When the student is ready, the master appears.
I am very conscious of what I eat and what I put into my body – looking after my physical needs to have energy and vitality to enjoy my life. I eat well and exercise fairly regularly (I could do more!). When I exercise a lot or go without food for a while I get really hungry and need to eat to sustain my wellbeing. We spend a good portion of our disposable income on food and exercise.
An very interesting, albeit sad fact, is that a large proportion of the general population, both here and overseas in no way monitor or consciously choose what goes into their minds, and for a large percentage of people, once they leave formal education that ends their time of “learning”. Some people never pick up and read another book!
Using the analogy of our physical body needing food, our minds need constant positive stimulation too, much like the muscles in our body require good food and exercise to function. When we put junk food into our body we get poor performance, illness, obesity and lack of energy. Garbage in garbage out! The same goes for our mind.
We need uplifting, stimulating and inspiring input to direct our neural pathways to the outcomes we truly desire. The mind acts on what we feed it, so we need to choose wisely what we focus out time and attention on. If we are not investing in the growth of our minds we are poor investors!
The most successful people, in general, feed their minds powerful, stimulating, positive mental thoughts on a regular basis. The more we positively stimulate our mind, and thus our thoughts, the better our outcomes, the faster we achieve what we desire, and the happier we feel.
Zig Ziglar once said, “ It’s true in every field of endeavour, whether it’s law, medicine, sales, teaching, coaching, science, [business], or the arts, the top people, or those who are headed for the top, are the ones who regularly show up for seminars at their own expense. They read books, and regularly listen to motivational [or educational] recordings. They deliberately seek information and inspiration, and as a result, they are constantly on the grow” (2005).
What is so good is that the more we learn the more we can learn and the faster we can learn, so we create a virtuous success cycle by commiting to life-long learning.
As some of you know, one of my goals is to own 5000 books. I am about 1/5 of the way there. I love reading and I take any and every opportunity to read. I read over breakfast, I read just as I am falling asleep, I read while I am waiting to go into a meeting, I read on planes, and in front of the fire on cold and rainy weekends. When I leave my house I always have a book with me, just in case the opportunity arises and I have a spare 5 minutes in my day.
We live just out of town, so my car is my personal university. I love listening to educational and inspirational recordings. Jack Canfield says that most people spend between 20-30 minutes twice a day travelling to and from work. That equates to about 250 hours a year. That is a master’s degree every few years! A bit of “look Mum, no hands” learning”.
One of the fun ways to learn is to go into a bookshop, such as Borders, wander through the aisles of magnificent books, choose one or two books or magazines and then grab a coffee, sit down and read for a while. It broadens our perspectives and, if it is in a area we are not too familiar with, it encourages us to use different parts of our brain.
Another great way to learn specific “gems” is to ask the people you most admire to tell you the 3-4 books that have had the most influence on their professional or personal development. Some of my most loved and influential favourites are:
- Accelerated Learning by Colin Rose
- Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski
- Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
- Crystal Clear Communication by Kris Cole
- The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
- Understanding NLP by Peter Young
Another strategy I use is – when I read a great book I then research and read all of the major people who have informed the author’s thoughts and development. By noting who they recommend or authors from their bibliography, I look then up and read their works. This way I get a whole new field of recommended reading.
There are professional magazines that have recommended readings too –publications such as Boss Magazine in the Financial Review, and AIM (the Australian Institute of Management), and other professional magazines have recommend reading lists. The New York Best Seller List, Amazon and other similar sites also provide a great resource for what is popular to read.
IPods with audio books and seminars downloaded are brilliant and are highly motivating to use while exercising or doing chores.
If we read for between 15 an 60 minutes a day we can stay in the top 5% of our field (probably more like 1%). To do this is amid a busy lifestyle – commit to reading when sitting, and listening when moving. It’s so easy!