I started 2014 with the goal of reading 52 books this year- essentially one a week. And, I started off like a couch potato with a new gym membership. Gung ho! I added audio books to increase my volume and powered through like a champ. I was obsessive about it – more books, books about business, books about art, classics that I never read! My kingdom for a book!
Then I hit a book that required reflection and about 3 quarters of the way through the year, my momentum stopped, not because I quit trying, but because I found a book that stopped me.
It wasn’t about breezing through it. It was about taking my time reading it, and allowing it to sink in. I’ve spent months on one book and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve reread chapters twice and made margin notes, referencing passages. I’ve committed to studying this book more than any book this year.
And, I realized that 52 books in one year is a fantastic goal… but, it’s like driving through a country and never stopping to see the sights. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality of WHAT I’m reading and what I’m GETTING out of it. 3 weeks in Ireland, for example, is much better than 3 days, isn’t it? 😉
The book is 20 years old- an oddly retro choice. But, it’s like picking up a Journey album for the first time. If you’ve never heard it before, you are in for a fantastic experience.
Battlefield of the Mind is that first Journey album for me. I can’t get enough of it, and I’m willfully allowing it to change the way I “think” about what I think.
It fell into my lap when a friend suggested I join a small group. I actually missed the first class, and was tempted to skip it, since I was a week behind.
But I didn’t.
I bought the book and it’s gone with me everywhere- coffee shops, parks, Marfa Texas, you name it. It’s never left my side.
I’ve highlighted and underlined the words that hit home, and I’ve written things like, “Preach it!” in the margins.
It’s been a wonderful experience for me this year. I recommend that you all read it and report back to me. However, I know there are some that may never read it, so I’ll dive into something so simple that it changed my year.
The underlying idea within the book is to change your thoughts so that you change your actions and, ultimately, change your life. I found myself in the middle of some really stressful days and hard moments with clients, wondering, “how in the world do I change this? This is happening, and I can’t change it.”
Haha, my friend. How silly that question seems now. Silly rabbit…
I change my perception of things and I change my world.
So, how about instead of waking up and thinking about how tired I am, and how much I want to go back to bed, or can’t wait for the day to be over…how about I force myself (That’s right, it’s forced many times) to begin to be thankful for things?
I started simple. With teeth. Mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else at 5:30am in the shower. So, I said, “I’m thankful for teeth.” And, I felt ridiculous saying that.
This was a HUGE struggle for me, because there were mornings when I’d forget due to being so tired, and I’d pick up on the way to the office. I’d turn off the radio and start with my teeth from there.
And being thankful for teeth turned into being thankful for hands, and hands turned into legs, and from there, I began to express gratitude for my house, my husband, my dogs, and my city. My job came next, then my clients, my gym, and so on and so forth.
The change wasn’t immediate. No, there were days where breakdowns occurred and I struggled with how “hard” life is. But I didn’t stop.
And today, a day that normally would have been so difficult that it left me in tears- today, I was only mildly stressed and still able to laugh at a good joke by day’s end.
THAT is the result of being thankful for teeth. THAT’S the result of changing my thinking so that, no matter what, I’m grateful for what I have.
I can easily look around and begin to wish I was someone else, or had more, or even did more. The difficult thing to do is look within and find satisfaction with what and who I currently am. Stop the distractions and stop looking at others. Take one small moment and be thankful for… whatever comes to mind.
Or, be like me & start with teeth. 😉