This week’s ‘Coffee With Colm‘ is all about opening your mind and working on you.
For context: During my thirties, whilst carrying out my day job as general manager of Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street in Dublin, I was also using some of my spare time proactively attempting to build a business via network marketing and joined a group called Amway. While ultimately (after ten years) I found that network marketing was not for me, it introduced me to a valuable training program which led to me enrolling in the Book of the Month Club and the Tape of the Week Club. From there I developed solid reading habits that have proved eternally beneficial.
In my book Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business despite the Roadblocks, I think it through in this chapter mini-section entitled Read and Study.
Below is that snippet from the book for you to consider.
Read and Study.
I’m a Disney fan. For my fortieth we went as a family to Disney World in Florida. That was our second time there. We have been to the Californian and Parisian Disney Parks several times each also over the years. Truly everybody should go, they are absolutely wonderful but don’t forget to bring the kids! Anyway, it is the advice found in a Disney movie that says most of what I want to talk about in this section.
Who remembers Pocahontas? This was Disney’s thirty-third animated movie, released in 1995 and was the first Disney production based on a real historical figure, the native Indian woman, Pocahontas. In the movie, she meets and falls in love with dapper English explorer, John Smith, also a real historical figure, although there appears to be no historical account of an actual meeting, let alone a romantic tryst, However, as they say in Hollywood, “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
Picture this: Pocahontas is running through the forest, leading John Smith by the hand, showing him all the wonders of nature whilst challenging in song his – and the other settlers’ – mindset. In the third verse of the movie’s Oscar winning song “Colours of the Wind”, she sings these powerful lyrics:
You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew
Look at the fourth line again: “You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.”
My goodness that is powerful stuff! Not just things you never knew, but things you never even knew that you never knew. I love it!
You see there is lots of stuff out there that we don’t know, each of us, but there is infinitely more stuff out there that we don’t even know that we don’t know. So how do we get to stumble across stuff, concepts, ideas that we didn’t know existed in the first place? One answer is to read books. Books represent someone else’s view of the same world you and I inhabit and if the author knows something that I never knew she can impart it to me, I can learn from it and my world is instantly larger.
I was blessed. For me, apart from my stupid phase in my teens, reading was second nature, but I realize not everybody has the same interest in books. I was doubly blessed to be introduced to personal development literature on my twenty-first birthday when Elaine McCann presented me a copy of Jonathon Livingston Seagull. But it was the developing of the habit of reading a personal development or business related book for ten minutes every day and then studying biographies and autobiographies of world leaders that really began to shape the world I now inhabit.
This perhaps should be lesson number one, it is that important. However in my opinion you won’t change your reading habits unless you have a reason to, so getting the Big Picture for your life is first. I however cannot give you any better advice than that in the introduction to this book. Discipline yourself to read either ten minutes or ten pages of a book that stretches you every day for the next year. If your life is not measurably fuller, bigger, more exciting, flush with more possibility I’ll buy the twelve personal/business development books off you at € face value. Guaranteed.
MORE: If you enjoyed that snippet and would like to watch me teach other business lessons in 5-minute videos click here
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Thanks for thinking with me.