Over the last decade or so of my life, I’ve made a major change that I believe has led to more positive results than anything else I’ve ever done. It was a very simple change, one that anyone can do, but it’s given me more than I ever imagined I could get from something so simple. I did two things that were very important: first, I started reading books that encouraged me, that gave me hope, that inspired me, and that taught me important lessons on life and living and myself. And second, I took the words in those books to heart–I didn’t just read them and put them down, but I read them and pondered their messages and believed what their authors had to say. I haven’t read blindly, believing everything I’ve read without question, but I have given the writers the benefit of the doubt that they might be right, that what they say may be effective if I just give it a chance.
In choosing my reading material carefully, I’ve given myself a great opportunity to learn a lot of stuff that never is covered in a classroom. I’ve given myself input into my life from people that I’ll never meet, but who have learned a lot in their lives and have done their best to share what they’ve learned with others. I’ve been able to learn from people who see the world in completely different ways than I do, and they’ve been able to open my eyes to new perspectives, new thoughts, new ideas. I’ve felt my mind and my heart and my spirit open up to completely new levels, levels that I never would have reached had I not taken the time and made the effort to read the books that I’ve read.
There are many different reasons for reading. Reading for entertainment can be a lot of fun. Reading to learn and to grow and to change our lives can be invigorating and exciting. Think about it–if you read twenty books during the next year on fishing, you’ll become an expert on fishing, and you’ll be one of the best-read fishers out there. If you read twenty books over the next year on self-improvement or spiritual growth or the law of attraction or meditation or simply about getting the most out of life, guess what you’ll become an expert in? That’s right–and how do you think something like that will affect your daily life, the way you feel as you go about being the person you are, living the life you live?
All it takes is a decision and follow-through on that decision. All it takes is some perseverance and some initiative. And if you don’t like reading, perhaps listening to audio books would be a good compromise for you. No matter which way you look at it, though, putting good and positive and encouraging words into your mind and your heart can only do you good, as long as you give the words respect enough to consider them, and to consider their relevance to your life and who you are. There are many great teachers out there, but they’re not all in the classrooms. And even if they were, would they be giving classes that we can re-visit whenever we want? We can when we have the books, and we can remind ourselves of important lessons over and over again.