Big Hairy Audacious Goal


I need to capture a thought before I lose it.  Last night, trying to fall asleep, I had a personal revelation, a flash of insight about myself that took me all the way back to my university years in the mid-1980s. First things first. Let me rewind a bit.

Our house is full of reading material.  We have countless novels, magazines, and non-fiction books of all shapes and sizes.  In almost every room you go into you will find a shelf, a coffee table, or nightstand with a healthy pile of publications.

When I was younger, I had a helluva time finishing novels.  I'd start, get into the first few chapters, and eventually peter out.  Looking at big books like War and Peace or Anna Karenina, I couldn't fathom being able to get through them.  At some point, that changed, and all of a sudden I became a voracious reader of fiction.  Looking through our shelves, there are only a few titles that I haven't gobbled up, and only because the content didn't grab my attention at the time I first picked them up.  There is a time and place for almost every piece of fiction in our house.  I know I will get to them eventually.

However, my light bulb realization is that I have become notorious for not finishing my non-fiction, business, self-help, professional development books.  Scattered around the living room, my study and the bedroom, are probably 5 or 6 titles that are in various states of being ingested.   Whale Done!, Yes, and The Surfer, The Saint and the CEO are three that come to mind, though there are others.

As this realization popped into my head, I flashed back to Philosophy 101 at the U of Saskatchewan, and the feeling that sunk into my bones back then that I just couldn't finish.  I have never made this mental connection before and it is significant.

Now that I've identified an issue, what is my solution?  Simple.  I'm going to put every single book, magazine or piece of paper away, clean off my bedside table for the first time in memory, and focus on one book at a time.  That won't be enough for me; I know myself too well.  I'm going to change how I read this genre of book.

When I'm soaking in meaningful content, I find that I absorb it better when I'm writing things down: ideas, quotes, mind maps, pictures.  So, my thought is that I will start a journal specifically reserved for my professional development reading.  It may take me longer to get through things, but considering the fact that I never fully got through things before, I'll be further ahead no matter what.

My big hair audacious goal is to be able to, several years down the road, look at my shelf that contains business, self-help, and professional development books and know, with similar confidence to what I now can say about novels, that I've read each and every page.

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