PurposePursuit

Still on This Matter!

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My Faculty has a new Dean. His discomfort with the usual style of things evidently shows the fact that he’s not from around here at all. Part of what He is clearly not happy about is the kind of books we read for our courses. In one of our classes, he lamented bitterly about the inadequacy of the books we read particularly considering the calibre of people who have authored these books. He concluded by saying the faculty would release a list of recommended texts for students beginning from the next session. [I’ll be out of here then!]

Mark Twain once observed: “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” It is the reality of this truth that we talked about last week.

This week I want to attempt to provide an answer to the question of what you should read. I would not be providing a list of recommended texts. I will only provide a guide as to the kind of books you should read especially with regards to your pursuit of purpose.  I’ll share with you my own best reads. Perhaps, you’ll be willing to start from there.

Generally, you should read anything that is readable. First, because there is no irrelevant knowledge. Knowledge is not only to be used as part of your lifestyle, it can be stored for days of need. You never can tell when you’ll need the knowledge of a subject. If you have the opportunity to read about that subject now, please do. Second, you must learn to read wide. That way, you are fit to make meaningful contributions to discussions on any platform anywhere as you preach your life’s message.

However, I have come to agree that there are quite a lot of junks out there packaged in prints and on the social media. You have to learn to distinguish such materials so that you don’t spend too much time on them. But then, read anything, no matter how junky they are- at least to be able to objectively call them “junks.”

There are three categories of books (or materials) I want to suggest you read for the edification of your mind in the pursuit of your God-intended Purpose.

Because God-discovery is the primary key to Purpose discovery and a fulfilling pursuit, the Bible (most importantly) and other books on spirituality are the first category of books I think you should read. The Word of God is the key to the fulfilment of your destiny. There is something written concerning you in the Scriptures, you have to read to find it.
Books written to address matters relevant to the Christian living, spirituality and written solely on the authority of the Scriptures are above necessary for you to feed on. I have personally found books like Jack Taylor’s Life’s Limitless Reach (on the subject of Prayer); Joyce Meyer’s Change Your Words, Change Your Life (on the impact of words), Myles Munroe’s God’s Big Idea (On God’s master plan for the universe) among several others very impactful.

In the second category are books relevant to the specific matter of your vision and life assignment.  These are books that expand your understanding of the problem you believe you have been called to solve as well as educate you on what people have done in that area prior to your arrival. They may be books written in your career or profession or books written by your mentor or discipler. As much you should read wide, I believe you should read deep too. Like they say, you should know something about everything and everything about something. Rick Warren’s bestselling Purpose Driven Life is my best read in this regard. Eric Rees’ S.H.A.P.E, Myles Munroe’s In Charge, Mike Murdock’s The Assignment and Cindy Jacobs’ Reformation Manifesto are others that have equipped me for what I do.

The third category of books I recommend you read are every other books your hand finds to read. For me, novels (Fiction and Non-fiction), Biographies and Autobiographies, Magazines and publications from other fields belong to this category. Some of my best reads here include, Nancy Rue’s Tristan Gap, Eric Wilson’s The Best of Evil and Ellie Kay’s Living Rich for Less.

On the whole, your dedication to growth is a discipline. Reading is a reflection of this dedication. Thus, as the old Irish proverb says, “You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather is!” I want to challenge you to be committed to building your own personal library, as well as buy, read and give out a book every month or as regular as you may decide!

What kind of books do you read? What guides your choice? Share your thoughts with me. Just drop a comment!

©2014, Alabi AimPurpose IfeOluwa
All rights reserved.

PurposePursuit

ON READING AND YOUR PURSUIT

Last week, we talked about three key skills for the delivery of purpose. My good friend and co-worker, Adetola Oyegbile raised the issue of reading in his comment on that post and I think it is necessary to actually talk about it this week.

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Photo by Moyan Brenn via flickr

It has been said that if you want to hide anything from a black man, put it in a book. I am uncertain of the source of that quote but I am certain that the apathy for books is no longer a matter of the black (or any) race.

The decline in the popularity of reading as a discipline is not only universal, it appears to be peculiar to this generation. Mitchell Stephens writing for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, declared that ironically but not coincidentally, reading has begun to fade from our culture at the very moment that its importance to that culture is finally being established. He compares this decline to the fall of communism and states that there is the prophecy that the downturn in reading could result in the modern world’s cultural and political decline. Neil Postman laments in his book, “Amusing ourselves to Death”, that “a mode of thinking is being lost!”

Some people especially “those whose livelihood depends on our reading” have argued that the lamentations about the decline in the reading culture is largely exaggerated. Publishers continue to churn out more and more of books but the question still remains whether or not these books are being read. My concern in this piece is not with whether or not there is a decline in reading among people. I want to share with you three reasons why I believe reading is of great importance to your pursuit of purpose. I hope you’ll be spurred to make reading, maybe not a hobby, but a habit. Ray Bradbury once remarked that you don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. You only have to get people to stop reading them. I believe if I can get you to read more, you can be more empowered to deliver to your generation the limitless potentials buried inside you!

1. Knowledge is critical to your pursuit.

Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. Prov. 24:3-4 TLB

Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble.  Prov 19:2 TEV

The profitability of your pursuit of purpose has a lot to do with your keeping abreast of facts and information. Passion and enthusiasm are good stuffs, but you are empty without knowledge. Reading offers you this priceless but valuable access to knowledge. David Bailey says the best advice he got was “that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” There are few things the Scriptures ask us to store. Knowledge is one of such. We are even to buy the truth and sell it not!

2. You have the responsibility to renew your mind.

Your mind is very important for the pursuit of your purpose. But it does not feed itself. You have the responsibility to guard your mind from garbage.

“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” Prov. 15:4

The quality of your mind is dependent on what you feed on. This in turn affects the quality of what you deliver to your generation. You have to learn to intentionally read in order to feed your mind with things that are not junks. Zig Ziglar writes: “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”- Joseph Addison.

3. You don’t know it all.

Former American basketball coach John Wooden once said that the greatest obstacle to growth is not ignorance but knowledge. Doing purpose effectively requires you to be a continual learner. You’ll never get to the point you don’t need to learn from others. Reading offers you access to the wealth of knowledge of other people within and beyond your field of interest. Through the habit of reading, you not only acquire knowledge to replace what you may have forgotten or what’s out of date, you also get to build on what you learnt yesterday.

Understanding the importance of knowledge, the necessity to renew my mind and my duty to never let up on knowledge are three things that have helped me build a habit of reading. While not all of us would boast of reading as a hobby, we can all get to make it a habit, if not for anything, for the impact we long to make.

I want to hear from you. Do you agree that that despite its necessity, the habit of reading is on the decline in our time? Why do you read? What obstacles have kept you from reading? Just drop a comment!

©2014, Alabi AimPurpose IfeOluwa
All rights reserved.