My real journey towards Self-Improvement, Self-Education & Self-Transformation began in 2011 when I discovered I had to earn money for my survival. And when I accepted the fact that having a tattooed face, a rebellious attitude & zero educational qualifications — I wouldn’t be offered any job in the corporate world — I had only one choice — To sell my services — either online or offline.
But what could I offer anyone? I didn’t have any skills other than being a talkative 35 year old who didn’t know anything other than public speaking. Worse — I didn’t know how to train, teach or coach people.
Training programs in Dubai, UAE were expensive. Certification programs in Dubai, UAE were even more expensive. And what was worse — they weren’t even recognized by the Ministry of UAE. So even if I did borrow money and I completed a course — what was the point?
So I had only one solution — Educate myself through the process of reading Non-Fiction Self-Improvement books and see if I could add anything of value to myself — which in turn I could use to teach and train others.
But now came an even bigger challenge — I had ADHD. I couldn’t sit still even if someone put a gun to my head. I was constantly moving, talking, thinking — I was a distracted and disturbed man who just couldn’t sit in one place for more than 2 minutes.
But I knew one thing — if I had to succeed — there had to be no room for excuses. So I decided I would not allow myself any reason, any excuse or any so called ‘medical diagnosis’ to define me. And that is where, I locked myself in a room with one book every single day — with one single agenda — I wouldn’t leave the room until I completed reading at least 300 pages.
So that was my target for the day — 300 pages for the day. And I had to do it as quickly as possible while not fooling myself or compromising on the quality of self-learning and self-educating myself.
And on that fateful day in the summer of 2011 — I began my journey to reading one book a day.
Today, 2017 — after having read 800 books — what have I learnt? Here is my summary for you:
- SAME OLD CONTENT BUT IN A NEW BOOK
Leadership, Team Work, Take Risks, Dare To Dream, Believe in yourself, Visualize — None of the advice — Not a single one that you get from any book is anything new or revolutionary. All the advice is rehashed, recycled and refurbished.
- MONEY TALKS & WHEN THE RICH TALK — PEOPLE LISTEN
What makes a person listen to advice from Jack Ma, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg is simple the fact that these people are rich. Period. Had they been poor and the exact same advice would have been given — no one would be bothered to listen.
- DON’T FALL FOR THE NUMBERS
7 Steps To Success, 11 Secrets of Successful Companies, 13 Strategies of Peak Performers, 5 Traits of Master Achievers — Yup….those numbers. All these numbers are conjured up and stated just to make you feel there is a ‘number’. There is no secret, nor are there any steps. These are just opinions of the author.
- THE SELF IMPROVEMENT GENRE IS A BUSINESS IN THE END
Reviews on Amazon can be purchased for money, Recommendations to make a book sell can be given to support each other as Authors support each other and the so called title “New York Best Seller” or “Number 1 on the X-List” can be manipulated. Remember — the author is a businessman.
- THE TRUTH IS BORING — BULLSHIT SELLS
No one wants to hear the truth. Everyone wants to hear some outlandish, controversial or innovative new bullshit that will bring them out of their dark hole and perk up their curiosity to make you want to buy the book. For instance — which book do you think would sell faster? Lose 1 kgs a month through hard-work, eating less, fasting & exercise OR The Shocking New System through which You lose 80% of your body fat in no time?
- THE ILLUSION OF KNOWLEDGE
It is not uncommon to see scores and scores of people reading scores and scores of books. After all — isn’t being well-read, knowledgable and smart a wonderful thing? That is why so many buy books. This in turn has given rise to a new generation of ‘well-read’ people who live with the illusion of being knowledgable. However, where practicality is concerned — the numbers are dismal. For instance, the number of youngsters in India who have read the entire collection of Tony Robbins & Tim Ferriss’s books will totally shock you. But if you ask them what did they specifically apply consistently to their lives with evidence to back their claim — the answer is zero. So what is the point of such knowledge when there is zero application?
- USEFUL & USELESS INFORMATION OVERLOAD
I have invested nearly $550,000 in my collection of books, educational material, DVD’s, MP3’s, Mentoring, Training Programs — the list goes on and on. But here — let me tell you a secret — 90% of all this content — I haven’t gone through it. It sits in my house — just lying around nearly in my 16 six feet high book cabinets. I have had the torture and torment to carry them with me as I changed my house 3 times to 2 countries. And I ended up paying more in total for shifting them around than I would have paid if I had downloaded all these books into a kindle device. As I look around and see all these books — I ask myself — so what did I gain through all these books? Knowledge? Yes. What else? A method how to run my business? No. Anything else? Just as downloading the world’s entire Encyclopedia into your handheld device doesn’t make you smarter — storing all this information in your brains makes very little sense — especially when you cannot use it all. And today online — you have this — Information overload where every author, every coach, every internet marketer makes even more outlandish claims. And given the blind sheep that look for a ‘magic pill’ — this phenomenon of information overload will only grow.
So is reading a book a useful habit or Is it a useless habit?
Should you read 800 books to be smart and successful or should you read say 80 books?
Does reading book help you become happy? successful? rich? powerful?
After having read over 800 books, I even stopped keeping a count of how many books I read. In fact, today I read books only because I love reading books. I read them because I still yearn and hunger for knowledge to become a better person. And if I still do spend $100 to $500 every month buying books — its not because I am a Non-Fiction Book Junkie — rather it is because I am searching for that one idea, one concept, one line or even one word that may change my life and make me a better person — both for myself and the people who are important to me.
Today at the age of 40, I have just one goal — to make money, enjoy life and live each and everyday as if it were my last day on this planet. This what I have not only reminded myself — I have told my young wife — that even if we live for a few years — let us live it enjoying every moment of it — while maintaining a healthy balance for tomorrow.
However, as I look at my massive — and still expanding library collection — The Surprising Thing I have realized is that learning, growing and educating one’s mind never ends. It will never end. And even if you read 8 books, 80 books or 800 books — there is still no guarantee that what you read — may actually help you, benefit you or even change your life. And worst of all — what you may read, believe and accept today — may become invalid tomorrow.
So if you do plan on reading any book — read it with a view to not only enjoy the opinions and ideas of the author but ask yourself what is the one thing — just one thing you can use, apply and make a part of your everyday life to make you a better human being than what you were before you read that book. And if you could find that one thing — just one thing that you can apply to your life — then the entire journey of learning, growing and educating yourself would have been worth it.
In end, we all came from nothing. And one fine day, after we have been buried 6-feet underground — everything we have achieved, learnt and discovered — will also amount to nothing. So between the 1st nothingness and the last nothingness — lets make it a life worth living. And hopefully before you and I die — maybe, just maybe — we could come out with our own best-selling book and leave our legacy behind forever.