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    Keyy Blog

    Unlock your true potential.

    Written by Luke Summerfield
    on August 21, 2016


    For years I hated reading. Absolutely hated it.

    Through-out middle and high school I just couldn’t understand how anyone could like reading. I was a much more hands-on, let’s get our hands dirty creating something type of guy. I saw reading as simply a waste of time that pulled me away from the real world.

    Oh how this was a mistake. Looking back, the number one piece of advice I would tell my younger-self is to heavily invest your time in reading and absorbing other’s knowledge.

    Now an avid reader (reading a book a week - learn how), I’ve discovered the power of books. Books give you the ability to absorb another person’s years of knowledge (and avoid some of the problems) in the matter of a few hours. Reading is one of the best ways to accelerate your life and mind.

    With that being said… a year ago I was struggling.

    I was still struggling from time-to-time to jump into or continue reading certain books. I’d pick them up and find my brain wondering around missing what was being said. I just wasn’t into it and often ended up stalling out completely.

    Around that same time I started thinking about how and why we choose the music we listen to. The more I thought about it, the more parallels I started to draw between picking music and picking books. Then a lightbulb went off and I was immediately able to overcome my “readers-block”.

    In this bite-sized bit we are going to talk about how to pick which books to read when and how to balance over-reading vs. putting concepts into actual practice. In the additional resources, I’ve also listed my personal, hand-selected books I’d highly recommend. Enjoy.

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    Welcome to Keyy.io Bite-Sized-Bits where we serve up bite sized ideas to help unlock your true potential. Today we are talking about some practical thoughts on readings and books. I know this is for lot of you really interested in learning and reading and books are one vehicle that allows you to learn.

    So, my name is Luke Summerfield. I am coming to you today from Harvard Yard. You probably see behind me lots of people checking it out so hear some back run noise that’s you are hearing. I want to first give you some little bit context why I got turned down to reading and it’s probably got very similar to some of you. So, when you think about reading and books think about what you have here. You have here someone who is at the top of their field.

    They are respected as in industry expert and they are learning over the years all kinds of things about this field and lots of time learning the hard way things that fails, things that didn’t work out the way they thought and did up crossing their time and energy and resources all those things. And what they are doing, are they taking all of those expertises, all those knowledge, all those thoughts and condensing it down into kind of the key things that you need to know and giving it to you in a format that you can consume in over a weekend.

    So have that power essentially this amount of time knowledge being can dense down and saving all those learning’s and being able to take those learning’s and get those in a grade into your thought process, your pattern, your practices within a weekend I think is really powerful and I think it’s something that not enough people taking advantage of. For, me that’s one of the reason I really find reading interesting. I am much more like nonfiction type of. You also have a fiction side of things that who you are taking out of your day to day transported into this new  world of adventure and all those things you know that’s maybe a different conversation for a different day.

    So, a couple of thoughts in these I think of reading and very much like listening to music and so just like when you put yourself into shoes of, when you are trying to pick out what type of music you should listen to. It’s very much depends on your mood. When you are going to the gym and you are trying to amp yourself up and you are doing work out, you are going to listen to very different type of music. Then if it is later in the night, if you want to relax. This could be different music than what you would listen to when you are on a road trip.

    One of the first things that when you are trying to decide how and what’s to read, think about what type of mood you are in. And have that mental mindset and have that mental awareness to be able to determine what mood you are in and what is the best fit book or types of books to read. So, the way I think of it is I have essentially I have three different types of bucket. I have learning or growth bucket where these are the books that I am trying to read in order to advance myself learn new concept, learn new things it’s a little bit more straight forward nonfiction type of books. These are the things I really add in to bunch of coffee on my computer to work as I am trying to set myself up for the rest of the day. I can kind of get the gears turning by to this type of learning things. So good for commuting, good for when you are in that mood to trying grow and advance and build on your knowledge.

    Then the second bucket that I have are that is essentially reflection books I think this is good for a mood when you are not trying to necessarily absorb new kind of information, but rather look at what rocks are in that bucket and what reflect on that. So, this is things like philosophy books things like- poetry and I typically look for the things that are bite sized, things that I can sit down for 15minutes and read and walk away some kind of idea and be happy that I have stopped. Sometimes other books you get into in its 50 minutes and you don’t want to stops and you want to keep reading, reading. And that can be hard for us humans who want that kind of closer to be able to do that but if you find things like Seneca's "Letters of Stoic" , Marcus Aurelius "Meditations". Or like those types of poetry and other good examples, those types of bite sized that allow you to take a step back out of your day to day and almost reflect what happen on that day, that week or that year and do it in a way that you can read 15-20 minutes before bed put the thing down and you are ready to go. Or maybe you are, I use it a lot when I was in travel, so, when I am in the plane or tarmac about to take off, I got about 15 minutes that I can read and pull myself into kind of reflection mood. Okay so that’s kind of other book.

    Then I have this third bucket which is more around trying to transport me out of my world into another world right I am getting out of my shoes and trying to put myself into someone else shoes almost get myself into a trance to absorb  this alternate reality.

    Many of you that are into fiction that's a good fiction bucket for some of you, me personally I haven't jumped into the fiction I am kind of OCD about learning so I stick into the learning side of things. This is where things like biographies. I am certain to really get into biographies and I can put myself into shoes of someone who has been successful, who has seen ups and down, see what their life was like that's kind of this third bucket. and that's when the mood you want to learn and you are not necessarily middle you are not in a middle state, you may not just have to be like taking notes really be processing a lot in your brain and just more hearing that story of that you are being transported to. Alright so couple more thoughts here.

    Next thought is there is two ways to look at books, there is in one hand you have books that teach you things right. And I think this is where all of us keep our minds at how do I learn things that I don't know and be able to go and apply those things. Now the other thing that the book really gives us the power to do is to help coach us couch through situations so this turns into a much more contractual conversation where we think about okay for this point in my life, for this thing I am trying to do, how can I re-read books that I have already read or how can I get recommendation on book and essentially those books will help coach me or mentor me through this difficult situation or through this situation I am trying to get through my life.

    I found myself going back many times re-reading books that may be the first time I skinned kind of get that 800 foot view and now backing getting the deep dive and because of the context that I am in and because of the things that's going on in my life I am seeing things that weren't there before so it's kind of like this whole reasons effect in psychology  that you see often it's like if someone gets a Toyota pries car and Toyota pries is everywhere and it's kind a same thing it's not the Toyota pries that her mind and eye is open to that those new things and when you are going through certain situations in life and when you go back and re-visit those books your mind is open to new ideas and you see things that you didn't see the first time through because of the situation you are in.

    I think something that often is not done for lot of people with reading myself for many years not thinking about that went over the past few years that I have adapted how and when I read certain books and when I get back and re-read the book it's not that you have read the whole book you can read the chapter that are same as that situation. Thinking of books is that much more a am I reading this to learn or am I reading this to help coach me through situation in life and be a mentor to me.

    Now the next topic that I want to talk about before we wrap it up here today and I give you some and size take a ways is the idea of breath versus depth, I am absolutely love learning I actually read a book a week and when you start reading so many books and start consuming so many thinks it's like how do you take those concepts in getting those books and actually put them into practice so I kind of think of this in terms if we think this analogy to fishing there is two different ways that you can do fishing is you can fish with a net where you cast this big net out and catch the real things in.

    When you fish with a net you get a little everything it's not always good sometimes you get things that you don't want and lot of times you end up throwing things back. Then you have the other way of fishing is where you fish with fishing poles where you cast you linen and when you bring it back in you have something very targeted based out in the bate you put on your hook based on where you are fishing and predict the types of things that you are getting and I think very much that is the context of how I think of breath versus depth.

    I read a book a week and many times I am reading things quickly I am absorbing the high level points the high level information you know and then from there from there that’s starts kind of delay of the land I get to understand what's in this book, what context could fill in the future of my life and have that as you know there could be couple of golden nuggets that come away from there. then I get into that we have talked about before the contractual side of things when I am running into a situation in life or when there is particular skill or particular area in my life that I am trying to improve then I go back I am very meticulous and I very much in depth of what I read and how I read it why I apply that to my actual life.

    So, I think you have this two things that you need to balance in life, balancing fishing with the nets there you get that breath all these different topics, all this different ideas and many times there is crossovers you read books in one context, in one industry and all of a sudden you may have some light bulbs that go off on something you are trying to solve in a totally different industry and the only way you can do that is again kind of get that wide range of different ideas but then you are in a specific situation then where you are really drilled down that's where you start putting things to practice, you start putting a game plan together at actually step by step game plan together and how you could implement those things. So wrap in up here and let's give you some takeaways on reading books and I will get you out of the day.

    The first one is again we kind of just talked about quarter. So, when I do my life planning, I do it on yearly basis then every quarter I do check in. So, every quarter I identify one area of my life that I want to improve. The one that I am currently working on is being better in asking questions, getting better interview asking questions and communication. That’s the area of my life that I am trying to improve in this quarter. So, on one hand I am reading tons of books and things like that but on the other hand I am starting to figure out how can I take things like asking questions so putting them into practice. So you probably see some interview of some people this is a way for me to getting better in asking questions. I am starting to trying taking people out for lunches or dinner for once in a month to pick their brain and learning from them and whiling I am doing that I am also reading specific set of books that are specific to communication, to question and then I write down all those golden nuggets and I put them into a journey.

    That leads into my second point; once you determine your quarter focus, once you have determined where you want to improve on that particular item. And I one item on purpose because to keep yourself focused sometimes we trying to pick 5-6 places that we want to improve then we never really get good at it. We just skin the surface so just pick one thing, if this quarter idea betters this one thing I will be happy.

    So, the second tip is to create a journal and I do this on ever note, if you can just do it digitally, you can also do it which is printed. And as you are going through that quarter beginning of the quarter as you are reading through those books. You have got 5-8 books on a particular topic that you are trying to improve on. Start a running list of golden nuggets that are coming out of those readings and start point those things that you think would really help you.

    The things that the activities, the tips even if it’s not in the book but if it just got a idea that kind of started turning in your brain and you want to pull that idea and put it in the practice. Start running a list and dump all those ideas on spot cause reality is that you could read one book and you only get one prospective on particular topic so your goal is t get as many prospective from different people, different industries, different background on a similar topic. And for you to pull all of that together to create your own prospective, your own way of doing things. That works best for you and works best for you the use cases.

    So, that running journal is a really good way for you to put all those ideas in. And then once you kind of gone through those 5-10 books you have really got good ideas and you pull all those golden nuggets then after that you can transition into okay now I have these ideas and how can I put them into practice.

    My nest take away for reading is that you don’t have to follow the rules. No one sets the rule that you have to open a book and read from end to end. It’s up to you to determine what kind of value you are getting this book. We all have most precious resource time of yours, you think about you reading as investment of your time. Am I better often best in my time reading this from entire time to finish or I am better in investing to focusing in a chapter or focusing into a area. Maybe you get into the book and when you are actually starts reading it, it’s actually really not practical or not on point you want it. And that’s okay, so you can quite the book if its sucks, it doesn’t fit with what you want.

    It is really important we think about our time in terms of reading as an investment and we pick up a book just like the way you invest into a business and we should get some kind of return. and sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses when you have to move on to the next book. When you really should pick certain chapters and put the rest in your backpack it to read later. I think you to be little bit more diligent myself that something I have worked on over the last year in being more diligent in those types of things. Alright it’s so my monkey brain rambling for 15 minutes hopefully you got some good nuggets out of there.

    I appreciate you are listening. If you dig it good nuggets on you and if you have friends you think would be interested. Please share with your friends, make sure you subscribe. We have this both on YouTube and iTunes. And so which ever you prefer format it. If you prefer to get some visual you can watch it on YouTube. If you prefer to listen to a podcast, you can get it in iTunes and make sure last part in there is check Keyy.io for more great tools, resources and trainings to help you unlock your true potential.

    Thanks so much. Talk soon.

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