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.
About four years ago I decided to read 100 new books a year. I’ve kept up that habit until recently.
I stopped reading two new books a week because I forgot almost everything I learned more than a year earlier. And there’s no way you can remember even a quarter of a book you read three years ago.
I made this discovery this year when I started worrying about random things in my life. I thought, “Didn’t I deal with this issue years ago?”
And I was right, I’ve read a lot about worrying, I’ve coached people, and I even wrote a book about it. But I’m not a machine—I’m not immune to the challenges that we all face. No one is.
What’s your money strategy? Do you even have one?
If not, it’s not uncommon. Until two years ago, I didn’t have a financial plan, whatsoever.
Even though I’ve been reading about money, finance, and investing ever since I made my first few bucks as a teenager, I never created a financial plan.
But now, I think every single working professional needs a financial strategy. How do you spend your money? How much do you save? What are your thoughts about debt? How do you invest your money? How much money do you need to retire?
These are questions that every person who makes money must answer.
Let’s face it. If you want to retire comfortable (I’m not even talking about living a luxurious lifestyle), you need to get rich.
I love to learn. And reading is my favorite way to learn. But sometimes I get tired from reading. Do you know that feeling?
I try to read two books per week. But when I’m working on a lot of things, and have an irregular schedule, like the past three months, I tend to read less.
But no matter what’s going on in my life, I must read at least one book a week. Why? Reading is simply my favorite time of the day. Reading gives me energy and new ideas. That’s why I do it.
But for the last three months, I’ve been working on a lot of things. We opened a new office, and I spent a lot of time with my hands tied: Moving, decorating, putting together new desks, painting walls, building a garage-gym in our warehouse, you name it.
Every piece of personal or professional growth you achieve in life starts with one thing: Self-knowledge.
Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher, who lived in the 6th century BC, put it best:
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
Whether you want to make a million bucks, build a strong relationship with your partner, or get in the best shape of your life — you can’t improve yourself without knowing yourself.
Self-knowledge is a skill, not a trait, talent, or divine insight. I used to live my life without one bit of introspection. Naturally, I had no idea who I was. Now, I’m getting better at it with practice. And the impact on my life has been huge.