Do you know that today is “Read In The Bathtub Day?”
Who ever would have thought that there was a day dedicated to that because, until recently, we certainly didn’t know about it at all.
There’s nothing better than a good book to take you off into a whole other world and they (books) have a wonderful way of taking us on a journey into the minds of those who have written them.
When reading a great fictional book, for just a moment, you can forget about everything and experience something totally different. You enter a whole new world where anything (and everything) happens.
Pick up a Self Help Book and, when we allow them to, they expand our minds and broaden our horizons. They share tips and tools with us that can revive our way of thinking and, quite simply, reboot our lives.
Up at the Retreat, we have a small library – some shelves are filled with self help and personal development books and the others are filled with fictional tales to give your mind a break.
Many years ago, when I (Gareth) was in rehab for the 4thtime (yes, I know, it did take me a few attempts to realize things really had to change) a friend gave me a book. Back then, I was living in Zimbabwe and book shops were not that well stocked so receiving a book from someone who had travelled outside the country was a real treat.
However, at that moment when it was given to me, I wasn’t very well and I didn’t even have the energy to sit up in bed and read. But nonetheless, the book was gratefully received.
A few weeks later when I was back home again, I was having a really terrible night – and if you’ve been through rehab, you will relate to what I am talking about. I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing and all I wanted to do was get away from everything for a while but I knew, thanks to my visits to “that place,” that using drugs and alcohol wasn’t an option.
In that very moment, I remembered the book that I had been given and decided to give it a go. It was in my bedside cabinet so I switched on my reading lamp and opened up the book.
The writing was pretty small and it was quite a heavy booked but I said to myself “if this is the last book I read, then I am going to read it like it matters.”
And so I began a journey that would, as cliché as it sounds, simply change my life.
Looking back, I guess it is so true when they say that the right thing comes along at the right time just when you are ready (and willing) to hear it and boy was that true.
The book challenged me.
The book made me cry at times.
The book made me think about things in a way that I had never thought about before.
But most of all, I believe, that book helped me to save my own life.
It woke up a fighter deep inside of me that I didn’t know was there and that’s pretty apt considering the title of the book – Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins.
The book really did help me change my life and lying there in my bed, way back in April 2003, I began daydreaming about one day having a place that could help people feel better about themselves.
That would give people the space (and time) to focus on themselves for once rather than allowing everything else around them take away their focus.
It was just one of those crazy ideas you have that make you excited and I never really spoke about it much to anyone because, if the truth be told, I didn’t believe that “someone like me” would ever be able to do something like that but deep down, I found a way to do my best to believe the things that were written in that book.
It took me a long time to find that self belief, and yes, today, I still doubt it, but sitting here typing this for you to be shared on the blog for that “crazy little dream” that is now a reality – well, that’s something that makes me emotional BUT in a good way.
And if I look back, and ask myself “what was it that changed things?” I guess you could say that it was reading that book over and over (and over and over) again.
And that’s the true power of a book.
Whether it is a self help book or a fictional tale, they do magic in your mind.
These are the TOP 5 things I learned from that book all those years ago and the ones I still apply in my life today.
1) You are in charge of your life, nobody else. You’re the driver and you decide the direction that you go in. If you don’t like the direction you are going in, then change it !
2) Make up your own rules and be bold enough to live by them every single day. Also, be bold enough to change them when you need to because we are changing all the time.
3) Surround yourself with people who share the same dreams and desires for life – this is a biggie for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without a friend who is committed to the same journey. Jeroen may be my business partner, but he is my best friend, brother from another mother and general all round partner in crime with what we do. His family (his wife and children) are my family and my family (my sister and children and grandson) are his family and this is probably the best gift in all of this.
4) The quality of your life is defined by the quality of the questions that you ask yourself every day. Your brain will always answer the questions you ask it and often, we don’t even realise the questions that we are asking ourselves.
5) It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. Sometimes, we need to do things over and over again to get results but we get so impatient we only try to do them once and decide that they don’t work for us.