If you want to get smarter, you have to read books. This has been a fact of life since the very first words were written thousands of years ago.
I’ve never been much of a big reader myself though. Despite being quite an accomplished reader from a young age, it was never really something that turned into a passion of mine. I would look around and see my siblings and school friends carrying their books around and reading simply for the joy of it. This just isn’t something that ever became a hobby of mine growing up.
The biggest reason for this, I think, is my complete lack of ability to sit still. I love being on the go and, for whatever reason, can’t stand the feeling of being ‘static’. Patience is not something I am blessed with.
The trouble with reading books I find, is the inability to read them on the go. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good story and when hooked by a book it will travel with me everywhere I go. However, there are so many situations we find ourselves in during day to day life, where reading a book simply isn’t practical; in the car, on the walk to the train station, in the gym, out on a run or cycle, walking around the shops, cleaning the apartment, washing the dishes. This list is endless and there are a hundred things I’ve left out here – but you get the point.
This is where the wonder of audio has transformed my life. Whether it be audio books or podcasts, I am forever learning on the go. There is so much I have listened to about philosophy, life skills, ideas from the world’s best thinkers and incredible stories both fact and fiction. An incredible amount of content streamed directly into my subconscious – content I would have otherwise missed, had I been faced with the inertia of reading a physical book, meticulously making notes and re-reading entire segments until satisfied that I have a full understanding of the writer’s sentiment.
Audio content has also opened a door to otherwise undiscovered insights. A prime example here is Yahoo! Finance’s broadcast of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder’s Meeting. Let’s face it, I’d never get near the door to this event and the wisdom within under real-world circumstances, but due to the power of audio and my interest and enthusiasm for it, I may as well be sitting in the audience!
Additionally, it’s had an unrivalled impact on my professional life. Forget your standard industry exam textbooks, for these are just the tip of the iceberg. I would say most of what I’ve learnt and apply to my role as an Independent Financial Adviser, comes from the myriad of podcasts and audio books I’ve listened to aimed at personal finance, financial planning and investment management. These have had a huge impact on my motivation to deliver the right kind of service for my clients, as well as immersing myself in various industry related projects outside of the day job. Most important of all, however, is the difference it has made to my outlook on life and relationships with other people.
Nothing has had more of an impact on my own personal development than audio learning. What’s even more exciting is the more I listen, the more I want to learn and explore different topics and ideas. Just imagine, a lifetime of learning squeezed into a library the size of your mobile phone. The amazing thing is, we’re only at the start of the audio curve.