You read too much.
There, I said it. Stop reading. Don’t get sucked into the trap of more is better. It isn’t. Just yesterday I received 3 emails. To paraphrase:
• I just finished “X” workout and have been training for 5 years. I’m bored with my workouts. What book can you recommend that’s different? I’m looking for a challenge.
• I’ve seen what you do on Facebook. What books can I read to learn about marketing?
• I like the way you write. Can you recommend books that will teach me how to write?
No. I cannot and will not recommend you a book because I want to actually help. Recommending a book will continue you along your path of obedience.
There are two books on writing, 1 on marketing, and 1 on writing sales copy. That’s all. Until you’ve read and thoroughly contemplated these you don’t need anything else. They are:
Last week I wrote about the artist as being somebody who innovates. Click here to read that first to get some background of my definition of an artist.
Here’s why I think you should stop reading so much.
The Artist as a Reader
The artist doesn’t read. They study. They think. They become empowered.
Too many have become a slave to self-help books. They’re constantly searching for answers without realizing that, with some introspection and contemplation, they have all the answers inside of them. They rush through a book only to proudly display it on their shelf and move on to the next. The only benefit they get out of that book is by feeling smart when they tell their friends about it.
I used to have a rule to read 2hrs a day everyday. Plowing through the pages books it accounted for a lot of my early success. I didn’t think deeply about what I was reading but I was working in a gym 12hrs a day testing everything.
My studying took place on the gym floor and my thinking was unconscious. It wasn’t time-efficient and could only bring me so far. I burnt out and never felt empowered. My search for the next book was endless and my development plateaued.
Then I stopped reading
Actually I didn’t stop. I became selective. I learned to cut the fat from the unfortunate realities of most non-fiction books. I don’t need to read 20 stories illustrating the same point just to fluff up the book, so I skip them. When finished I take a minimum of a week for 1 hour a day to sit with a notepad by myself. I write my thoughts on what I thought the background theory was that the author was trying to get across.
Quickly I realized my mistake and the mistake most of you are making. You don’t look past the superficial. You focus on the how and not the why.
The artist as a reader understands why the system is successful. They know that the specifics don’t matter.
I’ve never studied marketing. I started to read a University textbook and put it down within 2 hours because I felt it was out of date. Instead I read a couple of books to understood the basics and watched and watched… and watched. I watched with an inquisitive eye everything that was going on around me. Stuff like:
• Why does one sign on a busy street jump out and others don’t?
• Why does a jingle stay in your head for years while others don’t?
I became fascinated by the power of messages but most notably I watched the social media feed like a hawk. Patterns started to emerge and I developed theories pertaining to the following questions:
• Why does one article gain traction with subpar info while another high quality article disappears?
• Who shares? Why do they share? Are there any patterns? What type of material shares?
• What type of commenting is happening on posts? Do people really want to add to the conversation? Are there conscious or unconscious motivations to a comment on a Facebook post?
Reading didn’t lead to my success. Keen observation, an insatiable desire to succeed, and following my intuition did. I have 3 rules:
- If I’m bored with what I put out it probably sucks.
- If I get a bad feeling about a person I don’t work with them.
- If I don’t understand why something gains traction and becomes successful you better be damn sure I’m going to find out.
So Why Do You Read?
Do you read because you want to get better? Maybe you read because you want to learn something new? Is it because you want to make more money? Maybe you want to have more freedom?
Hopefully it’s all of the above.
Time is your most valuable commodity. Every second reading could also be used creating, testing, building, and innovating.
A book is a tool and is meant to empower you. The author does not want you to copy them, instead learn from their experience. The artist takes the time to understand the theory in the books they read and knows that systems are specific to the population they were designed for.
Stop being a slave to the books that you read. Learn to read and analyze like an artist. Innovate and always remember to follow your intuition.
You might be thinking, “who is this jerk telling me to stop reading?” or maybe you think I’m right and want to give me a massive internet bro high five. Comment below and let me know what you think. Feel free to add me as a friend on Facebook as well.