Right now, I'm reading The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden.
It's about how motivation doesn't come from slogans or fire-walking seminars or cool posters. Motivation, Haden says, actually comes from taking repeated action. It's the process that provides the vehicle to change, not passion.
There is no spark or special moment that leads to super stardom, he says. The path to achievement comes from the long journey.
In Haden's mind, it wasn't the famous, spine-tingling speech from Herb Brooks that created the Miracle on Ice. It was, instead, the months of work leading up to that night.
While it's not completely necessary to have that spark, the spark does matter. It can make a difference.
I've had many tennis students accomplish amazing things, and in every circumstance the accomplishment can be traced back to a single moment when everything changed.
Maybe it was a Herb Brooks-like speech or a tough loss or a big win or a new skill learned. Whatever it was, it proved to be life-altering.
And books can do the same thing.
My life has definitely changed after reading certain books. A book has been the spark for me on several occasions.
So, with respect to Mr. Haden, here's a list of books that have ignited me in a positive way. Maybe they can do the same for you.
The Spark List
1. The Talent Code. I've always believed greatness was accessible to all of us. Daniel Coyle put science behind it. There's no such thing as talent, and believing that can open up doors that may have been closed our whole lives.
2. The 4-Hour Workweek. It's been around a while, but it's still potent. I don't really do any of the tools and tactics contained in the book, but the philosophical message changed me forever. If you've never read it, drop everything and do it now. If you've read it before, it's worth another look.
3. Anything You Want. I believe we need to surround ourselves with powerfully positive ideas and goals every day, and anything written by Derek Sivers checks those boxes. This book thinks about business and life in totally unique ways. It's a course-changer.
4. Bringing Down the House. M.I.T poker players taking millions off Vegas casinos? How can our lives not get better reading about that? It's a tense, fun, and intriguing story. Plus, it's inspiring. Why not go for it? Why not go for it and use probabilities to give ourselves a real chance? This story is a stark example about how out-of-the-box thinking can make millions.
5. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This is the best book I've ever read--and it's not even close. But it's not for everyone (although I wish it were). It's several stories wrapped in one and stays in your head for years (or a lifetime). I've read it five times and I'm looking forward to a sixth. It's changed me and everyone I know who's read it. Maybe it can mean something to you, too.
My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.