Reading takes very little commitment with the possibility of the greatest reward. It is the single easiest way to grow and learn. And don’t worry, if you struggle with reading or retaining, we have pointers for you!
MM543 – Read Everything, Read with an Open Mind
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Motivate Me!
It’s Me! Time here on Motivate Me! and we are working on coming back from flat.
Before we start, let’s get into the right headspace. Let’s engage in the idea that this is time where YOU are the priority. Let’s take two slow, deep breaths to get us centered. Just follow me.
Today’s focus is: Read Everything, and Read with an Open Mind
During this past year, there were times where I felt like I was lying dormant, like all I had to give was apathy, and just getting through the day was all I could muster. Have you had times like this? Maybe you’re feeling this way now?
During times like these, there is something we can do that takes very little effort with maximum gain and that’s to read.
Now listen, I know reading isn’t for everyone, but hear me out on this.
The beautiful thing about reading is that it’s low commitment, it can be free, and we do it at our own pace.
To get reading, we just need to make the decision that we’re going to do it, even if that means that we have to psyche ourselves up and prepare to do it.
Quick tips to get started:
1. Pick a topic or author you enjoy
2. Set aside designated time
3. Turn off the television
4. Put your phone on silent
5. Request the support of those around you
6. Don’t get discouraged if you need to re-read sentences or pages because you felt distracted (There is more coming up on how to stay focused when reading in a minute.)
If we do make the decision to dedicate the quiet time needed to immerse ourselves in a book, it can have a PROFOUND impact on our person and life.
If you listened to the introduction of Season 4, you heard me credit a close friend for insisting I read Jane Pauley’s book, Your Life Calling. During the time my friend was reading it, she kept hearing my voice through Pauley’s words. She kept seeing the conversations we’d shared while coasting down the Tennessee River the summer before. She was moved enough by this to keep sending me pictures of pages from the book. She went out of her way to get it to me, and then, she badgered me until I read it. And I say that in the most loving way, Jan. And I thank you for that.
The truth is, I was honored that she saw me in a light similar to the experienced and wise Pauley, and at the same time, I was annoyed. I was annoyed because Jane Pauley had done so much in her career, and I was currently lying dormant. I was annoyed with myself for not continuing to try harder at what had meant so much to me. The thing was, at this point, I didn’t even know if it still meant much to me, it felt like I just didn’t have it in me to get back it.
Because of my friend, Jan’s, badgering, I picked up the book and turned the first page. I realized then that it wasn’t just that Jane Pauley’s book was informative, entertaining, and insightful, its’ structure is similar to how I had envisioned writing my book about traveling the 50 states in 90 days interviewing people about passion.
Jane Pauley includes previous show guests and their interviews, as well as her own life and her career experiences. She does all of this to introduce her audience to people who have designed lives they love, so readers can learn how to (and be inspired to) build a life that is more exciting or more meaningful. Pauley and I share a love for interviewing people about passion, we share the want to help people live lives they love. Needless to say, Jane Pauley got my attention and I perked up!
I was most moved by her sister’s interpretation of her talent. Pauley writes of her sister, “Ann told me I have a gift for helping people see themselves in positive and powerful new ways” (54). I felt these words in my core. I read and re-read this line many, many times. I want to frame these words for myself, they mean so much to me. These words helped me to understand myself differently. I thought: Maybe, writing is my skill, and helping people see themselves ‘in positive and powerful new ways’ is my talent?
I tell you all of this because I learned something about myself from reading her book. I grew… and I was only on page 54. This is how reading can be so powerful. I felt a connection during a time when I really wasn’t connecting to anything. I learned something about myself and I felt hope – because her story confirmed for me that there is value in what I had done – in what I thought I should do next: the writing of my book. It made me understand that I needed to keep at it.
Jane Pauley’s big take-away from her book is to say, Hey, people. You have a very good chance of living ten years longer than the generation before you, so get prepared to do things the generation before you didn’t get time for! Yes, do the career thing, then do the encore career thing.
My advice to you today, Motivate Me! Friends, is to read everything. Read everyone. Be open-minded. See in whom and what you see yourself. I like to be extremely open-minded when I read. I’m not looking to reinforce what I know and believe, I’m looking to learn new information, to be exposed to new perspectives. This is how I form my own ideas.
Recently, I posted a picture on my Instagram of the current stack of books I finished reading, and they cover a wide range of interests. Here is what’s in that stack: Jane Pauley’s, Your Life Calling, Rhonda Byrne’s, The Secret, Elle Luna’s, The Crossroads Between Should and Must, Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich, Marianne Williamson’s, A Woman’s Worth, Blake Snyder’s, Save the Cat (which is a book about screenwriting), Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and Love Warrior, and Matt Fraser’s, When Heaven Calls.
Matt Fraser is a medium. I learn something from every book I read, so while Matt’s story and the fact that he can communicate with the dead blows my mind, something important I took away from his book is how to stay positive and grateful, even with people who are negative to you.
As you can see here, I read everything: fiction and non-fiction, books by democrats and republicans, I read about things I’m interested in, like spirituality, but also other topics that I’ve never been exposed to, like becoming a Navy Seal.
I have two and a half stacks of unread books that are similar to this one waiting in the wings to be read. So, I suggest you get a book in hand, and get one for in the wings!
I do have recommendations for those of us who struggle to keep our focus when reading, or for those of us who don’t remember what we read after reading. Consider these techniques:
1) Read with a pen or pencil in your hand, even a highlighter. This way, you can quickly underline key concepts or circle key words. You can also jot a word or phrase down in the margin, too, something that will help you easily spot this page again, or when you flip back through the pages the highlighted words and notes in the margin act as a quick summary.
2) Sit at a table and take notes as you read, just like when you were in school back in the day. I’ve really enjoyed taking notes on subjects that interest me. I just extract key thoughts and record them on paper, make sure to include page numbers so you can go back and find it later. You’d be surprised how often I have gone back into the text to re-read things.
3) There are a couple of ways to work on remembering material you’ve read, the gist of it is to create a memory with the information. You can journal about it or write a formal essay, or you can just verbally share what you’ve learned with someone else. When you share information you’ve learned you’re now teaching it, and a great way to retain information is to teach it. So, just talk about it.
So my advice: mark the book up with notes and have a conversation about what you’ve learned!
I used to teach high school English and I understand that reading is not easy for everyone. There are some other options to explore where you can listen to authors talk about their books, like audio books, YouTube, and podcasts. The goal is to expose yourself to information that will enlighten you, however you can do that.
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I am going to leave you with some truth talk from me to you: The bottom line is, there are so many ways to better ourselves – to elevate ourselves – and reading is one of the most accessible, inexpensive, low-commitment ways to do this. So make the time, read with intention, and get ready to expand your mind and person!
Remember, you Motivate Me!