This is the first time I’ve publically told this story. It is extremely personal to me and sharing these experiences will expose a lot of what is underneath my surface that most people have not seen in person or on the Internet.
I’ve always been extremely self-motivated and goal oriented, and I’ve never doubted that I was on a path to great success in life, but something happened about four years ago that sent me on an amazing journey of personal growth and development. After a horrible low time in my life I was introduced to two books that changed me forever and helped play a huge part in shaping me into the man I am today.
So what are the two books? Well, I’m going to get to that, but I can’t tell you until you hear the whole back-story. Without that important information you may be tempted to judge me as many of my peers have done when they heard only a small part of the story.
I’ll begin towards the end of my college years in Louisiana where I was dating a girl who was a few years younger than me. For the skate of this story I’ll call Kim. Kim and I dated for a few years and everything was amazing. Eventually I landed my dream job with Ride BMX Magazine, which meant I had to move across the country to Southern California. For the next eight months, with Kim still in Louisiana and me on the West Coast, we attempted to keep a long distance relationship going. Kim and I endured a few rough patches as the distance proved to be difficult at times, but I thought everything would be fixed soon. Kim had plans to move to California and I couldn’t have been happier. For me, life was about to be complete. I had my dream job, I lived in paradise, and I was about to be reunited with my wonderful dog and the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. After that the only thing I needed to complete my storybook life was the white picket fence.
Around this time two of my friends told me about a New York Times Bestseller they read called The Game, by Neil Strauss. They told me the book was about a group of guys who called themselves pickup artists that were really good at meeting women. They went on to tell me the book explained that other guys could learn to meet women, too. Their stories sounded interesting, but I had no desire to read the book for myself. For one, I had only read a handful of books in my life as reading just wasn’t really my thing, and two, I didn’t need to know anything about picking up women, I was already dating someone who I was committed to.
Then one night, with the one-way plane ticket already purchased and all arrangements in place, just one month before Kim was scheduled to move to California she called me out of the blue and ended the relationship. And just like that, it was over. I was devastated.
When Kim broke up with me I was a complete wreck. I was 3,000 miles away from all of my close friends and family and I felt utterly helpless. One of the things I did that night to help cope with my situation was place an order for The Game on Amazon. I know it may seem as if I was “moving on” a bit fast by thinking about trying to meet other women just hours after I lost the love of my life, but by no means was I moving on. I was simply acting on impulse to help deal with a difficult situation. Based on the circumstances I knew it was over for good and I’d eventually have to meet other women anyway. And even though it may not be the healthiest way to deal with things, I knew that fulfilling the void that Kim left as soon as possible would help me keep my mind off the things that were hurting me. I figured reading that book would not only give me something to help pass the time, but it may also actually help me when I needed it the most and in a place where it was difficult to meet new people. How many women did I really come in contact with anyway? I worked in a small office and hung out at BMX events… Since I don’t drink I was never one for the bar scene, and if I did manage to make my way into a party I was always an awkward wallflower. I felt like if I was ever going to have a normal life and learn to have other relationships I was going to need help, and at that point I was willing to do whatever it would take.
A week or so later, still in a completely unstable mental state, the book showed up in my mailbox and I started reading it. By page 88 I was hooked and knew that my life would never be the same.
The First Book
Now here’s where you may begin to get the wrong idea about this situation… Phrases like “pickup artist” and “learning how to meet women” often give people the impression that I was trying to learn how to manipulate and hook up with a bunch of girls, which was never the case. While reading The Game I was simply learning what was possible. The Game is not an instructional book by any means. It does not tell you “how to pick up women.” It is a novel. And in the story told throughout the book there are ideas and concepts you can pick up on that you can choose to learn more about and apply into your life as you see fitting. There are no doubt guys that have read The Game and similar books with the sole intent of learning how to increase the number of notches in their belt. On the flip side, there are other guys that have read the same material with the intent to learn how to have a healthy long-term relationship and find their soul mate. My personal intentions were to get my mind off of Kim while learning how relationships work from a psychological standpoint and how to meet and attract more women so that some day I would have a better chance of finding the next girl of my dreams. To me it was obvious that if I knew how to meet more women, then statistically I would have better odds of meeting someone special that I could truly connect with. Now, of course I was not looking for a girlfriend at the time or trying to jump into another committed relationship. I knew that would not be healthy, and I knew I had some learning and growing to do before I would be ready for that. But I was also not looking to have one-night stands with every girl I said hello to.
Over the next year or so I researched and read about social dynamics and the psychology behind relationships. I read several books, listened to a lot of podcasts, and watched a handful of documentaries on these subjects. And I learned a ton. What I started to notice in myself was all of a sudden when I went out I wasn’t the awkward guy at the bar, and I wasn’t the guy nervously standing at the edge of the dance floor at the party. Instead I was having a great time wherever I went, I was always the first one to start dancing, and I wasn’t shying away from beautiful women either. I had learned how to have fun in social settings and how approach and talk to women. And I had a newfound confidence that made me feel great about myself and who I was. It was absolutely fascinating to me that the things I read about in books was actually helping my social life and allowing me to enjoy myself more. Of course, as with any journey, I had my ups and downs during the process, but I’ll spare those details and stick to the point I’m trying to make here.
While learning about social dynamics my eyes had been opened to something that should have been clear all along. Sure, I had met a handful of great girls and enjoyed my time with them, and yes, I now had a new outlook out a lot of things in my social life, but there was more to it than that. There was a bigger picture. This is the part where I get to tell you exactly how this first book, The Game, changed me forever…
From reading The Game I realized one of the most important lessons of my adult life, and that is this:
If there is something you need help with or don’t know how to do, you can learn it.
I know The Game isn’t a book that everyone needs to read in order to have this kind of epiphany, but that just so happened to be the way things panned out for me. Another great result of reading The Game is that this valuable life lesson allowed me to get into the right state of mind to read the second book that changed me and began another journey of self-exploration and personal growth. This time my journey didn’t involve any of the emotion or relationship stuff that the last one did. This time my journey was about something almost everyone can use help with and wants more of. This time the subject was money.
The Second Book
As soon as I was hit with the ton of bricks that showed me I could learn anything I wanted just by reading a few books and doing some research a few other friends told me about another New York Times Bestseller they had read called Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker. After hearing them ramble off a few quotes from the book like, “Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.”, I ordered that one, too.
For me, Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind doesn’t have a long, drawn out back-story and its effects on me are much more up front. You see, at some point throughout my life I realized that I had a strong desire to have a lot of nice things and to travel the world. And to put it bluntly, I realized I had the desire to become extremely rich. However, I was raised in a pretty conservative middle class family and was never around a higher class of people or anyone who was truly wealthy. I kind of always figured I’d stay middle class my entire life. However, with the lesson I learned from The Game I eventually understood I could apply the same principles to money, finance, and wealth to learn to become rich.
You may remember that I previously wrote a blog post with a synopsis of Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind, but I’ll give you a quick refresher. The book is split into two parts. The first part helps you break down how and why you think the way you do about money, which is crucial to allow yourself to change the way you currently think so you can begin to think like a rich person. The second part of the book describes in detail 17 different ways “rich” people think differently from “poor” people so you can begin to learn to think like a rich person. I put those terms in quotes because they are extremely broad and used to make a point, both here and in the book. Basically, if you train your mind to think like a rich person, and you take the same kinds of actions a rich person takes, you will naturally become rich. That concept is much easier said than done, but Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind helps make it possible.
After the first time I read Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind I had a completely different outlook on money that I knew would allow me to attain more wealth throughout my life. Then after the second time I read the book I gained an even better understanding of why I previously had certain thoughts and beliefs about money and I was able to further ingrain the principles of the book within myself.
After the book radically changed my mind, it also radically changed my income and net worth. And both are continuously growing. Now I am well on my way to becoming wealthy and financially free.
Wrapping It Up
The Game is a very interesting story even if you don’t try to learn anything from it, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for everyone to read it. It doesn’t have the capability to help everyone the way it helped me during that difficult time in my life simply because that’s not what it was written for. However, I would highly encourage everyone to read Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind as it absolutely has the power to help every person that reads it. If you put the right amount of work and energy into yourself while reading the book, I truly believe it can change your life for the better and help you increase your ability to attain and keep more money.
Nowadays I don’t actively study or research social dynamics, but like everything in life I still feel like this part of me is a work in progress. I do, however, continue to actively pursue knowledge of personal finance, real estate, and investing, and I know I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. The money game is a never-ending one, and it’s a really fun one, too.
Feel free to leave your thoughts or ask questions in the comments. If you have any personal stories of how a book changed your life I’d love to hear them.