- Phase 1: Reading more books
I started in the month of April, 2020. I was tired of trying to talk smart but without having the right understanding and context of issues. I discovered that despite pursuing an advanced degree, my understanding on issues and contributions in class did not meet the expectations I had set for myself. I also realized that I could hardly sustain conversations on topics outside my areas of interest. Also, personal experiences shaped my opinion, and I was quite subjective in my thinking. I had little appreciation for the connection between the status quo and the changing trends on a subject matter. I knew I had great ambition but it became clear to me each day that my skills and knowledge acquired had not prepared me adequately for the next steps in my career life.
- My 20-page-rule approach
I had a list of books I always wanted to read so I started to set a rule of reading 20 pages a day. Bear in mind I had never finished reading a 200-page book before. But what 20 pages a day did was that it helped me to finish reading a 253-page book in 12 days. After I finished my first book (Think and Grow Rich), I was extremely excited to know I could do it. I could not believe it was possible. When I started reading the first 20 pages, I wondered if I could finish. But the following day, I was done with another 20 pages which was very impressive; then it followed with another 20 pages until I had covered 60 pages. Wow! It looked very easy now. In 12 days, I was done with reading 253 pages. I could not believe it. I was elated. I followed it up with a new book: The Science of Becoming Rich. It was 75 pages and within 4 days, I was done. 2 books in 16 days – unbelievable! This was history being made in my life. At this pace, I started reading two books at a time. It looked so possible now. I was reading the 12 Absolutes of Leadership and Authentic Leadership together. Both were a little over 200 pages. I started reading 20 pages each for both books; one in the morning and the other later in the day. I spent an hour and 30 minutes in reading my 20 pages for each book. Within 10 days, I was done with both books. Guess what? I was not just reading. I actually had a personal book in which I wrote interesting facts and points I gathered from reading. Within 26 days, I had read 4 books. For someone who took months and sometimes a year to finish a small book, this approach seemed to work. I continued the same plan in the subsequent months. I will share my struggles at the end of the article.
- Phase 2: Research – The paragraph rule
I was in my final year of university for my advanced degree and had to complete my thesis. I struggled to start and whenever I started, I could not follow through. So I began to employ the paragraph rule. Following Jim Rohn’s teachings and also my progress on the 20-page rule, I was motivated that I could pull through the research thesis. On the first day, I wrote a paragraph but it didn’t have much information. However, I was persistent and subsequently I discovered that a paragraph became two paragraphs and so on. I eventually got to writing one page a day. My progress was phenomenal.
- Step 1:Acknowledge the situation
Acknowledging I was a procrastinator was the first step. I did not argue any more with people who told me I was a procrastinator. I had come to accept this weakness of mine. Once I came to terms with it, I made specific changes to my life.
- Step 2: Assess the losses
I tried to identify the losses I had made as a result of procrastination. I started with all the opportunities I had missed as a result of not taking immediate steps to address the concerns of the people who had lost trust in me. This assessment helped me to discover that I had actually told people over eight ideas for various businesses but had actually never put these business ideas into writing or action. Secondly, I discovered several promises I made to people that I never delivered on or practically forgot about.
- Step 3: Set a target
When I assessed my losses, I discovered that I had actually never set targets. I had it in mind to read a book but never had in mind how many pages I wanted to read a day based on my schedule.
I discovered that I was giving myself tasks based on time I never had or created.
- My failures
After making so much progress within three months, I was impressed with myself and I consider this change to be a major paradigm shift in my life. However, unfortunately, I got distracted along the way due to several factors. This impacted my ability to move at the pace I wanted. The good news is that my ability to achieve great milestones from April to June was my motivation. With time, I picked myself up again to complete this article by using the paragraph rule. I have learnt that I need to take a day at a time and accept that some days may not be as great as others. But in all of this, I am grateful for the small and great leaps I made and continue to make in the journey which continues.