How often have you finished a book and tucked it away on your bookshelf? Or how often have you borrowed a book, read it, and returned it?
There’s a difference between reading and living a book. Most of us simply read books. And that’s a good thing because you can read hundreds of books, but you can only live a handful.
But why would you even live a book? And what does it mean to live a book?
When you live a book, you make the philosophy of the book your own. You use the ideas in the book as a way of life. I first learned about this idea this year when I read Philosophy As A Way Of Life by Pierre Hadot.
The world is full of paradoxes. One of the biggest is the tradeoff between having high and low expectations.
On the one hand, we need to expect to win at life, otherwise; what’s the point of even trying? But on the other hand, we can’t be discouraged when we lose.
The two different concepts are perfectly explained by the following two quotes.
- “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” — Zig Ziglar
- “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”― Alexander Pope
No matter how old you are or what type of role you have in life, there are times you’re a follower, and there are times you’re a leader.
I don’t care whether you’re in high school or leading a firm with 500 people, some situations require leadership.
- When you get in trouble with your group or friends at school, there must be one person who takes ownership and apologizes.
- When your company has to deal with a huge setback, there must be people who lead the way toward growth.
- When your relationship with your partner is on the line, one of you must commit to improving it.
You see, when people talk and write about leadership, we often assume that you need a title to be a leader. “A CEO or president, that’s a leader,” is what most of us falsely assume.
How many books does a person read in a lifetime? I did the arithmetic one night over beers with a friend.
First, we established that averages are useless. Some statistics say that people read 12 books per year on average. There are always a few people who read more than 100 books a year. So that number is inflated.
Based on our experiences, most people we know only read a book that’s popular. For example, this year’s book was 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson. Most people read books because “everybody has read this book!”
And then they might pick up one or two other books in a year. They probably won’t even finish them. But let’s be optimistic about people and assume most folks read 5 books a year. Over a 50-year career, that’s only 250 books.
Our time on this planet is limited. Most of us realize that sooner or later. And yet, we keep on squandering our time and running around in circles.
Why is it that we waste so much of our time? Most people think that we, humans, don’t understand the value of time.
I don’t think that’s the problem. You and I both know the value of time. It’s a depletable resource. By that definition, the value of time is high.
So if the problem is not our appreciation of time, what’s the cause of a waste of time and potential?
The answer is obvious: We simply don’t know what to do with our time. The stoic philosopher Seneca famously said in On The Shortness Of Life:
What does it take to be successful? No matter what your definition of success is, you know that it’s not easy to achieve it.
Even a simple definition of success like “I want to live life on my own terms” requires hard work. Every sane person who aspires to live a good life understands that.
But when people start talking about the things you have to give up for success, I think they are going down a dark path. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life; under no circumstances should you “sacrifice” anything.
“But what about all the hard work you’re talking about? I need to sacrifice all the other things I want to do.”
The answer to that question is simple. No one said it better than Tony Robbins:
What’s your personal finance strategy? If you asked me a few years ago, I would probably laugh it off: “I’ll leave that for tomorrow.”
Dumb move. If you don’t have a personal finance strategy, there’s a chance you will never get wealthy. The average millennial earns $40-$50K a year and has $20-$40K in student debt.
But the high achieving millennial earns up to 7X more than the average. The same is true for people of all ages. The difference between average earners and above-earners is huge.
Once I realized that, I got serious about money. But I didn’t focus on making more money—a mistake that many of us make. We always think more cash is the solution to everything.
“All my problems will be solved once I have a little bit more cash on hand.” Sorry to disappoint you, but that will never happen. As your bank account grows, your problems will too.