There’s a great resource for intelligent people hanging out on Quora. It’s a great read especially on the commute home from work. You see some interesting posts and intriguing answers. However, a ton of these answers is from these self-proclaimed success gurus who are trying to walk the footsteps of Tony Robbins, who has some great advice and information on trying to reach your peak performance.
Skimming through the popular questions, you see a lot of questions revolving around the theme of regret. It’s unspoken but it’s basically out of desperation. I know because I feel it in my guts.
The basic universal question that is asked is along the lines of “If you can learn one habit or do one thing now or do that thing you should have done years ago… what would it be?”
As the Chinese proverb tells us, the best time to grow a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is NOW.
So, let’s cut to the chase.For my own time skimming across these posts, there are few things to note.
– Eat healthily and take care of your body because you’ll thank yourself later (aka health is wealth)
– meditation or mindfulness practice every day (10 – 20 minutes) goes a long way
– avoid social media and the vortex that draws you deeper into an endless scrolling (fuck, I’m guilty)
– avoid pornography and materialistic behaviours that nullifies your relationships (time to put away those tissues and lotion and burns the socks)
– read more books
There are more specific examples of investing your money (which we really need to do) and cultivating a positive mindset… but today let’s talk about reading.
There seem to be two things success people try to do: some form of mindfulness training and a ton of reading.
Non-fiction for the expansion of knowledge and fiction for the enjoyment and priming before bed.
For non-fiction that you don’t care, there’s the tip of reading just the introduction and the conclusion and then the introduction again… because at this point, you should have a general idea of the main points. I took this from skimming The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch at Indigo and he also mentions to skim any good parts of the introduction and conclusion.
But for the enjoyment of reading, definitely, slow things down and keep things consistent.
I have multiple books on my current reading list… Sapiens, Drawing of Three, The Pillars of Earth…
Sometimes, the pacing and time pull me away. Sometimes it’s the material. Sometimes its the slow part of watching characters talking extensively on a beach.
Either case, my return to these books will come soon.
However, to really get me back into the love of reading, I’ve decided to tackle some classics. To kick things off is THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas. Which is probably my new favourite book because it’s making wish I read this earlier in life. It’s everything my heart desires in trying to write my own stories… good vs bad, character moments woven in the backdrop of historical moments, action, thrills, love… and more! Definitely more because I’m not finished yet.
When I’m done, I’ll definitely tackle these next books for sure:
– THE THREE MUSKETEERS
– LES MISERABLES
– CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
– WAR AND PEACE
– IN SEARCH OF TIMES LOST (*this last one I have attempted but got lost in the dreamy spew of Proust’s words… I’ll come back when I’m ready… I know I will…)
I think the benefit of reading classics is like time travel too — you’re teleported to the thoughts of some other person at some other time. And if you’re lucky, you might find the right time period and story to suit your urges and needs. Like me, being a big genre loving kind of guy, Dumas is probably the writer for me.
And sometimes you might be inspired in the strangest of places. Like that time when I read a collection of short stories that were selected by Francis Ford Coppola and in the introduction part there’s a small anecdote of how he believed the great film school at the time in Poland was successful because of a front porch. All the students would hang out here and discuss their ideas. And for this introduction, Robin Buss wrote about how Alexandre Dumas kept churning out books and plays and that he did this with at least one known collaborator named Auguste Maquet, “who would make chapter outlines for him and do research.”
This was a wow moment because some people at that time felt like it was a cop-out to make it so “industrious” in terms of the rate of production. But… fuck it, because Dumas didn’t care and wrote a pretty badass story, regardless of collaborator or not.
And so that sparked the idea of getting back into collaboration with people. Who would have known I found my answer here.
It’s like that one time I randomly flipped through a mammoth Penguin Dictionary and pointed at the word, “surrealism”, to discover Luis Bunuel — which kicked off my obsession into that type of film, years earlier.