“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read (or new things you learn).” ― Charlie "Tremendous" Jones.
Most of us have heard this popular saying, often from the mouth of one motivational speaker or the other. I have a friend who is a consultant that loves to say this repeatedly to his clients.
But I hate to tell you that, however popular the above statement may seem, it is simply not true.
I’ll tell you why.
If you should read books, invest in self-development courses and meet new people that challenge you to stretch and grow, your life would change – positively, that’s a given. If you should read no books, invest nothing in self-development, and hang around with no-good folks that do nothing all day but drink beer and play draft, your life also would change – negatively, that’s a given also.
But what if you do nothing? Just wake up in the morning, brush your teeth and go to work, just do your job, interact with your co-workers, go home, have dinner and watch TV; I suppose your life would be the same in the next 5 years, right?
That’s like telling me that N100, 000 in the next 5 years would still be N100, 000 except if it’s kept in the bank to yield interest or it’s invested in business, stocks or real estate. No, whether invested or not, N100, 000 CANNOT be the same in the next 5 years. The reason is this; there’s something called inflation that reduces the value of money, whether it’s put to work or not. The same N100, 000 would buy less and less in the same market in 5 years’ time – that’s not called “staying the same”; that’s called losing value! In fact when money is adequately put to work to multiply and duplicate itself, it’s new increased value can only be determined after we make adjustments for inflation over the 5 years of investment.
Are we following?
Exactly the same applies to the human mind, our bodies and perhaps our spirits. Anything we do not put to work, atrophies and dies. If a person should tie up his right hand and refuse to use it, over time that limb will wither. Its failure to work would deprive it of oxygen, blood and nutrients that can only get to it when it exercises its natural inclination to do things.
What about the human mind? It’s about the same thing. If we do not exercise our minds, by study, taking self-improvement courses, learning new things, practicing and sometimes teaching other what we learn, we allow our brains wither and start dying – at least the part responsible for intelligent decisions and actions. After staying out of school for more than 5 years, do you remember how hard it became to read an academic book? It happens to all of us, and it doesn’t matter if you’re Einstein or the class dummy. The same principle would be at work.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying. There’s nothing like staying in one place and “remaining the same” in 5 years.
Make a decision to develop your mind. Invest a portion of your income in books and self-development courses, hang around with goal-directed individuals who love to stretch, grow and develop themselves (and you), practice what you learn and try new things. If you do these, you’ll be surprised at the new levels you would rise to in your career and professional life. Your brain, income level and curriculum vitae (or resume) will thank you.
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