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Are You Learning, Or Are You One Of THEM?

I met an old friend recently who didn’t know what I was doing on the ‘net.

As we talked…I heard it. (And not for the first time)

“I’ve read over 200 personal development books”

It’s like a talisman – a sign of achievement. Look at how many books I’ve read.

“But are you living the life of your dreams, then?” I asked.

“Well, er, no. In fact I’m still unhappy, in debt, and hate my job.”

Suddenly the alarm bells start going off. Ah, he’s one of THEM – A Reader! A gatherer of knowledge!!

I used to be one of them. Anthony Robbins. Brian Tracy. Napoleon Hill. I’d read them all and then left them on my bookshelf for a few years to gather dust.

Then I had given them to charity. Never to be seen again.

And then…something changed.

I realized that each of these authors had put hours of work (in Napoleon Hill’s case – years of work) into writing down what they knew. And I was throwing their knowledge away.

I was treating their knowledge and wisdom as I would a novel. Read once. Put on the shelf.

What if I had been in a room with them and they taught me what they knew one-on-one?

What if I had spent a couple of thousand dollars to go to a seminar to see them? Wouldn’t I at least take some notes to justify my time and expense?

Yet here I was – spending up to two weeks at a time reading each book – and then not bothering to work out a way of getting a ‘return’ on that precious time I had just used up.

Not bothering to USE the knowledge that had been passed onto me.

Sure, little snippets of information stayed with me – but I realized that I had wasted the best part of ten years of my life reading – but not actually LEARNING.

So I decided to do something about it.

I decided that from that moment on – I wouldn’t read a non-fiction book without finding a way of using the information that was presented inside it.

Here’s what I do:

1)    I read the book as normal.

2)    I then go through the book and highlight the sentences or paragraphs that I believe are valuable.

3)    I then write my own summary of the book based upon the highlighted words.

4)    I review my notes regularly.

5)    If it’s a book related to my business – I look at ways to apply what I have learned immediately.

This method ensures that I read the book at least twice – and makes sure that I fully understand (in my own words) what the author is saying.

Being an ‘information junkie’ it can be difficult to hold myself back from starting a new book (or ebook) before I fully ‘complete’ the previous one – but I always remind myself that it’s the quality of learning that’s important, and not the amount of books you read.

It’s a very good way of getting past all of the ‘padding’ that seems to be the vogue in personal development books.

By having the essential information at your fingertips – it will be much easier for you to actually use, and benefit from, the books you read.

My life has changed dramatically since I began to really work ‘with’ the books that I had just read before.

Find a method that works for you – and you will be amazed at how much you can really benefit from the books you read.

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