In 2018, I read 52 books in 52 weeks. Fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, classics, autobiographies — I read them all (here’s the full list).
It’s no coincidence that it was the same year I became truly successful — I quit my job, began working for myself, and started making a ton of money. I’ve published a book, gained tens of thousands of new followers, and have seen millions of readers since then.
Reading books is the reason I am where I am today.
In So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest For Work You Love, Cal Newport warned would-be entrepreneurs of quitting their days jobs before they built up “career capital,” the skills they’d need to survive on their own.
Before you achieve your goals, you need to learn the right skills first.
Books taught me 80% of what I needed to be successful. The other 20% came from applying what I learned and learning from others in my network.
I’ve learned millions of dollars worth of value from reading autobiographies like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, Bryan Cranston’s, Steve Martin’s, and Tina Fey.
I learned how to set up a landing page, create online courses, and sell products from reading DotCom Secrets (Russel Brunson).
I learned how to communicate and work through difficult family issues through David Richo’s How To Be an Adult.
I learned how to manage my finances in brand new ways from Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad.
The list goes on.
I became successful when I started reading a book a week. If you want more success, the answer is simple:
Every New Skill You Gain Increases Your Odds of Success
“Every skill you acquire doubles the odds of your success.” -Scott Adams
A Super Bowl-winning quarterback needs to know more than how to just “throw a ball.”
They also need to learn mental toughness, nutrition, diet, team leadership, contract negotiations, brand building, strengths and conditioning, interview/public speaking, and more.
A NYT best-selling author needs to know more than just how to “write a book.”
They need to learn marketing, networking, industry trends, relationship-building, and public speaking.
An Academy Award-winning actor needs to know more than just how to “act.”
They need to learn how to audition under pressure, take direction and guidance, stay positive after many rejections, learn new accents, memorize thousands of lines, and more.
After studying literally thousands of the world’s top performers, high-performance coach Brendon Burchard once explained:
Someone who reaches high performance in any career must have competence in many of the areas that touch that career.
You may have expertise over your “main” skill — but what other skills could you develop that would elevate you into a truly elite status?
Every new skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.
The truth is, most people aren’t willing to do the work necessary to succeed. This means that by “doing the work”, you separate yourself from the herd and become a top competitor.
But by continually mastering new skills, you’ll be able to handle and adapt to the nonstop evolution of the world (technology, personnel change, new and foreign obstacles).
The world’s most successful people aren’t “busy,” they’re focused. Specifically, they’re focused on mastering a diverse set of skills that will elevate them into elite status and mastery.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” -Robert Greene
Focus On Learning and Creating Rather Than Entertainment and Distraction
The other day, I got a cheeky email from a reader mimicking my writing:
Remember, you need to focus on learning and creating rather than entertainment and distraction, focus on learning and creating rather than entertainment and distraction, FOCUS ON LEARNING AND CREATING RATHER THAN ENTERTAINMENT AND DISTRACTION! ;)
I appreciated the joke, because I do say that phrase — a lot. Hundreds of thousands of people read my article on that topic. It’s one of the most important principles I’ve ever learned.
Renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said the most successful people in the world are always lifelong learners. They fully understand that their level of education directly determines their quality of life.
“Formal education makes a living, but self-education makes a fortune,” Rohn explained.
It’s not just about a college degree. Most of what you learn in college isn’t applicable to real-world success. It’s your self-education, the kind of learning that helps you develop into the next evolution of yourself.
Most people will continue to go through life “in quiet desperation, with their songs left unsung.” Others dictate their income, their happiness, and their fulfillment.
If you don’t want to end up with regret on your death-bed, choose self-education over entertainment.
The truth is, you probably don’t have all the skills you need to be successful. Not yet, anyway. It’s not just about the main goal — writing a novel, losing 30lbs, making a million dollars — it’s about the many other side-skills you also need.
The fastest (and cheapest) way to learn these required skills is by reading, a lot. I’ve learned so many new skills I was never taught before, just from a $7 book:
- Landing pages
- Email providers
- Sales letters
- Online course creation
- Automated sequences
- How to create a coaching business
- How to network with other authors
Look — I love watching TV and playing video games. I’m not productive all the time.
But when I think about how much time, money, and goals I can achieve just by reading another book…well, it gets harder and harder not to read.
Focus on learning and creating, not entertainment and distraction.
How to Get Rich “Following Your Gut”
Years ago, an old writer I used to follow once wrote some wisdom about books I never forgot:
What we call ‘following our gut’ is really us being subconsciously guided by every piece of information we’ve ever consumed, shaping our instincts and ideas and forming us.
Many of the world’s top performers seem to have a 6th sense for their craft — investing, trends, styles, strategies, and actions taken before anyone else has even thought of it.
The reason for this isn’t because they’re magical or have superpowers — they’ve just consumed enough information that “following their gut” usually results in enormous wins.
If you want develop your own 6th sense, read more. Your subconscious begins processing things while you sleep, making deep connections and recognizing patters you never noticed before. In his book How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams encouraged readers to stop listening to “experts” all the time, because they might not be seeing new patterns you’re seeing for the first time.
Over time, “following your gut” will lead you to enormous opportunities. You’ll start investing time in new areas that will yield enormous results. You might start acting differently and getting huge rewards, because everyone around you didn’t see the writing on the wall.
Most people have decent instincts on when to act and what to do. The problem is, most people don’t build these instincts.
Instead, choose to develop your instincts by reading more books and learning new skills. Pretty soon, you might even get rich by just “following your gut.”
You have a good sense of what to do — now, it’s time to build that gut-feeling so you can recognize golden opportunities when all everyone else sees it dirt.
Read more — every new skill you learn increases your odds of success. Developing your instincts is one of the most lucrative ways you can spend your time, because you’ll be able to see new patterns, relationships, and opportunities you were never able to see before.
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