A 24 year old kid in a fancy suit is having dinner in the Intercontinental hotel, he’s ready to strike a deal with an uppity but rich potential client. The boy had primed his client and had his hopes set on closing the deal to revive his father’s bleeding business, he is nervous to deliver his final pitch. While the waiter took away the remnants of the chocolate cake the boy picked up his courage and set himself up to win the client’s business.
I didn’t win the account that night. I didn’t save or turn around my dad’s company. I did leave with worldly advice. The businessman said to me:
‘Tim, why are you here? If you want to work with your dad and take over his business one day that’s fine but first you should go work for other companies, find mentors and learn from them first!”.
A few weeks later my dad and I had a fight. Did he fire me or did I quit? I guess a bit of both. For a year I worked my ass off trying to turn around the steady decline of what was once a prospering company. 5 days after our clash I was on a plane, staring out the window saying goodbye to Bangkok, the company and my father.
I felt like a failure but the client’s words came back to me: ‘find mentors and learn from them first!’.
I took his advice at heart and found inspirational people. They are living legends such as Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss and Derek Sivers. Each are best selling authors, renowned for their Ted Talks and famed for challenging us to amp up the game of life. The biggest commonality amongst the three giants is the love of learning, to dive deep and immerse themselves in whatever interests them. In their own way they strive for accelerated learning through immersion.
Tony Robbins claims to have read more than 700 books within 7 years. Can you imagine reading two books a week for 7 years?
Tim Ferriss interviews top performers and you get the inside information on how they’ve journeyed towards becoming successful. In a particular episode with Ramit Sethi he claims to read an astounding 3-4 books a week. Sidenote: If you haven’t checked out The Tim Ferriss Show, please do! It’s the best gift you can give yourself. I guarantee you it will change your life.
Derek Sivers shares 200+ books he’s finished. Each book has a rating, short summary and a link to his personal insights and notes.
These mentors are my inspiration to learn and read. I used to read 2-3 books a year. In 2015, I read 25 books. This year I set a goal to read over 40 books. I chose 40 for two reasons:
- It’s challenging
- It’s winnable.
If I would try to emulate Tony Robbins and go for a 100 books I would be setting myself up for failure. After the motivational wave settled I already caught myself thinking :
’40 books this year… I thought 25 was hard…’
‘That’s almost 3-4 books a month…’
‘How would I pull this off?’
‘But I am so busy…’
‘I will be reading all day, every day …’
‘Maybe I should consider 30 books instead, that’s still 5 more…’
‘Why am I even doing this?’
It’s crucial to silence those whispers of self doubt before they take over. Instead of waning into despair, look into the problem and solve it.
I started to think differently and asked a better question: “How do Tony, Tim and Derek do it?”