The Importance of Reading and Keeping Your Mind OPEN

mocha moments

My cousin’s oldest daughter does not read anything except that which she must! She is 14. Knowing that I am an avid reader, on a recent trip Trinidad, my cousin asked me to have a chat with her about her dislike for reading. Now I learned long ago from Dale Carnegie – that a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still so my approach wasn’t to convince her to read but to share some of the benefits of reading: seeing how others strung words together, seeing different styles, increasing ones vocabulary, discovering new ways to use words you thought you knew.

Yesterday I came across a blog post by Jonathan Fields called How to Get Your Mojo Back and Do Big Things TODAY. He saved me a ton of work organizing my own thoughts about the steps that we all must take on this journey called life if we want to live our best and give our best. But it was the blog post WITHIN the blog post that had the biggest impact. Jonathan said:

Things like mission statements, painted pictures, perfect-day exercises, outcome visualizations, they can all help you understand where you’re going and what your personal metrics for success are.

But, when you’re in the part of any quest I call The Thrash, ,<—-(this is the post within the post 🙂 ) you often don’t yet have a clear beat on your metrics for success. But you still need something to strive for. To measure. To know if you’re moving forward, backward or sideways.

This is the first time I’ve seen anywhere a description of what it feels like on this journey to greatness – where you keep pushing your boundaries, exorcising your fears and oftentimes not knowing what the F you’re doing!

In Jonathan’s words:

So, here’s the interesting thing about the early days of any visionary journey, there’s a whole lot of thrashing that goes on.

It needs to go on. But most visionaries don’t talk about that “dark” time. Because it’s not sexy. It doesn’t feel good or look good to others. Nor do the great creators tend to get any public attention until after the thrash yields a clear enough vision for them to become unwavering pulled toward a quest. The spotlight loves heroes and legends, not WTFs…

We feel bad when we’re in the thrash because all the luminaries we place on pedestals seem to have their stuff so together, seem to be so insanely focused on the one and only thing that matters. And dammit why can’t we be them? Thing is, those same people thrashed mightily before arriving in a place of mission. And they will again.

The thrash needs to happen. Hiding the conversation around this part of every visionary creator’s epic journey makes those currently in the thrash feel inadequate. You look at your heroes and assume “they never thrashed, so what’s wrong with me?”

Which is why READING is so important. We don’t know everything. I have been experiencing the THRASH yet did not have a name for it and of course thought that I was the only person with this experience. How wrong I was!

This is how we learn, how we unlearn, how we integrate new ideas, throw out things that no longer serve us – through the written word! Some may argue that you can just talk to people to find out what’s going on with them. That coaches and teachers will always give you the 411. I think that people tend to be a little more comfortable writing about the “dark” patches versus talking about it out loud. When you’re in a one and one – people want to project the BEST aspects of any situation and skim quickly over the murky, less palatable areas in summary sentences. Writing allows a person to explore in depth, so you get the REAL-ness of the situation.

My advice to my cousin’s daughter was to find books about things that were interesting to her and to get summaries for the less interesting but important topics. Experiment with her choices.

I agree that my way is not THE way but I certainly could not do the work I do without all the reading that I expose myself to. Instead of creating with just one or two  ideas, I have a surfeit thanks to the courage of those willing to organize and put words on paper and then of course share them through books, articles, and blog posts. Thank you all writers in the world!

Reading these books at the moment –


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