The year was 2010 and I was reading my first book on sales.
Fresh out of high school I was starting my first job as a personal trainer at Bally Total Fitness. I was busy and didn’t have much time. The job was incredibly difficult for me. I’d never done sales before, and I was just starting to grow as a human being. The Sales Bible recommended that I read books such as Think And Grow Rich, The Strangest Secret and How To Win Friends And Influence People.
Since I didn’t have time to read these books, and because I now had a 15 minute commute to work, I bought all three on audiobook. I started with The Strangest Secret. Every day, Earl Nightingale’s baritone voice bellowed out wisdom as I drove to work. “We become what we think about,” he said over and over.
I didn’t know it at the time, but those three audiobooks would change my life forever. They inspired me to buy countless more audiobooks that I would listen to repeatedly over the next four years.
After working at Bally’s for a year, it was time to continue my formal education and attend a university. That meant long drives between my hometown of Portland and the University of Oregon in Eugene multiple times a year. I wasn’t thinking about it then, but I discovered later that every moment of our life is a precious gift, and to waste it sitting in a car for two hours is a shame.
Luckily, I was inspired to make good use of my time because I realized the incredible value of books. During these long drives, I would listen to messages that had the potential to change the way I think, act, and relate to the world around me.
By my sophomore year of college, all of this positive input was really starting to affect my output. I’d gone from a rebellious teen to a person whose positive attitude was starting to change the lives of some of my friends.
After listening to the book Think And Grow Rich a number of times, I got the idea to start a mastermind group. The premise of a mastermind is to combine the power of multiple minds in complete and totally harmony toward a common goal. I asked a few of my best friends if they wanted to start masterminding. They did. From that moment on we have met almost every week to discuss the principles of both personal and universal improvement. The point is, you never know where audiobooks might lead you.
“Have you read all these?” A friend asked, pointing to a large whiteboard with blue and black writing all over it.
“Yes, the ones on the left are all audiobooks, and the column on the right are book books.”
“Wow, that’s impressive,” he said.
We were looking at a whiteboard that represented the last year and a half of my life, at least as far as listening and reading were concerned. The column on the left was over five times as big as the one on the right. Perhaps that’s because listening is so much easier than reading. You can listen while you commute, clean or cycle. You ears can “read” while running, walking or driving. It is truly a revolutionary idea.
Some might disagree and say that e-books are the wave of the future. Of course, both audiobooks and e-books save trees, can be instantly delivered and provide you with a new way to consume content. Some critics think that audiobooks aren’t fully digested—that you only retain a portion of the content. And they’re right. Our minds forget a lot of what we learn. But the beauty in audiobooks is that we can listen over and over.
While I was writing this article a friend leaned over and asked what I was writing. I told her, and she responded with enthusiasm. She said that years ago she and her husband had taken a long road trip for their honeymoon. She told me that often after a long day of driving and reaching an amazing destination, they would turn off the engine and sit in the car in rapt attention, listening to find out what might happen to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
I believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future because they allow you to learn and increase your knowledge base without having to sit down and read a book. They let you learn while doing other things. And you never know, what you learn might just change your life forever.