5 Books That Changed My Life
If you are like me before I discovered how to break my chains and change my life, you probably felt like life dealt you a bad hand and there wasn't a lot you can do about it.
You probably had trouble finding out how and where to start changing your life for the better. Everyone around you doubted you'd ever reach your seemingly far fetched goals and did nothing but criticize and discourage you.
The job you work at is unfulfilling, and seems like you won't ever have an opportunity to find something better. You even try going back to school so you can attempt to improve your career, but that takes years. Even after you finish there's no guarantee you will get a job that is any more fulfilling than your last.
This is what I went through for years until I realized that there's another way. I felt like I might be trapped forever struggling to escape the rat race.
I haven't completely escaped the rat race, but it's only a matter of time. Actually, you will get the opportunity to watch me escape as it happens.
I found a way to design my life exactly how I want it to be slowly over time. I want you to see how to bridge the gap between a dream and a dream come to life.
The most important thing that has provided me with the ability to make my dreams reality is reading books. I will share five that have had the greatest impact on my life, and literally transformed me into a better person.
I was once a golf caddy at a country club in a northern suburb of the city of Chicago. I worked there with my cousins and friends, and one day my cousin and one of his friends were singing a song that had a lyric mentioning 'I have a million dollar habit'. I can't remember the name of the song or artist.
After reciting the lyric, my cousin said, 'I would never want to end up with a million dollar habit.'
This caught my attention and I asked him, 'why not?'
He and his friend both said in unison, 'why the hell would you?'
At this time I had just gone through one of the most devastating experiences in my life, and had a tremendous breakthrough. So I was making the choice to change the way I saw everything.
So I replied, 'not all habits are bad habits, and maybe you can have habits that make you a million dollars instead of spending a million on that habit.'
They both stared at me like I lost my mind and said, 'how the hell can you have a habit that makes you a million dollars?'
I told them, 'well I'm not entirely sure, but I know it's possible.'
We argued about it for a while without either side proving anything. So we agreed to disagree.
When I got home later that day that was still on my mind. So I decided to Google 'million dollar habits'. The very first link was from Amazon for Brian Tracy's book Million Dollar Habits.
I purchased the ebook right away and began reading.
I couldn't put it down. I completed it in under three days, and by the time I put it down, I felt like a different person.
There were so many things I put into action and made into habits. The most valuable one that literally changed my life forever was the habit of reading one hour a day everyday.
In the book, it said that if you made a habit of reading one hour a day in any subject for a year, you will have the equivalent of a bachelors degree in that subject.
Being a man that never completed college, I saw tremendous value in it. I always struggled in school, but I was passionate about learning. This book gave me the confidence to know that I can achieve any goal I wanted to as long as I was willing to provide myself with the necessary education and apply it to my life.
It's been almost ten years since I read Million Dollar Habits, and I read and listen to audiobooks an average of 2 hours a day.
This habit lead me into a career that normally requires a college degree and I still don't have one. I sometimes feel like I don't need it except for the desire to someday add the Dr prefix to my name.
Brian Tracy has many other amazing books, but this one I will never forget. It freed me from the shackles of self doubt and limited thinking.
For a long time I struggled with emotional stability. It really showed a lot in my personal relationships with women I was romantically involved with.
I often had trouble connecting with women on an intimate level. My relationships never lasted very long because the initial charm that women found attractive wore off and my flaws came out.
I luckily saw the pattern and sought to change it. I started out learning the art of 'pick up', but this offered no long term value.
Eventually I found a YouTube video clip of a man named David DeAngelo called On Being A Man. So I found a complete version of the program and watched it.
David DeAngelo did the program with a guy named Dr. Paul Dobransky, and I found his material to be brilliant.
I also found another program they did together called Deep Inner Game. This is where Dr Paul shared his theoretical material from his book called Mind OS.
I bought the book and followed along through the program. This material provided easy to understand diagrams that you can use to help you solve any problem you have going on in your life.
It also helped me understand how to psychologically develop as a man without trying to pretend like I've already become whatever I want to be. I learned how to value the journey along the way.
You don't want to be stuck intellectualizing the material. Application is a necessity. I had trouble applying the material, but I eventually sought out a therapist and when I told her I wanted to work on something, she held me accountable.
If it weren't for this book, I probably wouldn't have even sought out a therapist. It's very easy to act like you're making changes on the surface, but underneath my issues were still strong and showed up when I least wanted them to.
This book helped me find the courage to explore my personal issues in a healthy way.
This is another book that was introduced to me through David DeAngelo. I believe in most of his programs he recommends it.
So I bought the book and ended up reading it in only a few days.
Many would see the title and think, 'well I consider myself a pretty honest person so what value can this book offer me?'
It's what I thought myself, but when I began reading it, I realized I wasn't as honest as I thought. I was only as honest as I need to be.
My idea of honesty was superficial. I needed to be transparent to the point where my inner feelings were expressed without fear. I also didn't seem to always be completely honest with myself.
After reading this book, I was able to practice truth telling on scale many would normally fear. Although this was one of the most challenging things I ever had to learn, my levels of stress decreased dramatically over the years.
I was freed from the shackles of chronic stress by simply changing my perception about honesty.
I read this book at least once every year to keep the lessons fresh in my mind.
Over the years after I read Million Dollar Habits, I made many attempts to start an online business. I didn't succeed until recently, but I picked up a lot of valuable information along the way.
I ran into so many people with 'online businesses' that I was overwhelmed with information and it was very difficult to tell what had value and what didn't. Slowly I learned how to recognize the differences. The companies that had value demonstrated unique characteristics.
The major difference was the obvious results that customers would share freely. All you had to do was pay attention to what the company was offering, and look for the results they provided.
At this time I had already been fully immersed in self education for a few years, and I realized I was beginning to run into a gap I couldn't seem to bridge.
I could envision the goals I wanted to achieve, but I didn't know the steps to reach them. So I started looking for people with successful startups and tried to reverse engineer them.
I luckily stumbled upon one, but I wouldn't really describe him as successful. He had a website that seemed to be unfinished, but a great idea (unfortunately I can't remember what it was).
He mentioned he had been self employed for a few years and honestly that's the only thing that I heard that meant anything to me. I wanted to be self employed, and he accomplished that goal fairly recently.
If I wanted to follow in his footsteps, I would need to find out how he became self employed. Luckily he provided that information freely with a series of videos he created.
In one of his videos he mentioned that he learned how to create his business model while reading The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, and he recommended we read it before attempting to try his method.
So I bought the book and began reading. I finished it in two days I was so amazed by the valuable information in it. He had a story that I really could relate to also.
Tim Ferriss never took the intuitive approach to anything. He found ways to overcome obstacles most people couldn't see, or were probably too afraid to try. This was what was most intriguing about his book.
The most interesting ideas he shared were his lifestyle design methods. This screamed freedom at me. All I wanted for years was to be able to live life the way I wanted, and not based on a schedule that I was given.
Growing up I was always told to do well in school so I can get into a good college, and do well in college only to get a good job. Tim Ferriss was the exception to that line of thought.
His book only reinforced the ideas I had and goals I set for myself that sprouted after reading Million Dollar Habits. I had tangible proof that anything is possible even when the odds are stacked against you.
Becoming a full time web developer after being a caddy for almost a decade without a college degree is evidence of the results after applying the lessons from this book.
Finally we have a book that I was given to read as a task during my orientation for a leadership program I was a part of. I had never heard of Malcolm Gladwell before and I worked really hard to get accepted into this leadership program that I so badly wanted to successfully complete.
So I completed the book over the weekend just before I started my first day at the program. I have to say that even if it weren't assigned to me I would not be able to put this book down after reading the first paragraph.
I instantly understood why it was given as a reading assignment. This book was a motivator. It would help me shape my greatest habits and provide me with the blueprint to become an Outlier.
Why do I want to be an Outlier? Outliers are people that seem to accomplish great things most couldn't even dream of, and they make it seem effortless. I want to reach my greatest potential, and this book can help me make that happen.
Gladwell speaks about putting in your 10,000 hours in order to master your craft. The people who become Outliers put in even more.
I decided to pursue a career in web development and wanted to put in 10,000 hours of programming. When I read Outliers I was halfway there. So I doubled my efforts to accelerate my chances of getting hired full time.
I finally was hired under a year later. With over 10,000 hours behind me, I'm looking to pursue a new skill. Writing.
Now that I know what kind of results I can get, I'm confident that I can master the skill of writing too. I just have to practice.
10,000 hours seems like a lot, but when you enjoy it, it's worth it. The ultimate payoff is being able to do what you enjoy and possibly transform it into a career.
All five of these books I believe will give you tremendous insight. If you really want your life to improve these will be a great start.
I've read each more than once, and try to apply all of the ideas in them in my life daily. These books will be a waste of time time and brain space if you don't apply the lessons in them.
I have gone from being a golf caddy, to a full time web developer, to a published author. If you asked me ten years ago if I thought this was possible, I probably would laugh at you.
Honestly I thought I would be a successful rapper/producer back then. So I probably would never bring myself to believing it.
Becoming a web developer wasn't even something I considered, and writing a book was something I figured I'd do when I was in my 40's and music was becoming an afterthought.
I think if I never had that argument with my cousin, I would still be a caddy hoping to change my life. I read books, but not like these. I would get books about poker, and easy reads that didn't really offer much value.
If you have already read any of these, please leave a comment below telling me what they have done for you. How did you feel after you finished reading?