such as honesty and integrity. Foremost, it advocated for people to focus on building up of character (i.e. who we really are) instead of merely focusing on personality (i.e. who we appear to be in public). Such a powerful presentation of new perspectives, struck me in the right nerves. It undoubtedly led me to crave for personal growth.
I now realise that having such eagerness to develop character, attitudes and mindset, has an overarching influence in many areas of our lives such as our relationships, our careers and our achievements. Recently I have been inundated with overwhelming evidence on the importance of pursuing personal growth. I will relate only one of the encounters below.
I had that encounter at my new club at college called The Makers Space. In that club we collectively attempt to come up with practical technological innovations that solve our daily problems. During our very first meeting, our patron decided to start with a lengthy team talk instead of instantly commencing with the key agenda of the club which is designing and developing technological gadgets.
Instead of delving right into tinkering with technological devices, he focused on personal growth themes such as developing a growth mindset and an abundance mentality, (of which I may cover in future articles). He claimed that it was equally important for us to develop our mindsets even as we learned the technical skills. With the right mindsets, a group of people working are likely to get along well with each other, even if they have different backgrounds. "With the right mindset, a person working on something will not be easily swayed by transient distractions, they will not easily give up on a cause that they strongly believe in and they will likely innovate their way through obstacles that confront them", he emphatically uttered. "People with a growth mindset are well aware that they can learn to tackle anything that appears challenging at first", he added.
Therefore, working on our mindsets while acquiring new skills skills would guarantee us of success, he assured us. In fact, he claimed that possessing any sophisticated skill is vanity if it was not coupled with the proper mindset, attitudes and values. Giving examples of contexts where stellar mindsets were of paramount importance such as in Thomas Edison's case, Einstein's case, The Silicon Valley and Shenzhen in China, he urged everyone to continue learning and cultivating a progressive mindset.
I couldn't agree more with what he said. I found my mind deeply immersed into his message. I can say that I totally resonated with his perspectives on the importance of personal growth. At that moment I felt proud because I had already developed a fondness to personal growth books prior to his keynote delivery. In fact, the address solidified my interest to pursue my personal growth through reading upon elating perspectives in different personal growth books. One particular book that I became quite fond of it the one by Stephen Covey: The seven habits of highly effective people.
Looking back, I think what made me so fond of the book, is the fact that it really addressed what I was in search of; effective perspectives on self-improvement. That way it proved to be quite relatable. The fact that I was learning new things about the topic that fascinated me, kept me engaged even as I read the book. Each time I read it, I literally got lost in the book.
Being deeply engaged by the content in a book is necessary, if you are to enjoy reading. But it is not something that will happen if you just decide to pick a book at random and start reading. You may pick the one that is not so engaging and you will thwart any chances to pick up reading as a hobby. Therefore, it is important to pick up books that are sure to pique your interest. That's how you may to come undertake an interesting journey similar to mine.
From a boy who used to despise reading, I gradually morphed into a young man who is fond of reading. Anyone else can do it. What other techniques can one apply as they go about their reading journey? Any book recommendations? Well, catch up with me in the next articles in this blog series. The next part is entitled, Finding it hard to start reading [personal growth] books? Pick the right book first.
If you have already cultivated a reading a reading habit or aspiring to develop I would also love to hear your story. Let link up in the comments section. Why do you like to read? Are there any books that you think are interesting to read? Feel free to air your views in the comments section. Alternatively join Inspishare Updates Group (Link below)
Stay tuned for the next one.
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