How to extract value from EVERYTHING you read

Many persons read good books, but say they do not get much good out of them. They do not realize that all any book or any lesson or course can do is to awaken them to their possibilities; to stimulate them to use their will power.

You may teach a person from now until doom’s day, but that person will only know what he learns himself.

You can lead him to the fountain, but you can’t make him drink.

I extracted these paragraphs from the first chapter in Theron Q. Dumont’s book called ‘The Power of Concentration’.

We are all very different and so it is impossible to give instructions that will be of the same value to all.

I recently read, for example, a story of how this guy went from a C student to a prestigious college graduate.

Matt Rizvi definitely is self-aware.

This is what he said:

I’ll admit it…

I was not a good student in high school.

In fact, I was lucky to graduate.

And it’s only thanks to some extra effort in my senior year that I squeaked out a 2.35 GPA.

It’s not that classes were hard.

I was lazy.

But even more than that, I was complacent because I had a “safety net.”

You see, I grew up in Virginia.

And like many states, the public universities in VA have deals with local community colleges where they’ll automatically accept transfer students if they:

  • have good grades
  • complete certain gen-ed requirements
  • and graduate with their associates degree

So that’s exactly what I did.

After high-school, I went to New River Community College.

And because it was my last chance to get into a 4-year Uni, I didn’t mess around.

I went to (almost) all my classes and graduated with a 3.89 GPA (chemistry screwed my perfect 4.0).

And as a result, I got accepted into The College of William & Mary — a prestigious school that’s taught 4 U.S. Presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler), it’s considered a “Public Ivy,” and it’s the 2nd oldest college in America (behind Harvard).

But here’s the thing…

I would’ve never done well in community college if I didn’t have that urgency.

And it’s been a recurring theme in my life.

I only get uber productive when I’m slammed with tight deadlines and have to get things done (or else).

Just consider…

After I spent 3 years working for Agora, I started getting complacent again.

I was “fat and happy” with all the royalties I squirreled away in the bank.

So I felt like it was finally time for me to leave and take a chance at my own biz.

But honestly, it didn’t go well at first.

I had too much time and money on my hands.

There was no need for me to be successful right away.

It was a gift. But also a curse.

And as a result, it wasn’t until I burned through a year’s worth of savings that I really started to buckle down, get my shit together, and get some real traction in my own business.

So what’s the lesson here?

Well in my case (this isn’t the same for everyone), I work best when the stakes are HIGH.

I need to keep my feet to the flames if I want to stay productive and avoid the complacency curse.

Now, I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean I need to constantly throw away money.

Instead, I try to keep myself booked with more projects and commitments than I think I can handle.

Because even though it may be overwhelming at first…

I always seem to miraculously rise to the challenge and push myself further than I thought possible.

Up until this point, we might see some aspects of ourselves in Matt but be careful…

**Matt did say that this isn’t the same for everyone and he’s right except he concludes this essay with:

So if you’re struggling with complacency yourself, do what I do:

  • Give yourself LOTS of tight deadlines.
  • Raise the stakes.
  • And use urgency to your advantage.

How can you extract value and apply what you’ve read, in a way that makes sense for you?

You need to start looking for patterns in your life, just like Matt did. You are naturally motivated to do things in a particular kind of way. Initially Matt described himself as lazy when really he is perhaps intrinsically motivated to overcome or meet challenges.

Which is why Matt’s prescription at the end is not one that you blindly follow without first understanding yourself. And the way you can start doing that, is to look back, just as Matt did, and note how you behaved in the past in various situations.

Theron said it best: As most people are very different, it is impossible to give instructions that will be of the same value to all.

The Purpose of the written word is to share insights, examples, and provide some guidance but the real learning comes when what we read, awakens something in our soul, perhaps something that the book did not express; and we get to take that which applies to us and benefit in a deep and meaningful way.

If you need help in understanding what drives you to achieve certain outcomes and the unique opportunities that accompany those drives then “get in touch” via the contact form you will find at the bottom of this page.

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