Yesterday, at 5:35 am, I finished my fourth book of 2014. It was Robert Greene's 'The 48 laws of power'. In this blogpost, I will explain why I push myself to read, why it's so important to me, and why I'm (sort of) glad that most people don't read.
Over the past couple of years, self-development has become really important to me. I realised at one point that if I don't work on improving myself in skills, physique, intelligence, personality and way of thinking, I would end up with a really shitty life. So I started reading books in order to grow.
What makes books so important? I'm a very practical person. I'm hands-on and more comfortable with doing things than talking or thinking about them. Books help me improve my weak side, the theoretical side of life, the abstract. (i.e. marketing, PR, social psychology, story telling, politics, boedhism,...) I exercise both my art skills and my physique, but I need brains in order to put that into good use. And the brain can be trained by reading and studying books.
Books give me a better sense of my lifes purpose. I can build or improve my own character and insights from the insights and stories from various books. For example, Seneca's 'Letters from a Stoic' has had a profound impact on the way I look at wealth, audience and morals. Here's one of his quotes:
'“A cheerful poverty is an honourable state” - Epicurus.
- But if it is cheerful it is not poverty at all.
It is not the man who has too little who is poor,
but the one who hankers after more.'
The books that I read all come recommended by my mentors, people that I look up to and am able to study in detail thanks to the internet. So everything I read has been read and approved by businessmen, millionaires, philosophers, thought-provokers,... leaders in their respective field of expertise. When I'm reading a book that comes highly recommended, I feel like I'm in the possession of something dangerous. Some kind of knowledge that a humble being like me shouldn't have.
At the same time I'm really happy. Because I know that I am gaining a competitive edge on everyone that is not familiar with whatever I'm reading. I'm getting smarter while other people are watching television or a new episode of their favorite series. I'm also unhappy because most people prefer to chill, not knowing that 10 years down the line, they'll still be chilling, with the same job, a slightly larger bank account and perhaps some new furniture. They don't realise what's possible when you mix a little bit of time with some effort.
A lot of people don't realize that years of mistakes, solutions, wisdom and knowledge, worth millions, can be contained in a book of €15. That's their mistake. If they don't want to put in one or two hours a day to read then that's their loss. I'm both happy and frustrated that most people don't realise the value of knowledge because it keeps them in their place. At their stupid little desks, working for someone who has had the brainpower to figure a few things out when others didn't.My bitterness is part of a larger issue I have with our modern day society, but never the less, I believe that the strive for knowledge has lost it's importance to people.
If you want to lead a life that will make you feel happy and content. That is differtent from what everybody else is doing. I recommended you that you stop doing what everyone else is doing and do something different. Read a book. Gain some knowledge. See how it affects your soul.
- Matthew Dawn