“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”Benjamin Franklin
I love reading. If you looked at my home office space right now, you’d know that’s an understatement. I’ve got books coming out of books. There are books on, underneath, adjacent and near my desk. I read both fiction and nonfiction (I find there’s value in both in different ways).
Did you sense the but coming?
But, reading isn’t everything. Books can make you smart and open your mind to ideas you never thought of. They can take you to imaginative worlds and spin thrilling tales where you can’t turn away. They can give you the knowledge (answers and questions) you seek and say your time and heartache by avoiding hard lessons learned by others. And they can become the mentors you need for $10 or so bucks when you can’t find the advice you are looking for. All from authors, entrepreneurs, artists, thinkers, warriors and more from all of human history and civilization. (Wisdom of the ages, as they say.)
But books won’t do the work for you.
Reading is sometimes insightful and sometimes a cheap distraction for something you know you need to do. “I need to start working on my business idea, but I don’t know enough yet. Maybe I’ll read another book first…”, or “One day I’ll be a great programmer, but for now I need to read *another* coding book…” No, you probably don’t. What you need to do is start *programming*. Insert your desired skill here.
Books are a great way to learn, but they don’t supplement action.
“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”Henry David Thoreau
I’m telling myself this more than anyone, by the way. Books aren’t the only thing that can distract us. Maybe your thing is TV instead. Or film. Or cleaning. Or (only) hanging with friends. Or spending all your time drinking. No shame here. No shade.
The question we need to ask ourselves is are we doing this (watching tv, eating, etc) to enjoy it or are we doing it to distract ourselves and avoid doing what we really want (and sometimes need) to do.
When it seems like you can do anything BUT what you need or want to do, then you are likely avoiding it for some reason.
Fear can do it sometimes. fear of messing up and looking like a boob.
Laziness too. But laziness is a delay tactic to avoid change and avoid negative or undesired life outcomes.
But neither fear or laziness will make it — or your life — any better.
Learning is great. Reading is one of my favorite things I do. But if all we do is learn and never apply, what’s the point in the first place?
But some times you just need to put the book down, bookmark your place to come back to later, and then get out there and do something.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #866