“We all want things in life that are on the higher shelves. We can reach those shelves by standing on the books we read.” - Jim Rohn.
Imagine it just being that easy. All you have to do is read some books and you can change your life. It couldn’t be you say... or could it actually be that easy? Yes it can. Or, it can be as hard as you want. It is easy. Just like skiing, or playing baseball, or rock climbing, or becoming a physician. Or it can be hard. Just like skiing, or playing baseball, or rock climbing, or becoming a physician.
It’s easy like playing guitar and finally learning to get that b-flat while not mixing up your strumming. Another example is learning to ride your bike for the first time, without the training wheels. It’s just as easy to learn to finally tie that reef knot, or jibe without rocking the boat. Or it can be hard, like learning to type, fixing your computer or learning to dive off the 5-metre board. It is what you make of it. Easy or hard, it is in your head.
Changing your life by reading is just like anything else that you have achieved. You got where you are today by making choices. All you need is choice and the will to want to make it happen. This is the key point. If you want to make a change in your life, you must change. You cannot remain the same and simply expect things to change.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” - Benjamin Franklin
The ability to change our life is within us all. It is more than simply wanting to make that change. It is a decision. If you do any research on anyone who has ever accomplished anything, they didn’t always know how they were going to do it. They just knew they were going to do it.
In terms of where you are right now in your life, take an inventory of all the things around you. Your home, your children, your bike, your family, your stereo; whatever you consider to be important. It could be your bank account, or lack of bank account, your good health or your poor health. If you want to change those things for the better, you must first change the way you think.
If you change the way you think, you will change the way you act. If you change the way you act, you will change your results. By changing your results, you will change your life. It’s called personal development. Leaders are those who are willing to go the extra step – and the first step they take is in developing to become more than who they are today. If you can’t help yourself, how can you lead and help others?
How can personal development change your life? Let’s look at the journey of personal development and compare it to joining the gym to get in better shape and lose weight. It’s called the “slight edge affect.” The slight edge affect is measuring the affects of daily activities over a period of months or years.
The lesson in this exercise is that all the little things add up. Repeat this out loud. THE LITTLE THINGS ADD UP. For good or bad, the little things add up. You need to make the choice in which direction you want to go.
Finding your leader within starts with a desire to make a change and then make a commitment to do the little things that will let your leadership skills flourish. Start your personal development reading routine today and read for 30 minutes. Pick up the same book the next day and read another 30 minutes. Do that same thing every day for 30 - 45 days. Don’t look sideways, don’t expect results. Don’t second-guess what you are doing. Just read every day.
Deciding what to read really depends on what you want to change in your life. I guarantee that what ever you want to change, there is a topic at the bookstore. You can find the perfect mentor to lead and guide you simply by picking books that resonate with you and where you want to go in life. Personally, I wanted my business to increase. So in order for my business to improve, I had to improve. I started my research and found my way to a book named “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Fast forward to today and in less than two years I have read about 20 books. Some I have read two and three times. The number of books I have read is not great by any account, however, how those books have affected my business and more importantly, my life, has had a profound affect. My personal favourite is “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. Other authors I recommend are Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, Charles, David Schwartz, James Allen, Don Migual Ruiz, Robert Kiyosaki, and Donald Trump. These are only a small number in a list of dozens of great authors on personal development.
So what does personal development have to do with leadership? The first aspect of leadership is knowing what your limitations are. Reading will teach you about the limitations you never knew you had.
You cannot develop others beyond what they are capable before you experience it yourself. You cannot develop yourself unless you are willing to bring yourself beyond what you are currently capable. Or in other words, you must get out of your comfort zone.
Getting out of your comfort zone is the first phase of becoming a leader. You must be the leader to develop the leader in yourself. You must start and not be afraid of making mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and learn again. You must learn to change yourself; you must change your thoughts.
Say that again. TO CHANGE YOURSELF, YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS.
In the next breath say… FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. I started training in the art of Kung Fu at the age of twenty. I earned my black sash some five years later and by the age of twenty-seven I decided I would start teaching. I called my teacher, told him of my intentions and asked for advice so I could start out right. I will never forget those simple words “No, you must learn as I have, learn by your wits and your training.”
At first I thought it was cold to leave me to make the same mistakes as so many had before me. It took me some time of making mistakes, confusing those whom I taught before I learned exactly what he meant. I had built a small but strong school in those two years, but I had done it myself. I had learned that making mistakes and learning from those mistakes was my leadership development. In order for me teach, I decided I must be prepared to make mistakes. I developed leadership by moving from my comfort zone.
I learned the power of leadership from experience and developed a confidence that has not been shaken since. When I took stock in my business and realized I must change myself to change my business, I started the path of personal development. After about 40 days of steady reading did I notice the change in results of my business practice. Shortly after, I was taken aside by my business partner and mentor, and was quietly congratulated for the change in my mindset. Only then did I realize I had developed leadership by moving beyond my own limitations. Once again, I developed leadership by moving from my comfort zone.
Upon reflection, I made the parallel between my Kung Fu training and my business training. It is one and the same: to better yourself by changing the way you think. Leadership is within us, some is taught and some we learn.
It is a decision, plus action in order to achieve your results. To quote a noteworthy phrase, “Knowledge is Power”, however, you must apply your knowledge through action for there to be power. To change your attitude, you must change your attitude! For example, instead of watching TV, read a book. Make a decision by removing the negative things or people in your life. Join a different gym. Spend less time at the bars and volunteer at a community center.
Anybody who ever accomplished anything needed to bring themselves beyond their current reality. By reading, and allowing the knowledge and experiences of others to guide and lead you, you will start to face those limitations you never knew you had.
Once you move beyond and defeat a limitation, move out of your comfort zone and complete a task or assignment, you will gain a confidence you never knew you had. Then the most amazing thing will happen. You will do it again... and again. Once you feel the power of accomplishment, keep reading and keep improving for that will teach you more. Keep feeling the fear and doing it anyway. There will always be fear. The way to defeat fear is through action.
“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet” – Nadai Comaneci.
To Your Success!
By Andy Geldart
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