The Secret to Getting Ahead

kid reading

My middle son Sammy (9) loves life. He embraces new challenges like it’s his mission. Everything he does, he does it with gusto.

You know what he can’t stand?


That’s right – reading. If you ask him to do anything else, cleaning, cooking, math, dental work – he’s game. But if you ask him to read something more than comic books, he’s done.

We have a simple rule in the Kim household. We call it the 30 minute rule.

If you want to play the Wii U, you have to read first. 30 minutes of reading = 30 minutes of gaming.

This might be a good model for anybody who is struggling with getting stuff done. 30 minutes of productive work = 30 minutes of mindless social media. Sound unreasonable? Think about how much productivity you’ve already lost on mindless drivel.

I know I’m guilty of the colossal time suck that is FacebookTwitterGoogleYoutube. It’s almost like they never want you to leave. #AmIright?

Last night Sammy begs for an exception from the 30 minute rule, but to no avail. Finally, he relents to reading his assignment from school. After he’s done reading – he reveals he’s found a secret. I notice a zip in his step.

He says, “when you look at the whole page and all those little letters, it feels impossible to read. But then when you look closer, you can see short paragraphs. That’s a lot easier to read. So all I did was read the paragraphs and I was done. It’s sort of like a shortcut. Anyone can do that.”

I congratulated him on finishing his reading. I told him this secret reading trick is a highly confidential practice that only a select few ever find out.

He looked at me skeptically. Then ran down the steps to play the Wii.

I was reminded of how often we can forget this important life lesson.

Don’t try to do too much at one time.

Don’t read the entire page. Read the individual sentences and paragraphs.

If you're stuck on something - don't try to finish everything all at once. Start with one task first. Click To Tweet

It’s like trying to read the entire bible in one setting. You can’t. Start with one thing. Then move on to the next. You’ll feel the energy and momentum building. You may just break through to newer and higher levels.

Before you know it, you’ll be done and think – that wasn’t all that bad. I just had to read one paragraph at a time. It’s sort of like a shortcut. And anyone can do that.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain

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