We have been doing some renovating, and I have installed a big, beautiful bookcase in my office. I have been relocating my books that were scattered in a variety of locations onto these new shelves, and I was totally amazed that this new bookcase still wasn’t big enough for all of my books. I stood in amazement as I attempted to take in the number of volumes and thought, Have I really read all these books? The wisdom of the ages by so many authors… Have I simply glanced through them or have I taken in and applied the contents? I felt ashamed at my obvious lack of application.
And then just to add vinegar to my bruised ego, I got an email today that said:
“Over 89% of the personal development and business books that are purchased or downloaded go entirely unread. Out of the 11% left, just 1% will study the book and execute any of the concepts they find in the book—even when they have been told that applying the information would bring instantaneous and radical benefits to them and their businesses. And of those 1% who take a stab to implement the ideas, even less will translate the concepts and use the ideas appropriately.”
Wow! Only 1%.
I am not a mathematician, but those stats leave me icy cold. I have less than a 1% chance of benefiting from all these books I have purchased over the years. And yet I have been told that the best investment I can make is an investment in me. Ouch!
As I leaf through a book by Brian Tracy, he talks about eating frogs…and I remember when as a young girl I was tricked into eating a frog leg. I thought it was chicken. It looked like Kentucky Fried and it tasted like Kentucky Fried, but the bone was definitely not a chicken bone. It was a frog leg. Yuck! But I came to understand it was only the thought of eating the frog that was “yuck.”
Frog eating isn’t really that hard. It is really only the thought in the beginning that can be hard. But in some countries, frogs are a delicacy. So, if I can “see” frog eating differently, it then becomes a luxury to me. I can train myself to enjoy the delicious taste of frogs, even though in the beginning I might need a little help.
“Frog eating” is a way of life now. I get up every morning and while enjoying my cup of tea, I spend at least 20–30 minutes in the luxury of my book. I underline, highlight, and then go back and reread what I have highlighted. It is true that leaders are readers, and to be part of that “less than 1%” family, reading must become a daily habit. In my lifetime I could never physically experience all that these authors have written. I can read John Maxwell’s books on leadership and take advantage of his years of research and experience and apply that to my life and my situations. The first principle is to actually read each day by habit. The second is the application of the ideas learned from books.
Success is simply a repetition of good habits. It’s really easy to say but not so easy to do, unless you surround yourself with other winners who do the same. Brian Tracy said that “the thing that no one else will do” is the thing that makes the most money and brings the greatest success and satisfaction. If you are part of the 1% who will eat the frog, you will be guaranteed a rewarding life and income for the rest of your life.
It sounds kind of ridiculous, but it is absolute wisdom if you take time to consider it. Every person who is a champion does what the common person won’t do. Champions are willing to eat the frog of inconvenience, a small price tag to earn the right to wear the gold around your neck.
Go eat your frog. It simply works!