I Graduated College Without Reading a Single Book

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I graduated from college and never read a single book.  I’m still not entirely sure if that makes me smart or stupid.  My transcripts would indicate this was an extremely poor plan.   

So that’s not entirely true, I actually read a book titled “My Losing Season” at the end of my senior year because it was recommended to me by a mentor who knew what kind of year I was having.  It was a frighteningly accurate depiction of my life at the time written by someone who had gone through the same thing 30 year prior.  I read it in a week, probably because it had pictures.  

For the record, I’m a terrible reader even when I’m interested in a topic.  I can read one page for 20 mins and still have no recollection of what my eyes just saw.  

When I decided I wanted to be good at business years ago (still working on that) I knew I needed to figure out a plan to consume information.  

I started with audiobooks because I was in the car a lot during my transit to and from work.  It worked pretty well, but sometimes I just wanted to listen to Jay-Z.  So sometimes it worked, but I found out my ability to listen was solely predicated on the voice of the author.  That made the plan hit or miss, but  a step in the right direction.  

Then I found some books that captured my interest.  I tried reading a chapter a day or for an hour because other people had told me to try that. It didn’t work but I was inching my way  there.  

I tried reading at night and couldn’t even make it one paragraph into the page before I was passed out.  It didn’t work, this was actually a step backwards.

Finally I decided that I was trying TOO MUCH.  This was a classic failure by someone who doesn’t understand behavior change.  It only took 14 year for me to figure out……….

Now I read 10 pages a day, regardless of my interest or where the book is taking me.  It takes minimal time, keeps me interested and allows me to use that minimal information each day.  I’ve gotten better but some days are still a struggle.  

That’s twelve 300 page books a year…..  I read on average 20 books a year now.  This is significantly less than a lot of people but far more than most. But the important thing is this is a monumental accomplishment for me……because it was a plan I could stick to.

The best plans are the ones we follow.  Even the worst plan can be effective if we stick to it.  

If we want to change our behavior (Money, exercise, nutrition relationships are all behavior based) we have to put a plan together.  

The plan should be one that we agree to, not one that someone else made because IT’S PERFECT.  Guess what?  That’s not a thing.

The plan should be simple, it should be easy and it should have minimal effect on our current behaviors.  Over time those minimal changes compound and become big changes.

We have to be honest with ourselves when we make these plans.  I’m not meal prepping on Sundays because I know I won’t do it.  I have to come up with alternate ways to navigate that.  I will spend money if its in my account, so I found ways to move it out so I don’t see it.  Now I operate with less money.  

Those small changes become big changes and those bad behaviors are replaced with good ones. 

There’s no perfect plan.  The only thing that makes it good is it’s effectiveness. Just like the only good coaching cue is the one that gets the athlete to do what we want.  

The value is not in the plan itself, it’s in the planning and the revising of the plan.  That’s where we learn.  

What’s the one thing you want to change?  What’s your plan?

Fern