Profound Reads from 2019
Updated: Aug 22, 2020
As we strike out the first days of a new year on our calendar, I always find myself in a space of reflection and intention moving into the future weeks and months. I’m not talking about this ‘New Decade, New Me’ ideal but more of being 1% better every day in 2020 which will compound and put closer to achieving my ambitions of the new year.
Upon reflecting on what did and didn’t work for me, I discovered 3 particular books which have paid dividends in 2019 and so, I believe they can bring benefit and efficiency to the pursuit of your goals in 2020.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
In 2017, mentor Paul Nolan introduced me to the work of James Clear. Back then, I had a limited understanding of personal development, neuroscience and psychology but James Clear broke down any and all barriers to entry and made everything sound so simple. The wisdom he imparted was on the world of habits, systems and identity. There’s one James Clear quote that is now burned into my psyche which is “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”. Put in a way no one else ever had, he lay before me the enlightenment of building systems around your goals so that each and every day, you achieve small incremental wins which build momentum and result in a completed goal.
Atomic Habits is his New York Times Bestselling book breaking down all of his research, experience and views offering actionable tips on how to approach your goals in any field so that you can engineer a system that will help you achieve the growth you desire.
Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey
On a flight to Prague feeling burnt out after the inaugural Electronic Sound Summit, I began to read Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey. I had been eyeing up the book for a while but after experiencing Chris Baileys talk at TEDxManchester in the flesh and having the opportunity to meet him, I knew I needed to dedicate time to read this book as soon as possible. In a similar way to James Clear, he informed my realisation that I had never been taught how to focus; whether in school or by my parents - yet it is arguably one of the pivotal skills in taking action and getting things done.
In the book, Chris breaks down the different kinds of focus including creativity vs productivity along with some nuggets on the uses of alcohol and caffeine as tools for focus.
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
If you made it through 2019 without discovering or hearing from David Goggins, I would love to know how. David Goggins embodies many characteristics of a mutant and tank in human form and in the past 2 years has been at the forefront of personal development and growth. His book, ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ played a huge part in rewiring my perception and approach to suffering last year.
Without spoiling any of the story, Goggins the American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist and ex-US Navy Seal has achievements including running 100 miles in 24 hours without training, being the only man ever to go through three Navy Seal Hell weeks in a year and is the former world record holder for the most amount of pull-ups in 24 hours. While all of these highlights are of physical acts, the whole book focuses more on the mind in connection to suffering and pain.
In the case of this book, I would recommend listening to the Audiobook instead of the hardcopy as the delivery is so impactful due to if feeling more like a podcast experience than a formal audiobook as David regularly jumps in and off-script expresses his experience further.
Make this your Mantra in 2020
The biggest barrier between achieving your goals this year and every year is to take action. Whether that's in the form of reading one of these books, writing your business plan or generating sales leads - taking action and putting the work in is the biggest ingredient to them all.
When you have your moments of doubt in the new year as I guarantee we all - will remind yourself of this: ‘No Mud, No Lotus’. A mantra I live by which I define as, without action, pain and hard work there can be no success. Alternatively in the case of the lotus flower, without the mud on the bottom of the river bed, there can be no beautiful lotus flower.