How often do you read? It is often said that the person you will be in 5 years depends on who you meet and the books you read. I agree with that and try everyday to read even if it is just a few pages. Sometimes, that reading is books, sometimes it is online articles and posts, but I try to learn something everyday.
Most of the books I read are from the public library so I take notes (if you want to know how I take notes, here is a post that explains how I read a book) My goal each week is to take one idea, one takeaway, from the books I read and apply that concept in my life and business. The number of concepts I gather from each book varies but there is always at least one. Some are just interesting quotes or passages but a few are actionable ideas.
Today I am going to discuss a takeaway idea from the book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman. This is a great book but one of the things I really liked about it was how it was integrated technology. At the end of all chapters and sections, a link was included with a summary of the key points with an invitation to share the information. The information on the website was not verbatim what was in the book rather it is a collection of well worded summary statements with bullet points and links. It is an amazing idea that really got my attention.
Takeaway #1 from The Personal MBA
This takeaway is from page 25 (only a small piece of my 7 pages worth of notes) and is actually a quote from martial arts master Bruce Lee,
Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it
This particular takeaway hits home for me at this point in my life. For the past 6 months I have been focusing on my business (Book Worm Laser & Design), my business website, and my personal site. This is how a typical day looked a few months ago:
- Wake up at 5am
- Be to work at my day job by 6am
- Work on both sites; usually about 1 post a day (for 3 months, I was publishing 5 posts a week on this site plus 3 a week on my personal site)
- During lunch, I would eat in 15 minutes to spend 45 minutes on my sites
- Get home at 4:30p
- Spend some time from 4:30p to 6:30p on my computer, spending time with my family, eating, etc.
- Around 7p, get back on the computer
- Go to bed around midnight
- Repeat the next day, 5 days a week and spend 4-5 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday
You could say I was obsessed and I would not argue with you. It was hard and I took time away from my family. I have small children which makes all of this more difficult morally. I would (and do) often consider if I was doing the right thing. Have I gone too far, moved from dedication to disease?
We all hope that our obsessions is merely an expression of our passion, not the disease it could be. There is a fine line between the two and sometimes, that line is blurry. At some point, you must become obsessed with your passion but the key is to not lose control. It is vital that you remember where your priorities lie and how important the other things in life are. It is easy to become so focused on something that you lose sight of everything else. Looking back, it is one of the things you will regret the most.
If you haven’t read it yet, The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman is a great book and I highly suggest that you put it on your reading list. Remember, just one idea can change your life. If you want a reading list straight from Josh himself, check out the 2012 Personal MBA reading list on his site.
Are you putting your dedication to work for you or are you merely obsessed?