“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news over the last few years, the general consensus seems to agree the act of reading is in decline. As avid readers and authors, the statistics make Marc and I cringe sometimes. But we’re optimistic for another reason.
Why? A readership catastrophe is really just a leadership opportunity. In other words, for people who know how to respond effectively, any “catastrophe” is just another way of saying “there’s an opportunity for improvement here.”
Marc and I have been avid readers for decades: self-improvement, business, history, spirituality, philosophy, current events, fiction, and then some. Most people think of us as writers, but we know the only way to be a good writer is to be a great reader first. Reading has enabled us to learn and grow into the leadership roles we fill today via our blog, book and course/coaching.
We’re not alone either. We know very few leaders who are uninterested in reading, regardless of their industry or profession. And many of them read even more frequently than we do.
The bottom line is that all readers are likely to become leaders in some capacity, even if they are simply leaders within their families and close social circles, or leaders of their own peace of mind and happiness. And with reading in decline, readers possess a comparative advantage in all walks of life.
The biggest advantage that reading gives us, I think, is the fact that it’s one of the most efficient ways to acquire new information, and we all need a lot of everyday information to keep things in perspective and seize good opportunities. But reading does more than just give us a new set of tools for thinking; it actually upgrades all of our existing intellectual tools as well, especially our problem-solving and analytical capabilities.
As readers, we not only learn more, but we are also more proficient at deciphering misinformation – our habit of reading gradually improves our judgment. And being able to correctly size up a situation is crucial for being effective at whatever we’re doing.
Speaking for myself, I know my reading habit has sharpened my edge. I’m always enamored when I’m working on a puzzling issue and some out-of-left-field piece of information comes to mind from something I’ve read that helps me put all the pieces together.
So with the importance of reading in mind, it’s time to read or re-read our 12 most popular posts (based on the number of reader views, social shares and comments) from this past year. If you give them a chance, each one of these quick reads has the power to change the way you think, live and love, so you can stay on track to living at your greatest potential…
- 12 Little Known Laws of Gratitude (That Will Change Your Life) – When Marc and I discus the importance of gratitude with our coaching/course students, we often get a “Yeah, yeah, I know…” response. But the truth is, most of us don’t know – because we’re forgetful. In the haste of our busy lives we neglect many of the basic laws of gratitude, and thus miss out entirely on their positive effects. This post is a good refresher, for all of us.
- 9 Things You Should Do Every Day Before 9 A.M. – The morning is enormously important. It’s the foundation from which the day is built. How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have. I’ve changed my mornings, so they work for me and not against me, with just a few simple rituals. And I’ve shared these morning rituals with thousands of coaching clients/students over the years, and many of them come back to me a month or two later and say, “Thank you!” Perhaps they will help you as well.
- 8 Toxic Beliefs Most People Think Are Normal – It’s not the circumstances of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs about what those circumstances mean. If you can relate to any of the toxic beliefs discussed in this article, you are not alone. We all have unhealthy thoughts and tendencies buried deep within us that have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes. The key is awareness – recognizing these beliefs and fixing them before they work their way into your daily routines.
- 7 Things You Should Insist On No Matter What People Say – Through a decade of life, relationship, and small business coaching, I’ve witnessed people reinventing themselves at all ages – 48-year-olds starting families, 57-year-olds graduating from college for the first time, 71-year-olds starting successful businesses, and so forth. How did they do it? They insisted upon making changes, and they followed through. You can follow in their footsteps.
- 10 Things Self-Loving People Do Differently – The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself. For me, shifting from self-loathing to self-love has been profoundly healing. Now I see happy, successful people and I smile, knowing that their lives are products of a series of decisions that support their well-being. Here’s what they do differently.
- 5 Things to Remember When Someone You Love is Depressed – There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. Marc and I have worked with dozens of depressed people over the years, and we have experienced bouts of depression ourselves. One thing I am certain of is that there’s no “one size fits all” kind of advice for depression. The reminders in this post aren’t universal clarifications, but simple guidelines that will hopefully give you a general starting point for helping your depressed loved one cope and heal, gradually.
- 10 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Sensitive People – Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weak or broken. But to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the characteristic of a truly alive and compassionate human being. It is not the sensitive person who is broken, it is society’s understanding that has become dysfunctional and emotionally incapacitated. There is zero shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being ‘too emotional’ or ‘complicated’ are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more thoughtful, caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your feelings, smiles and tears shine a light in this world.
- 5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Everyone Thinks of You – You could spend the whole year worrying about what other people think of you, but it wouldn’t get you anywhere. Over a century ago, social psychologist Charles Cooley identified the phenomenon of the “looking-glass self,” which is when we believe “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am – I am what I think that you think I am.” This kind of external validation has insecurity at its core, and relying on it for even a short time chips away at our sense of self-worth and self-confidence.
- 10 Things to Remember About Toxic Family Members – Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Sometimes, however, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache. Letting go of (or breaking up with) a toxic friend, boyfriend or girlfriend is one thing, and there’s plenty of advice out there for doing so, but what about letting go of a toxic family member? That’s the sensitive topic we cover in this post.
- 4 Toxic Behaviors that Tear Couples Apart – The best relationships are the best not because they have always been the happiest, but because they have stayed strong through the mightiest of storms. Over the years, through our coaching practice and premium course, Marc and I have worked with thousands of individuals and couples looking to fix their failing relationships, and we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make this happen.
- 5 Powerful Rituals of Mentally Strong People – Nothing can dim the light which shines from within. Realize this. Realize that your mind is strong enough to cope with any circumstance that crosses your path. And you don’t have to be born mentally strong either. You can develop this vital trait with practice. Here are five key things people with remarkable mental strength do daily.
- 40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive – When things go wrong, don’t go with them. When you feel negativity creeping up inside you, I challenge you to replace your negative thoughts and words with positive alternatives. Take a look at the quotes from this post that we’ve selected from our blog archive. Pick one (or more) of them that relates to your present troubles, and use it as a mantra by repeating it to yourself when you need it most.
A special thanks goes out to each of you for making 2015 an incredible year for Marc and me. This blog (and the mom and pop business it supports) continues to grow each year beyond our wildest expectations. And this growth has occurred entirely from the direct support of readers like you.
So thank you for reading and sharing our work with others this past year. But even more than that, thank you for sharing the belief that living a happy, fulfilling life is worth the effort.
Here are just a few successful happenings – business and personal – that Marc and I are thankful for as we close the door on 2015:
- Our Newsletter (subscribe here) now unites and inspires over 135,000 positive living advocates around the world.
- Our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently, has sold over 30,000 copies.
- Our coaching course, Getting Back to Happy, has over 600 students actively working together to improve their lives.
- Our live seminar, Think Better, Live Better, taking place this January in Austin sold out (digital tickets/recordings are still available and half price through the 10th).
- Our son, Mac, is now walking, talking and expressing himself with the cutest toddler antics imaginable.
- We successfully settled down in South Florida and are now celebrating our first holiday season in our new home with our extended family.
Looking forward to the goodness 2016 has in store, for all of us…
How about you? What happened in 2015 that you are thankful for? In what way are you looking forward to improving your life in 2016? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.