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Little Things

Jeff Olson is a billionaire.  His life story is one of those rags to riches tales common among the very wealthy here in the United States.  Basically, Mr. Olsen was a beach bum who woke up one morning and said to himself, ‘I ain’t living like this no more!’  The rest is business history.

In his book The Slight Edge Jeff tells a story about a woman working in an airport out of which he frequently flew.  She operated a shoe shine stand in the lobby of the air port.  She was bright, and congenial, and always eager to take care of her customers.  Jeff noticed that she always had a book handy to read when she wasn’t busy.  He also noticed that the books she always had handy to read when she wasn’t busy were romance novels.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with romance novels, except for the fact that like Gilligans Island, or The Love Boat, they are strictly entertainment.  They are fictitious people doing fictitious things in fictitious places during fictitious times.

Though apparently happy, and apparently well adjusted, the woman was also apparently not very well off.  That is to say, she wasn’t affording herself nor the World at Large the better part of her potential.

The woman didn’t ask Jeff for his counsel so what she did with herself was none of Jeffs business.  However, like the archetypes in romance novels, Jeff pondered the woman archetypically.

What if the woman chose a field of interest to study outside of absolute entertainment … philosophy, literature, psychology, anthropology.  What if she sat down her romance novel, picked up a book on her selected subject, read 10 pages from that book, closed it, sat it back down, and picked back up her romance novel to read?  What would happen if she just read 10 pages of substantial materiel per day on a selected subject.

Here’s what would happen.  In just under a month, she would have finished a 250 page volume on her subject.  Nice, but I don’t think it would qualify her for going on a speaking tour.  In one year, reading just 10 pages per day, she would have read fourteen 250 page volumes on her selected subject, and be just over halfway through a fifteenth volume.  At this point, she would be well on her way to becoming an expert on the subject.  At the end of ten years the woman would have read one hundred and forty six 250 page volumes on her subject.  At this point she would statistically be among the top 5% of those knowledgeable and learned on her selected subject … and, I’d venture to say more valuable than minimum wage.

What do you read?  What do you watch?  What do you listen to?  You don’t’ have to be a slave to personal development to develop personally.  However, like Mr. Olsen preaches, little things, easy to do, so easy to do they are easy not to do, done consistently over time, ultimately bring about phenomenal results.

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  1. 2010/12/29 at 15:25

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