THoughts and musings
For 2021, I set out to read or listen to 52 books, each roughly around 250 pages. Some were longer and others shorter, all in all, they were not short books. in 2020, I only managed 42 books, so this has been an improvement. Some books were repeats from previous years, which offers the opportunity to go deeper with new insights and reviewing previous learnings.
Here I am, in the last week of December and I have reached the end of my 52nd book (see cover above). This was a book I purchased on a whim at the Vienna main train station as I needed to buy something in order to reduce my parking ticket cost. It is a work of fiction, but I would call it, meaningful fiction. The sort of book that changes the way you think about life and how precious it is and what it is all about.
The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig, is about Nora, who is extremely unhappy in her life. Through a series of unfortunate events where she feels like her life has no meaning, she decides to take some pills to try to overdose on medication. She doesn't want to live anymore. In the moment of her death, she is transported to a library where she meets a character very similar to her school librarian. This person offers her the chance to try out other versions of lives. All the books on the shelves are the infinite possibilities of others lives, where Nora made different choices that led to different outcomes. Nora initially looks for lives where she could experience being an Olympic swimmer, or not having her cat die or where she still sings in her band. Each offers her a touching personal insight that ultimately leads her to discover that she wants to live in her original life. That is was meaningful. Through a series of climatic twists and turns, she returns to her original life just in time, not fully dying from the attempted overdose. She gets to hospital and is able to make a recovery and turn her life around. For me, it was a gripping read and made me realise the value in life and how what appears to be fulfilling in one sense, comes with difficulty and sacrifice in another. Also, to certain types of fiction which can be quite meaningful.
For 2022, I would like to read another 52 books, but this time combine it with some re-reads, as well as some new reads and some fiction. Send me your recommendations!
Often a book comes along, which speaks such profound and simple truth, that you know it will help you shift perspective and learn new things. This book by Derek Sivers, was gifted to me by my fellow Toastmaster Lukas Liebich, when he visited me in Vienna a few weeks ago. I am really grateful he gave it to me. It is full of rich insights into the music industry and is aimed at musicians, but insights are applicable across many role and industries.
It is a short volume which reads a little like a daily journal. Something that after reading it through you could go back to from time-to-time and explore things further. This is a wonderful thing about books and re-reading them. As you continue to grow and develop, so do the insights from the words you read. I look forward to this book being in my list for 2022.
The rest of this review will give you an insight into the ideas and pages that resonated with me. This is not an exhaustive list, as I encourage you to obtain the title and read it for yourself. These are simply some of my thoughts and favourite chapters.
Restrictions will set you free - Here Derek talks about placing restrictions on yourself so things are not so 'open'. We function better when we have small personal targets to meet. This really resonates with me, as I have a daily set of habits I remind myself to do. This restriction helps me focus my day and get a few more things done. I will go further with this in my future work in 2022. By restricting yourself, you can allow your mind to focus on creating results.
You don't get extreme results without extreme actions - This is not a line for a Tony Robbin's workshop, but Derek is highlighting the need to stand out (opposite of normal) and do things others are not prepared to do. Extreme focus, practice and ambition in the case of musicians, will help them succeed. To be 100% in your venture. This is something I certainly would like to improve, as I often spread myself into different ventures. I am certainly focused and get things done, but would like in 2022, to laser into particular areas.
Not happy with existing venues? Make a new one - The line in this chapter that really helped me is: "If you're not happy with the way things are, dot's just complain. Go make things how they should be." In other words, create something new. Derek did this in his music career and it sounds like he led the field. Great advice. Sometimes we can create something out of nothing. This is how entrepreneurs work. While Elon Musk and Thomas Edison might have become famous doing it, we can also do it for ourselves. I like this and will check myself next time I complain about something to see what I could create instead.
Why you need a database - This chapter really stuck out for me and is one of my main takeaways. Have a database or spreadsheet with notes, tags, contacts and communication history. It helps you to track what you have done and where you can followup and ties in nicely with giving you some restrictions. A weekly goal of adding to the database, taking small steps and keeping track of things. Rather than hoping and leaving things to chance, it helps to keep on top of things.
Are fans telling friends? If not, don't promote - This chapter is towards the end of the book and highlights that you need to keep working, improving and creating so that people (fans) want to tell their friends about you and your work. This applies to everything. As a Singer or a Voice Coach, this is important for me and certainly I have picked up a few assignments in the last 6 months as a result of word of mouth recommendations. This tells me I am mixing with the right people in the right direction and having a good effect. Derek points out, we don't want to ask for favours, but create enthusiasm in people so they just want to tell others about you.
This is about it for now and as mentioned, there are plenty of other insights you might also like in the book, so order a copy or contact me to discuss. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did if you read it.