The path to mastery is filled with lots of ups and downs.
Sometimes it is easy to read a book a week, the knowledge flowing through me like a magical elixir. But sometimes it’s difficult and even with the application of a slight edge philosophy, reading a book a week and translating its data into actionable information is just plain tough.
The month of February was one of those tougher months for me. Still, its important to note that persistence, consistence, and insistence can overwhelm otherwise tough circumstances. Add in the power of optimism and a growth mindset and indeed, anything is possible.
This body of knowledge that is readily available for me to draw upon is the reason why I read. It’s invaluable in the perspective it provides and there is nothing more valuable than a positive perspective and a higher sense of purpose.
♦ Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy. The information in this book is simply game changing. Its most fundamental piece of information is that we can shape our thoughts through our body language and actions. Our thoughts shape our future; we can use our body to influence our future or as Cuddy puts it, we can fake it till we become it. When you learn to control your thoughts and actions by using your body, you can become more present, which translates into becoming more powerful. When we are present, we exude confidence, passionate enthusiasm, self-assured enthusiasm, and a natural comfort conducive to success. I dedicated a month to reading and applying the principles learned in the book and think about its principles daily. My post for the Outwork Book Club is here.
♦ The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup by Neil Strauss. I read this partly out of curiosity and partly for entertainment. Still, I learned a lot about persistence and what can happen when you devote yourself completely towards obtaining a goal. I learned a great deal about self-regulation and self-awareness. I learned that anything can be hacked, even the simple conversations between a guy and a girl at a bar. Nothing is protected from those willing to work, to study, to learn and to master — not even the innocent meeting between two people on a mutual playing field. Everything can be deconstructed and scientifically manipulated to suit those willing to put in the time and effort. I wrote about what I learned from the story’s protagonist and author here.
♦ Marketing by Brian Tracy. The meat and potatoes of Marketing can be found in this small, easy to read handbook. It gets straight to the point and doesn’t spend too much time talking about other things besides Marketing. It does define what a market is and how to figure out if your product or service is viable within an existing market. My favorite quote from the book is that marketing is a skill that can be learned, fine-tuned, and ultimately mastered, “marketing is a skill set that can and must be learned by keeping certain ideas and concepts in mind continually, and by asking certain vital questions regularly.” I wrote about the product/market fit and its importance to an entrepreneur here.
♦ Hero Habits by Hugh Culver. This was a free eBook that I received from subscribing to Hugh Culver’s newsletter. It’s not a very groundbreaking book but it reinforced the principles of character building by using discipline as a vehicle to build willpower. He has some very sound tips for each of his eight hero habits: sleep, mornings, listening, eating, fitness, reading, and mindfulness. He also gives the reader a quick introduction into habit formation and the idea of a reward. All habits offer a reward, either positive or negative. Staying up late watching TV offers the immediate reward of entertainment and caters to our tendencies as humans to chose the path of least resistance. Positive habits often have less visible rewards and it takes some practice to draw out the reward of each repetition.
In Pursuit of Excellence
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