So historically, I used to be very sceptical about paying for training and events, partly because I felt I’d had enough ‘free’ education at school, college and university; I had a degree what else could I possibly learn? And partly because I also thought that the majority of these courses were just a rehash of old materials with just a shiny new gimmick or flashy presenter. Fast forward to now and my mind set on this matter has completely shifted. I’m now what you might describe as a ‘knowledge junky’; reading loads of books and going on as many courses and conferences as possible. So what changed? Well it all began about 3 years ago; I met a guy called Chris at a forum at work who ended up becoming a good friend/ business partner and collaborator. He lent me a book called ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant’, I loved it and because the concepts were so new and exciting (despite being an old edition of the book) I was hooked. It was also at a point in my life where my little boy had moved 200 miles away so in order to get him, involved a considerable journey in the car. Luckily, Chris (the font of all knowledge) also told me about the Audible App so for £7.99 a month, I had a new book to listen to every journey to go and get him rather than listening to Maximo Park on Spotify on repeat or worse listening to my own dark thoughts in silence. These audio books were so interesting, that it got to the point where I’d turn down offers of company for the drive by my wife Claire as I was desperate for my next fix of the latest development book I’d used my Amazon credit on. She wasn’t happy! J

I burnt through loads of books; sometimes listening on 1.5 or 2 times the speed to get even more knowledge from the journey. I was like Neo from the Matrix learning kung-fu lol. I learnt how to manage my money from Rob Moore and Robert Kyosaki books, I learnt how to invest in property thanks to Rob Dix, I learnt how to ‘crush it’ thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, not to give a f*ck thanks to Mark Manson and get ‘effortless success’ from Michael Neill and realise the location of my problems (spoiler alert) was within me and yours (surprise surprise) are within you. I was so inspired by these books, I wrote one myself and self-published it on Amazon achieving #21 in the Amazon Business Book charts. Funny thing was, I’d found out how to create and launch my book from an online course and an audible book on the topic. Life imitating art ay?

This post is really a reminder, that in your hand, whatever you’re reading this on, unless you’ve printed it off which is weird, you have access to so many resources, you have a library at the tip of your fingers, why not expand your brain and learn a new topic, language or skill? Off on a jog or a drive, get a podcast or an audio book, got some time on a train or plane read a kindle book or blog post, or watch a Ted Talk. I urge you to do it rather than (just) playing Candy Crush on the toilet. My generation had an excuse to only play snakes because that’s all we had on our phones; yours has that much more to offer.

Anyway, the books that I read during this personal ‘reading renaissance’ gave me such an insight, to self-development that they reignited my love of physical learning as well, and so at the grand old age of 36 I started investing (paying money for) courses both online and in person which I’ve been doing ever since, and I bloody love it! I’ve just signed up for the two day National Achievers Congress 2019 that seems to be tailor made for me as it not only has Gary Vaynerchuk and Paul O’Mahony (two influencers I’ve read and enjoyed) but also the added bonus of my comedy hero; Russell Brand being there too. All for the bargain introductory price of £39 (I have no affiliation with this event by the way). The way I think about it is what would £40 buy me on a night out in Birmingham or wherever? A few drinks, kebab, Uber home and a steaming hangover. This event has got to be better than that, without the feeling of a buzzsaw going through my head and flamethrower out my ass the next morning thanks to my elephant leg in a pitta bread!

Don’t get me wrong I have been on events that haven’t been that good in the past however, what I’ve found is that there’s always something to take away from an event even if it’s not totally new knowledge. It may be a free pen or usb drive from a stall there, it may be an idea on what not to do or how to do something better, there might be a nice buffet or maybe like me, you might meet a new contact that gives you a nugget of new knowledge or becomes your next business partner. A colleague at work once said to me you never regret going to the gym, well although I probably really need to go the gym; I’ll say I never regret going to a learning event! Don’t be like me for the 14 years after graduation, sitting in the dark relying on past schooling as your knowledge base. Read loads, learn loads, share loads and this can only help your success in whatever you want to achieve. I teach my eldest son; knowledge is power, how powerful are you?  Thanks for reading. Lots of love AJ1.