“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

I believe what Einstein is really trying to help us understand is that learning should never stop. The real learning comes from the referential experiences we live through that will shape who we are as unique individuals. While speaking at a Career Day today in the Metro area, my colleague said something very profound, “School teaches you HOW to learn, not necessarily WHAT to learn.” I think there is profound truth in that statement. Honestly, I am in sales, and I will never need that Trigonometry class that I took back in high school, however it did teach me how to study, structure, and discipline myself to make my brain grow.

“Learners are earners.”

The mastermind group I am a part of had the opportunity to sit down with a high level business and life coach, and these were his words of wisdom to us. We know that the greats, past, present, and future will always spend time expanding their worldviews and skilling up by reading.

I have a goal to read no less than 50 books this year, and I want to do something special with the golden nuggets I have learned from each and every book I read. I call it my Information Aggregation System, or IAS for short (trademark pending). I will be providing you 1 main idea or thought I gleaned from each book I read.

Let’s jump right in, the books I read were Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, Nine Words by Allen R. Hunt, The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant and my Success Magazine for the month. (I have included my magazine subscription in this which is accompanied by a great audio CD as well.)

Awaken the Giant Within – This book is chalked full with content and deciding on one main idea was extremely difficult. If you would like the full review (which everyone should read) reach out to me directly. However, don’t worry! I will share with you a life-changing strategy that I have already began to implement into my own life. I would like to start by asking you a question – Have you ever felt like you were stuck in what we call a “rut,” or just spinning your wheels in the mud, not getting anywhere? If you answered yes, listen closely. Tony says that

“You could be actually winning at the game of life and feel like you’re losing because the scorecard you’re using is unfair.”

We all, knowingly or not, have a set of rules that allow us to feel a certain way. What is a rule? Tony explains that a rule is a set of conditions which, if achieved, gives them permission to feel good and if not, gives permission to feel some pain. The great insight about are rules is that they are completely self-imposed! We control and create our own rules! Tony says there is a simple fix – spend more time feeling good, develop a new set of personal rules which are achievable on a consistent basis, independent of the actions of anyone else. I took this a little deeper, and created what I call S-M-A-R-T Rules. The rules that I have set for myself are specific, measurable, attainable, relative and time-intensive – just like S-M-A-R-T goals! The main idea here is to make the rules for ourselves easy to feel positive emotions and states, and very difficult to feel negative emotions. An example would be that a top level executive has the wrong rule for success. His rule is that he must have an annual income of 3.5 million dollars, and he will not feel fulfilled unless he hits that goal. This exec hit 3.3 and now feels like a failure. See how his rule was not S-M-A-R-T?

Tony’s Action steps:

  1. Design your rules so you are in control and the outside world has very little effect on how you feel.
  2. Set up your rule system so it is extremely easy to feel good, and exceptionally hard to feel bad. Give your rule system a positive bias.

Nine Words – One of my top 3 goals this year along with reading 50 books is to increase my faith and living out the Gospel every single day, in every single way. That being said, one of the books that I will read every month is going to be faith based. My big takeaway from this quick read is that God wants us to live life as the best versions of ourselves. I have, in many situations been called an over-achiever or someone who is striving for perfection. Heck yes I am striving for perfection, because I know that I am never going to get there, but I am going to work every day to become the best version of myself. Like John Wooden said,

“Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.”

St. Paul shares nine words in his letter to the Galatians that create a blueprint of values we should all be striving to incorporate. These nine words or values are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I will say a prayer that we all can work these into our lives, and the lives of others.

The Lessons of History – This book is a little out of my comfort zone, however it is refreshing to brush up on the past which creates different perspectives and worldviews for myself. My main takeaway from this book is simple, if we are not aware of the past, we are inclined to repeat the same mistakes in the future. We need to look at past failures as feedback. Failure is just learning another way how NOT to do something. Most everything that will be done, in some form, has been done in the past. Let’s stand on the shoulders of giants and learn from them; thus cutting our learning curves down and amplifying our impact and the value we can bring into the world!

Success Magazine – James Lawrence completed 50 Ironman races, in 50 days, in 50 different states. Re-read that, I typed it correctly. An Ironman race is arguably one of the toughest endurance races that includes a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finishes with a 26.2 mile run. Over the 50 days this amounted to 114,750 strokes in the water, 7,061,600 pedals on the bike and 13,100,000 steps. (So much for my 10,000 goal each day). Seriously though, this is an incredible feat, almost too hard to believe. James was asked what he thought about while completing each one of these races and what he said was so profound

“I tried not to think about how many miles or days I had left, I just wanted to be perfect at whatever I was doing – running, biking, or swimming for the next minute.”

James noted that another one of the keys that allowed him to complete this heroic feat was to have patience and consistency. James said he focused on the basics, doing the little things right. Incredible insight from an incredible athlete.

I have to note that I was (and am) still also skilling up by reading a sales book as well as a speed-reading manual. I will review those when the time comes. The best investment will always be in yourself. If you want to create more value for others, start by becoming more.

From my mentors to yours,