If you want to be the best you have to train with the best. In The Fighter’s Mind, we learn that one of the key determinants of success is the quality of your training partners.
Of course, in fighting and combat sports, in any discipline really, there’s only a few people who sit atop the summit. They only have twenty four hours, and for their own development, they surround themselves with the best. Your access to them is limited.
That’s why, when you reach the pinnacle, you see how small the world is. The best know the best. They associate. They compete. They spur each other on.
Books are sparring partners for the mind. And because the best books can be reproduced and distributed infinitely, we can all spend some time with them. We can all train with black belts and world champions. We can all spar with the greatest.
Think of it like this. If you don’t do any exercise and your breakfast, lunch and dinner is McDonalds, you’re going to be fat and lazy. The same applies to the mind. If your intellectual diet is biographies of the Geordie Shore cast, if you don’t know how to be a demanding reader, and if you don’t seek out challenge and improvement, then chances are, your mind isn’t going to win any awards.
Reading is one of the most transformative habits you’ll ever develop. It changes the course of your life. So start thinking of books as sparring partners. Read the best and the brightest. Fight them, challenge them, learn from them. In the process, expect to get beaten, to feel pain, to walk away with a bruised ego.
But at the end of the day, after years of brutal rounds, you walk away tougher. Stronger. More composed under pressure. Better.