The 1 Book That Changed My Life

Nothing Changes Until You Do

Black woman reading a book on a green sofa under a lamp.

Since 2013, books have always played an essential role in my life. Without them, I think my life would have been entirely different.

When I was little, my grandmother would always encourage me to read. But, quite honestly, I hated to read. I didn't find any enjoyment out of flipping from page to page looking at words on paper.

I saw it as a chore, frankly. So, instead, I would go outside, hang out with my friends and play basketball.

I didn't realize back then that regular reading was a necessary tool to live a healthy, joyful, and rich life.

And not rich just in the sense of money, but in rich relationships, overcoming problems quickly, and being well-informed to make wise decisions.

Since my grandmother grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, when racial discrimination and inequality reached a pivotal peak in America, many Black Americans saw reading as a necessity rather than a chore.

Reading and being well-informed could have cost them their family livelihoods and safety.

Not to mention, just a few years, 100 years before, during the time of slavery, it was considered a privilege for African Americans to read. In fact, it's estimated that only 10 percent of enslaved people were literate.

Clarence Lusane, a professor at Howard University, said there was a growing belief that "an educated enslaved person was a dangerous person."

Yet again we can see reading was a necessary tool to yield them a better life.

To me, it was considered a chore. I am unsure if I was lazy or modern society conditioned me to believe that reading wasn't "cool" enough. It could have been a mixture of both.

So, when my grandmother handed me Left For Dead, a memoir by Beck Weathers, who was crippled by a storm while climbing the summit of Mount Everest, I resisted reading it vehemently.

But of course, being the good grandson that I am, and the fact that my grandmother would test weekly, I read cringingly.

As I began to flip from page to page, I began to enjoy it.

This strange shift within me encouraged me to read more because I was curious about what happened next. It shifted my perspective and gave me a sense of inspiration.

When I graduated from high school and went off to college, I didn't touch a book. I only cared about my studies and getting a good job after school. I was chasing the American dream, to say the least.

And I got lost. After failing a course in my undergrad program, which happened to be the introductory course to Computer Science, my major. I wanted to drop out. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life nor where to turn.

Anyone who's ever felt lost in life or doesn't feel competent enough to accomplish their goals knows what I mean when these uncomfortable emotions rise.

From this point, most of my college experience was an uncomfortable struggle.

It wasn't until one of my friends introduced me to The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peal that my entire life changed.

The biggest thing this book taught me was that I didn't have to be at the effect of circumstances in my life. I could expect the best and receive them by changing my thoughts.

When I changed how I was thinking day-to-day, everything from my relationships to conquering daily stress and accomplishing my professional goals seemed to come with ease.

I felt like life was working for me rather than against me.

All because I changed how I was thinking. I almost thought I was living in a dream because of how quickly my life shifted.

I think William James said it best when he said, "the greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

This quote became very real to me because nothing changed in my life until I changed first.

Once I changed myself, my self-talk, behaviors, actions, and results began to manifest toward my liking.

The Power of Positive Thinking became a tool to help me induce a new level of thinking within myself to change the results in my life. Because as the saying goes, "nothing changes until you do."

Since then, reading has become a necessity in my own life. Whether it be approaching a challenging conversation with my significant other, in my finances, or even in developing my confidence to achieve bigger goals, it all came from reading.

Think of reading as a tool to help you alter your thinking. Once new knowledge is presented to a receptive mind, it can widen your perception of what you think is possible for you.

Let regular reading become a necessity as it has for me, so it can empower, inspire, and alter your thinking to ensure its alignment to the life you desire.

Here are some action steps you can take:

As the saying goes, "leaders are readers." Regular reading of a self-help book or an inspirational biography daily in the morning can give you the right mindset heading into the day. Set a timer for 20 minutes, find a quiet place, put all your devices on Do Not Disturb, and read with no distractions. You'll be amazed how time flies as you enjoy a good book. I like to read in the morning before everyone is up. I find it most helpful during this timeframe to kickstart my day.

Here is a list of 37 books I read in 2021 that you might be interested in.

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- Chazz Scott, Mindset & Resilience Coach, Founder of Supra Mentem, LLC.

Supra Mentem, LLC. provides corporate training, seminars, leadership and entrepreneur coaching, and workshops designed to provide effective strategies to propel individuals toward their potential personally and professionally.