Reading

Over the last three years, I have read more material – books, blogs and manifestos – than at any other time in my life.

It has changed my life.

I have written about this before, but, having immersed myself in the technical aspects of law for nearly 20 years, I shut off a swathe of important material that would, I’m sure, have opened my eyes, much earlier, to a new beginning.

You might say, “Who cares?” And, I can understand your point of view.

But, the point is an important one. Do we read enough (or any) of the right material?

I’m not suggesting that reading is the only method for learning or changing perspective, but its purview is often beyond measure.

Of course, we all know, reading is only the start. You have to go much further:

  1. Apply the knowledge in your life.
  2. Share the principles with other people.
  3. Teach the principles.
  4. Walk the talk (think of mindfulness).

I suppose my plea is to encourage everyone to read more. But, more than that, to start a new self-development programme based on areas of your life where you know nothing or need to get better (listening, leadership and emotional intelligence aren’t bad places to begin).

Balance is critical. You don’t want to disappear down a rabbit hole. In fact, you should read around areas that have no direct applicability to your job and see where the journey takes you. As a case in point, I have a book on my desk on cloud watching. I have no idea what I might come away with but I was recommended the book and I thought I would give it a whirl.

I know time is against you, but you have to discipline yourself to find a space every day to read at least one or two pages. Trust me that when you force yourself everyday to read something it becomes second nature in the same way as any other daily routine.

One final point, although I am a bit of a sucker for book recommendations, don’t follow the herd. Lift up a few crazy rocks and see what you find.

If you do stumble across something that changes your thinking (or your life), I would love to hear from you. One book that fits this category is Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.


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