“You know what your problem is? You read too many of those self improvement books.”
I didn’t feel anything that moment. I accepted her words and moved on.
I don’t process things people say in real time. Later when we were apart, I thought about the words she said. Then I felt it; her words cut through to my core.
Why would she say that to me?
Why did I take that from her?
The answer is because I loved her.
The truth is, words people say have nothing to do with us at all. Words are a reflection of a person’s internal state or belief system.
A few days later we were talking while waiting for lunch, I was excited about something I learned in a book I was reading. Without thinking I blurted it out in our conversation.
She rolled her eyes and with four words she cut into me: “here we go again.” Just like before, I took it, and without so much as a sigh, I turned away to change the subject and hide my feelings.
But then something unexpected happened.
Like an out-of-body experience, I remember watching the following conversation from outside my body. In an instant I turned back to her and calmly said:
“Everything that we have, everything you enjoy, the nice dinners, expensive gifts, trips, everything….came from things I learned from these books. They have taken me far from where I started and have given all of this to us. More than that, I enjoy them, so I will continue to read the books.”
The famous musician and producer Quincy Jones used to say if he saw an old friend and they told him “you haven’t changed a bit,” he took it as an insult.
I’ve written posts like this before. But this one is new; I am changed since the last one. I changed so drastically — three months ago people clung to me like a magnet. Then an 11 a.m. meeting last month changed everything for me.
Today I am changed, and tomorrow will be different after tonight. Improving 1% each day means you will be 3000% better at the end of one year.
Everything changes and then it doesn’t.
Here are 12 books I read that changed my life, you can read them too if you like.
1. The Four Agreements
“I’m sorry it took so me so long to call you back. I was reading this book and I just finished it.”
“What’s it about?” she asked.
I didn’t know her well, so I had permission to say anything without caring how she took it.
“This is going to sound crazy, but I was reading this book and my entire spirit changed.”
“I could see all of the things that have been holding me back in life start to float around on the pages.”
I don’t know if she believed any of the things I said. I don’t expect you to believe me either.
My hope is that you will try it for yourself.
It’s a 2–3 hour read, which I re-read 2 times before completing this post. And I plan to carry it with me for the next few months.
If you read this, thank you PJ.
2. Choose Yourself
Best case scenario: you choose yourself and everything will begin to change for you.
I believe you can use this book to change your life. You can change anytime you want to.
It’s your choice, it always has been.
3. Living with a SEAL
This book will make you laugh, and it will plant the seed for a new belief. If you are fertile, you will start to accept this new belief: that you are capable of doing SO MUCH MORE than you are currently doing.
4. Extreme Ownership
I used to believe if you were in the military, you were a robot that followed military programming. This book proved my assumptions wrong. (See the Third Agreement from book #1 on this list.)
You will never make another excuse after reading this book. You will also learn how important clear communication is.
5. The ONE Thing
Everything you are doing does not matter. Everything does not have equal impact. But one thing really matters. Just do that one thing.
This book will help you to find it.
6. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
This will sound very strange (I’m judging myself as I write this) — this book will teach you how to fall in love with yourself.
You need to fall in love with YOU before you do anything else. If you read this book right after reading “The Four Agreements,” you will be an entirely different person than you were yesterday.
I love you.
7. Write Book Make Money
This book will show you a new path if you are open to it. There are other paths and possibilities out there for you. You can write for a living if you like.
I followed David’s steps to launch my first (Motivation For Recruiters), second (Cold Email Idea Machine), and third books.
8. The Obstacle Is The Way
A very senior recruiter I worked with said, “I would fire him, then I would fire the entire leadership team, keeping only the good managers.”
He hated some of the people we worked for and thought if he cleaned house, it would fix all problems. Creating a smooth path.
He was wrong.
The problems did not get in our way. The problems were THE way.
They held the lessons and experiences we needed to go through to get to the next level. By skipping problems, you miss the information required to grow.
You will learn how to reframe any obstacle by reading this book.
9. Hardwiring Happiness
Did you know you can actually hardwire happiness into your core? Do you know why negative experiences stick longer than positive ones?
This book answers these questions and more.
10. Cold Email Idea Machine
This book makes writing cold emails easier.
11. To Sell Is Human
This book will move you beyond the bias that selling is gross. You do it, she does it, they do it together. We are all selling every single day.
I shouldn’t tell you about this last book.
It’s likely to change you forever. But there is a catch…
There is always a catch.
You must be willing to do the work.
12. Become An Idea Machine
A few years later we had the chance to move forward. The opportunity was placed perfectly on the path before us. But instead of moving forward, we stopped and made excuses why we could not go forward.
That was it!
One phone call erased years of time together. We said goodbye, hung up, and walked away.
It’s my fault. I was afraid. Afraid of the reflection I had seen before.
Afraid to marry someone who would hate the person I am to become. How could I be with someone who never changed, who never grew? Or hated to see me grow?
I would die a slow painful death.
I hurt the night we broke up and a few times afterwards. Forgiveness is a drug that cures all pain.
To love someone you have to accept them as they are, for who they are. If they change, it’s because they wanted change.
When you try to change a person, you are exposed.
You never loved them.