Chapter 3 | Expanding Your Knowledge Base
(Part 1 out of 2)
In this chapter I’ll discuss your knowledge base:
* The significance of learning and gathering.
* Sources of information available to you.
* Your personal library and books worth putting in it.
* Treasures you’d want to leave behind to your successors.
Expanding your knowledge base:
A powerful life philosophy is established by gathering knowledge from a wide variety of sources.
The basic process of knowing what kind of information you need and gathering it, is one of the main things when aspiring to live a better life.
This process comprises two keywords:
Learning (or studying):
* If you want to be successful - learn success.
* If you want to be happy - learn happiness. Happiness doesn’t happen by accident, first, it happens by learning and then by practicing.
* If you want to be rich - learn wealth.
Would you like to guess how many people actually learn about or make a research on wealth? That’s right, only a few.
Since health, wealth, happiness and success are clearly values worth nurturing, it would be naturally assumed people will study them thoroughly... So, why aren’t they?
This is another case of the mysteries of the mind...
Remember, ideas and information are one of the major things that'll benefit your future.
If you lack either, it’s not because you have no money or opportunity or resources, but because you lack ideas that could be turned into information or vice versa.
It says in the Bible: "If you look - you'll find". Meaning, that's the way to find ideas and information that can change your life for the better – look for them.
To this wonderful biblical phrase, the Ramhal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) added an expression of his own: "How will wisdom reach a man’s heart if not by him seeking it?”.
Wisdom won’t fall into your hands, you need to take steps to bring it to you – one step might be looking for ideas.
You must see movies, read books, consult with experts, go to seminars that'll bring you breakthrough ideas... It's very rare for an idea to come out of nowhere. By seeking ideas constantly, you’ll get them.
When you find a good idea – gather it. Don’t rely on your memory, gather everything.
Write it down, record it and memorize it.
As a diligent student of happiness, wealth and success I recommend you use a diary in which you’ll write down all the ideas you have gathered over time from books, lectures, conversations, films, songs etc...
If you have a serious intention to become rich, healthy, influential, special and/or successful - use a diary.
If you hear something you think is valuable – write it down.
If you come across something worth remembering – register that too.
Over the years, it’ll become a significant part of your self-learning and more importantly, it’ll become of great value to your personal library (more about your library below).
In one of his lectures, Rohn states:
I'm trying to get children to do what I do, which is buying empty books.
They find it interesting that I buy blank books, especially in my current status in which I can afford to buy very expensive books, $26 for an empty book...
They ask me: "$26 for a blank book? Why do you buy it?".
Well, the reason I buy expensive books is to force myself to find valuable information or good ideas, that'll be worth $26 or more, to write in this book.
All my diaries are private of course, but if you’ll stumble upon one, it won’t be long before you conclude it’s worth more than $26 and say: "He’s a serious student without a doubt”.
Buy yourself an empty book or the most expensive diary you can afford.
Start today a new self-discipline that will lead to success, happiness, and wealth:
Find out how things work, don’t end up in a situation saying "I couldn’t find it".
Here’s an expression you should keep in mind: you may not be able to do or make whatever you find, but make sure you find everything you can do or make.
You don't want to reach old age and realize you lived only a tenth of your life and the rest just went by, not because you didn’t have an opportunity, but because you didn’t have the necessary information.
Two available sources of information:
1. Your personal experience:
Be a diligent student of your life, make your life one of your main areas of study.
When you do that - be sure to learn from the negative things as well as from the positive ones, your failures as well as your successes.
Remember that sometimes your failures often serve you well when you learn from them and that sometimes they are better "teachers" than your successes.
One way to do something successfully is simply failing at it once... because there is nothing better than learning from your personal experience.
Rohn met his mentor, Mr. Shoaff, at the age of 25 and after working for six years.
Mr. Shoaff asked him: "Mr. Rohn, you've worked for six years now – how are you doing today?"
Rohn replied: "Not so good...”
Mr. Shoaff continued: "So I suggest you stop doing what you did until now"
He then asked: "How much money have you saved during these 6 years?"
Rohn replied: "I have no savings whatsoever."
Mr. Shoaff: "Who 'sold' you this plan 6 years ago?"
Now is time to ask yourself - what plan did you buy?
The answer could be unpleasant and may even be painful at first, but this is the exact time to think about the progress you’ll attain as a result of confronting these questions, confronting the mistakes you made, by becoming a better student of your own life.
Here's a phrase related to Plato: "The first and best victory is to conquer your own self”.
Once you decide to confront the painful questions – you’re on the way to your personal victory.
2. Other people's experience:
Remember, you can learn from other people whether they did things good or bad.
You can learn from the positive things as well as from the negative.
The Bible is a good book because it contains within it, stories about people that did both. One list of stories is called "examples" - do what these people did, and the second list of stories is called "warnings" – don’t do what they did...
If your life story will ever get published, make sure it will serve as an example rather than a warning... :)
Listen to lectures and read the books of people who have achieved amazing things in their lives, many successful people around the world read fervently and are curious for knowledge.
Did you know that there are tapes and books on issues such as how to be stronger, how to lecture better, how to be an effective leader, how to influence people and develop a personality - and people do not use them? How do you explain that?
Did you know that hundreds of successful people told their story in lectures and books, and people just don’t read them?
Some will claim to be busy, by saying: "If you’d work where I do, return home tired and at late hours, you too couldn’t have stayed up all night reading”.
These are precisely the people who live from month to month, work hard, honest people, but remember - you can be an honest person working hard all your life and ending them up being broke, confused and ashamed.
You must be more than “working hard", you must be a diligent reader, you must be a good listener.
No need to listen to lectures or read books all night long (although if you’re broke – it’s a good place to begin with), thirty minutes a day is a good start, that's all.
If you can extend it to an hour, that’s even better!
During a period of thirty minutes listen to or read something challenging, something informative… at least thirty minutes a day.
Most importantly - every day.
Don’t miss out! Miss a meal but don’t miss these thirty minutes. Your body will be just fine without a meal or two, but you won’t make it without ideas, examples and inspiration.
There is a phrase in the Bible that says: Man can't live on a meal alone or on bread alone.
It says there, the next important thing after the bread is "words".
Words feed the mind and soul.
People must have food and words, in order for them to be healthy and successful.