“You’ll be the same person in five years as you are today except for two things…the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
I never get sick of hearing this quote and I’ve probably heard it more than anyone on the planet except for my older siblings. This was drilled into my head at an early age by my father, Charlie Jones. Televisions were locked away in the deepest, darkest recesses of the attic in an effort to promote reading and writing book reports during our teen years.
Reading was always a required part of my professional life. I had to read books and pass tests in order to meet promotion opportunities in the military. I had to read Air Force Instructions and Regulations so I understood the rules covering personnel as well as equipment and operations. I read many contractual documents and technical manuals as well to help me achieve success in other fields.
But while I was busy feeding my brain, was I really nourishing my mind? I was certainly meeting plenty of people who were constantly impacting me, but were the books I was reading doing the same thing?
We hear so much about reinventing ourselves. The workings of the mind are very simple: trash in, trash out. I’ve spent the last year reading, editing and publishing material that has turned me into a completely different mindset. Because of my previous careers, many would say I’m book smart as well as street smart. I would agree with that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have changed in a positive manner.
Book smarts are facts that come and go. Street smarts are the events that come and go. But the wisdom gained by spending time feeding your mind lasts a lifetime.