Read a Book and Disagree With It

Do you like apples?

Read a Book and Disagree With it

My favorite movie of all time is Good Will Hunting.  There’s a wonderful scene in the movie where the main character Will Hunting(played by Matt Damon) confronts a Harvard-mouth poser for reciting lines from historical literature to position himself better in the eyes of a young dame (Minnie Driver).

Will delivers a dynamite quote,

“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years, you’re gonna start doing some thinking on your own, and you’re gonna come up with the fact there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f—— education you could’ve gotten for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.”

What can this possibly teach you?

To anyone reading this with a Harvard education, don’t think for a second I’m demeaning your hard work and investment.  Instead, think about what Will is really saying in the quote above.

It’s really easy to buy a book, consume it, and agree with it’s every word. Genius!  Just the kind of thinking that will solve our problems moving forward.  Maybe you even memorize a few passages along the way.

No.  Challenge the book.  Learn to think critically and develop your own molded viewpoint of the world.

Read many books.  Make many agreements and many disagreements.

ACTION ITEM: This is how you grow.  New viewpoints, challenging opinions, and open thinking.  Just don’t wait the 50 years to do some thinking of your own.

“How do ya like them apples!!!”

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset


I just got done reading, “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success” thanks to a recommendation from a friend on Twitter (Chris Wood – follow him @ChrisWood415).

This fantastic book took me about three days to read and I’ll likely read it at least two or three more times.  The reason why, is the information contained in this book is absolutely necessary for all leaders today.  NECESSARY!

The book compares the fixed and growth mindset and the affect each has on leadership, ability to learn, and overall mental capacity for growth.  I’m extremely visual so I’ll make the following comparison.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 9.30.31 AM

Specifically the Fixed Mindset: I see this as a ruler.  The fixed mindset is always focused on measurement.  Best, brightest, smartest, most successful, etc.  These people and leaders are in it for the “I” and accomplishment for themselves.  Likely even at the expense of others.  History tells us the brutal stories of great fixed minded leaders so focused on their own greatness and power that they neglected to see what was really happening to their empires.

The ruler is also inelastic.  It can’t and does NOT change.  You could say the fixed mindset would agree with, “It is what it will be” nothing more or less.  Intelligence is fixed.  You’re either blessed to be smart or dumb.  You’re either “gifted” or normal.  You have the skill or don’t.  The book outlines many leaders of enormous companies with this mindset and the fatal flaws that occurred because of it.  I won’t tell you who they are because I think you should read the book yourself.

a-ball-of-clay-webThe second mindset is the Growth Mindset.  I associate this to a ball of clay.  A ball of clay isn’t sexy.  But it’s shape and form are not yet defined.  Through different experiences, pressures, and the impressions of those around it, the clay will take on a new shape.  Possibly many different shapes in its lifetime.

The growth mindset is one we should strive for.  Growth minded leaders are not the smartest, brightest, most ego driven.  They’re in it for the “we” and for the team.  They appreciate the challenge and feedback of others so long as its focused on the betterment of the entire group.  Growth minded leaders are in it for the challenge and not entirely the absoluteness of the outcome or result.

Looking at this from a personal perspective I can tell you I battle to be a better growth minded person.  I grew up with a mindset of achievement and look what I did.  It was the fastest way to get ahead.  Win more often.  I’m great, look at me, I’ve accomplished, I deserve reward.

I believe it’s the result of age, experiences and the willingness to learn that this is changing for me personally.  Perspective is a wonderful teacher if you just allow it to sink in.  Lastly, I’d like to thank Carol Dweck for writing this terrific and easy to read piece.  I hope to share it with many others.

ACTION ITEM: I highly encourage you to make the small investment to read this book.  But please don’t stop there.  Share it with a friend, not to call them out as a “fixed” mindset person, but to challenge them to think differently and get better!  To make this easy I’ve provided a direct link to the book below.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

We Are What We Consume

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and thoughts.

Have you heard of the documentary, “Super Size Me?”  In it, Morgan Spurlock submits his body to eating only McDonalds for one year.  If the thought of this doesn’t make your colon quiver, it will once you lookup the documentary.  Yuck is an understatement!

Most of us wouldn’t dream of eating McDonalds every meal for one year straight, but I’d like to take a look at what we consume from a mental perspective to challenge your thinking.  Many a study are published every year with new “super foods” to add to our diet.  When we look back at making real change in our diets it usually involves: eating more fruits/vegetables, limit red meat, eat more chicken/fish, drink a lot of water, don’t over-consume alcohol, etc.  I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but you get the idea.


Lets turn the tables now to look at what we consume from a mental and thought perspective.  How healthy is your mental diet?  Again, how HEALTHY is your mental diet?  In order to best understand our mental diet I’ve chosen to relate it to the timeless food Pyramid pictured here on the right.

When I think of my mental diet I think of the following elements I choose to consume daily:

1. Podcasts (Fruits) – I’ve got six to seven I subscribe to and listen to almost weekly.  They challenge me to think about my: finances, new strategies, marketing, and of course sports (Dan Patrick Show).   I listen to these in the car and while doing household chores.


2. Audiobooks (Vegetables)- I’ve got about 10-15 audiobooks I listen to frequently because every time I listen, I learn or implement something new into my life.  I grabbed a snapshot of a few of them for you as well to show you I mean what I’m saying.  It’s at the bottom of this post as I’ve run out of room here.  Like my podcasts I consume these in the car, working out, or while doing household chores.

3. TV Shows (Fats/Oils/Sweets) – I do watch TV and I can’t tell you a lot of it is real solid “learning material” but that’s ok.  We can’t all be on 100% of the time.  My wife and I have a few shows we watch together (Parenthood, Modern Family, and Homeland).  It’s a great way for us to connect.

4. Books (Meat/Protein)- I found this link very interesting: The Average CEO Reads 4-5 Books Per Month.   Do the math people.  That’s over 50 books a year.  How many of you have read 50 books in your life?  There are reading lists everywhere.  Start now.

5. Relationships (Bread/Cereal/Rice/Pasta)- This is the last one on my list and most likely the most over looked consumption medium.  I know a guy who was a completely different person based on the people he was around 5-6 years ago until a friend called him out on it.  That guy was ME!  Choose who you look up to and associate with carefully.  Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Relationships are what we consume the most of on a daily basis and the bottom of our mental consumption pyramid.

Lastly I thought I’d share a list of all the opportunities we have on a daily basis to make ourselves better.  Look at your day and tell me you don’t do one or more of these activities: exercising, eating breakfast, during a commute, in the shower, during lunch, cooking, doing household chores, flying/travel, gardening, and brain-numbing television.  YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE!

ACTION ITEM:  Don’t try to eat the whole elephant.  What I mean is, don’t go off on an over consumption strategy.  We know from diet studies this doesn’t yield positive results.  Studies show goals are reached with the creation of really good habits.  Create a new mental consumption habit and fuel your hungry mind with challenging new practices and techniques.  With every day that passes, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a Keen Mind.


As promised here is a quick look at the audiobooks I mentioned above and a list for you to consume.