Think of the most successful person you know. If he or she were you mentor, what would you ask him or her?
Whatever they may be, well, they’ll be more than happy to tell you! For just a few dollars for unlimited access to this mentor, or for free if for a few weeks from this nerdy place called a library.
That’s right, we’re diving into the world of books in this post (why I have that bookworm category lingering there in that menu!), and I figured this would be the best first non-introductory post on this blog. Books have become such a huge part of my life the past few years and I believe are really the foundation of the way I live and think today.
I started reading regularly about three years ago. I was reading my college engineering textbooks inside and out. Only because my full ride scholarship was at stake.
I was more or less a straight B student in the beginning years of college. Flying by through high school so easily without any reading or studying with valedictorian status did not prepare me at all. Intro level general education classes were still simple enough to scrape by with A’s without any effort, but not for engineering. If I put in zero extra effort and simply put in the bare minimum (as in do all the homework, even all the extra credit and non-graded questions, and cramming a few night before), I’d be lucky to get a B in the class. Rereading notes on a regular basis helped solidify the B, but rarely did I even get the B+.
Reading sections before each lecture helped me ace all my classes. My engineering classes. All of them.
Unfortunately it was too late and I had lost that scholarship. However, the scars from that loss are what has built my foundation in reading today.
Even though they were simply college textbooks, and in the math and sciences, the way in which I read still applies. I skimmed the chapters before I jumped into them. I give myself a minute to think of questions to find answers to. I read them. And I asked myself questions that the read-through did not answer (The questions were so important since these would be the questions that I would ask the professor the day the chapter was covered, if the lecture didn’t answer them either).
All of my friends and classmates, even those in the engineering honor societies, would ask “How do you know all this?” “Just read!” “…that takes so much time!” And yes, my actual practical engineering skills did improve too, not just theoretical solving problems!
What if we applied this to everyday life, every day?
You already know the basic benefits to reading: vocabulary, memorization, imagination and creativity, smarts, etc. But don’t forget the actual life lessons – and every other kind of skill and lesson – we can pick up from the non-fiction books and how we can improve ourselves, in any and every way. Three main points I wanted to bring up in this post, especially as an aspiring full-stack creator:
1) Learn it all!
Learn the stories, the everyday lifestyles, of those who’ve actually pulled it off. Steve Jobs, Van Gogh, Mozart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and whoever else comes to mind. Learn how to make millions from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Learn how to teach, learn how to code. Learn how to think, how to not think. The information you can obtain from there – and the information on how to apply that information – is all there, and it’s limitless.
Learn how to focus. Focusing a block of time – twenty minutes, an hour, however long – without any interruptions from anything while you just read will carry you a long way through life. Reading articles and blogs like this will offer nice tidbits here and there, but with the nature of online content, they are are all too short to leave a permanent impression, or even a habit, in your mind. Heck, maybe a book on focus would make a nice start.
3) Actively Read
Learn how to interact with the books. Mark up the books (which is why I don’t borrow books, but your budget may be of higher priority at the moment). Forget the e-books (tl;dr: physical objects work better with the brain). And don’t forget about the questions for yourself.
Starting, and keeping, this reading habit will put you above everyone else so quickly. Ideas will become clearer, secrets will be revealed, and the road to the finish line will be revealed. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with the greatest idea for a startup company that will move humanity forward and net you millions! Maybe you’ll even have the skills to pull it off on your own. Or even if you’re not aiming for fame or riches, maybe you’ll be a more well-rounded human being who’s living comfortably with the most important things in life: family, friends, and love.
Get a mentor and start reading!
PS: Oh, and see what books I’m interested in at ! Just like this blog, creativity, design, development, and self-help are mostly what you’ll find on my list. Feel free to add me as a friend and/or message me there!