As you read this message, I trust and hope for you that you are just as passionate about your New Years Resolutions today as you were a few weeks ago when you wrote them!

Every day, I am hired by corporations to speak before their staff and help motivate, educate and transform them. Everyone in my audience says they want more out of life: more money, more opportunity, and are even willing to work hard to get it. But strangely, it seems that many of the people I meet were relieved to finish school, because they felt they would never have to read another book! The believed that learning stopped when school did… and sadly, their paycheque reflects it.

In fact, I was speaking in front of a sales group last week and asked them to consider “When was the last time you read a book on sales? Or customer service? Or positive attitude? Or time management?” Unfortunately for them, the question was a bit uncomfortable, because it had been far too long. It’s so easy to find people who want more out of life, and yet it is so hard to find people who are willing to learn; to buy a book on their career, attend a lecture or listen to positive educational CD’s while they drive.

The most successful people are life-long learners. One of my resolutions is to increase my reading. Beginning this year, my goal is to read (and study, and be transformed by) one book per week. (Bear in mind that I used to read only one business/self-improvement book a month). At the end of the year, I’ll have read an absorbed 52 business/self-improvement books. In ten years, I’ll have read over 500 books.

I subscribe to a business/motivational book club that delivers a book to my mailbox every month. This month, I was thrilled to receive a copy of Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin. I’ve been devouring this book, underlining multiple passages, making notes in the back cover, and quoting it to everyone who will listen. His basic premise is that incredibly successful people do not have God-given talent, are not “lucky”, and weren’t just given a lot of fortuitous breaks. They devoted three hours a day, every day for ten years, to master their craft. Only then did their magical “genius” become apparent.

Mark Twain laments “It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.” Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers, “Mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice.” There are no short-cuts to success, and there are really no accidents. Success is there for whomever is willing to pay the price. Whatever your calling, be it a social worker, computer scientist or paramedic, I challenge you to outlearn your competition. And in ten years, with hundreds of books and thousands of hours of learning under your belt, they will call you “lucky”.