How to Get Better at Anything

I can’t seem to read enough these days. I wake up early. Go on Amazon’s website and click on over to the book section. And then … I get excited just thinking about it … I click once more and I am on the Kindle Deals webpage.

Oh my gosh! I freakin’ love this page. I am addicted and have probably purchased ten books in the last month just on this page alone.

Granted there are days when nothing interests me. Yes, there are always romance novels for a buck, gardening manuals for 2, and John Maxwell books for 3.  By the way, I love watching Maxwell’s videos on YouTube. In fact, he could probably convince me to buy a cat if he wanted to. He’s that convincing. Sorry cat-owners, but they make me sneeze and cause my eyes to itch.

You get the point. I am not going to buy a John Maxwell book when I can watch one of his many free and hypnotic videos online. Maybe it’s just me.

But, then there are those days. When I see out of the corner of my eye. I see it. That book that I have been wanting to read but not quite ready to pay 15 bucks for. It happened just the other day.

It wasn’t light out yet. I brewed a nice cup of coffee with my french press. Yeah, I’m old school. Opened my laptop. Clicked twice to reach the Daily Kindle Deals page and what did I see?

I had been wanting to buy Dan Heath’s latest book, Upstream, for months. I’d heard how good it was. I loved the other books he had written with his brother Chip. Are they joined at the hip? And what gives? Was Chip too busy?

Anyway, I

before it disappeared. I was ecstatic. I know it’s sad that small victories like this fire me up. But they do and it did. The book was awesome by the way.

This has been my summer.

Find a great deal on a book I have been wanting to read.

Click once.



Right about now, you’re wondering if the 352 (yes, I counted) words you just read are heading anywhere, trust me, I am almost there.

You see, despite the fact that I have been reading many amazing books this summer, I haven’t been writing. Or at least, I haven’t been writing as much as I should or could. As Steven Pressfield points out in The War of Art, the Resistance takes over. And once again, I’ve put off reading for writing.

True Confession: This piece was inspired by the video below. 

In this short, 5-minute video, Jon implores us to stop spending so much time thinking about writing and just write damn it! Actually, he didn’t curse, I did.

Now, I get it. Reading is important. Necessary even. Especially for someone like me who didn’t read much growing up. I was the type of kid who would read the back cover of the book, the Cliff Notes (am I dating myself here?), or dare I say it? Watch the movie.

Oh no I didn’t!

Yes, I did.

Look, I love The Lord of the Rings series. But those books are soooooo long. I know I just offended a few most readers. I get it. Just remember, I am a new man and I have found that as I approach the half a century mark, I love nothing more than to read a great book. In fact, my reading-to-television ratio is probably something like 10 to 1.

Of course, that ratio was probably just a bit different when Game of Thrones was still on, But whose wasn’t? Jon Snow? Daenerys Targaryen? And those dragons? You have to admit those dragons were badass.

I digress.

There comes a point when I need to just sit down and do. We are in love with our planners, outlines, and to-do lists. I know I am. Heck, I have to admit. Some days I add tasks to my to-do list that I’ve already completed. Just so I experience the bliss of crossing them off.

But now is the time to do. Maybe I am having a mid-life epiphany. I’ll be 50 in two weeks. Maybe I have been stuck in the house for too long. Or maybe, just maybe. I am right.

Much research has been done on the power of visualization. And I for one am a big believer. Not a day goes by where I don’t see myself on stage with Jay-Z and I’m nailing every verse. Meanwhile, Eminem is in the crowd wondering why it’s me up there with Jay (he said I can call him that) and not him.

Seriously though, I do believe that there’s a time and a place for visualization.

But here’s the thing.

It can’t be all the time. What I mean is that we must get past the visualization phase and get to the do phase.

If we are always thinking about what we want to do/what we can do/what we dreamed we’d do. Well, we’ll never actually … do.

And therein lies the problem. My love affair with reading. It’s time I start working my way toward doing. Because yes, I love to read. In fact, I believe I could do it for it a living. I guess as long as the books I’m reading don’t suck.

Wait. That might be it. Non-sucky books don’t just happen. They require thousands of seat-in-the-chair hours. I’m quite certain that the authors of the books I consume, love to read. I bet they read quite a bit. But I’m sure that’s not all they did.

In order to become great writers, they had to actually spend time writing. I know this comes as no surprise. But how many of us have thought you know, I am not going to work out right now, but if I watch Creed 2 it will show me how I can become jacked like Michael B. Jordan.

Maybe it’s just me.

Well, let me just tell you,  I have watched Creed and Creed 2 multiple times and I am no closer to looking like Michael B Jordan than I was when I saw the movie for the first time. Crazy, I know right?

The amount of stuff there is out there to consume is absolutely ridiculous. I mean I could spend each day for the next year reading books, attending conferences, and viewing webinars in order to become a better writer.


A lot and often.

Ask for and receive feedback.

Listen to and internalize it.

And get better.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I must continue to read books, attend conferences, and view webinars in order to learn from others. But it’s time I start shifting the ratio more toward doing and less toward consuming.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and I’d love it even more if you could reassure me that I am not alone.

Oh, and one last thing.

Will I be checking Kindle Deals tomorrow morning while sipping on my first cup of coffee?

You’re darn right I will.