“Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach
I really like this quote. It reminds me that to grow we need to:
- Meet the right people, and
- Read the right books
Meet the right people
Meeting the right people is important because you will become more and more like the people around you. The people you meet will influent you, whether it is good or bad. That’s why it is important to carefully choose the people you meet, especially if they are to be your close friends.
Try to surround yourself with positive people. If you want to be a winner, then meet winners. If you want to be successful, then meet successful people. Whenever possible, try to find someone with higher capacity than you. Someone with more experience, more wisdom and more knowledge. These are the people from whom you can learn most. I am always excited whenever I meet someone I can learn from.
Interestingly, everybody has his or her own unique strengths, so chance is someone you meet will have higher capacity than you in certain fields. It means that you can learn from many, many people.
Read the right books
For me, it is the surprising part of the quote. I know reading books is important, but I never thought that it is that important. But after thinking about it for a while, I know that it’s absolutely true.
Reading books is important because in many ways it is the same as meeting people. When you meet someone, you will know and be influenced by her thoughts. In the same way, when you read a book you will know and be influenced by the author’s thoughts. It’s just as if you meet the author and she shares her wisdom and knowledge with you. A valuable experience, right?
What unique about books is you can easily absorb the thoughts of the best people in the world. It may not be easy to meet them personally, but through their books you can deeply know their thoughts. Through their books they speak hours and hours to you. Wow!
Realizing this, I now appreciate reading books even more than before. How else can I deeply know the thoughts of the best people in the world? How else can I learn from their experiences? Through books I can learn from people with much higher capacity than me. They have gone through years in their life to accumulate the wisdom they write in their books, and I can just directly absorb it! What a privilege.
Of course, it is important to read the right books. Just as meeting the right people is important, so is reading the right books. The thoughts in the books can deeply influence you, so you’d better pick only the best.