The 8 words every kid staring down a plate of broccoli, dreads:

“Finish your dinner or no desert for you.”

It’s a solid lesson.

Sometimes you’ve got a knuckle down and just eat the green stuff, and even the mushrooms, if you want to get to the ice cream.

But despite what people say, I don’t think the ice cream tastes better for the effort.

I don’t think I ever appreciated the ice cream more for having to chow down my mum’s attempt at a square meal.

I certainly don’t agree with people who tell you nothing in life worth having comes easy:

A friend of mine was once given a house, I’m pretty sure that was worth having.

Also, a nice beer biz is easy to get.

And what about travel insurance? That came easy, I just filled in a form and paid for it, and it literally saved my life when I was last in Thailand…
So, nah, sorry peeps, not all awesome things are hard to come by.

But I do agree with eating your greens to get the nutrients, or else you’ll end up malnourished, riddled with avoidable diseases, and most likely unhappy or unstable if recent research on the gut biome is anything to go by.

There’s a reason it’s a called a gut feeling, right?

Anyhoo, this whole eating your veggies before getting your pudding is the reason I made a pact with myself that next year I will buy zero more books… until I finish the ones I’ve got outstanding.

Here’s what’s currently sitting unfinished on my desk:

  • Catch 22
  • Seth Godin’s This is Marketing
  • Carol Dweck’s Mindset
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America (spoiler alert: It was Timothy Leary)
  • The Courage to be Disliked
  • Tales from the customer service crypt
  • Chomsky’s – What kind of creatures are we?
  • And the third volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman – Dream Country.
  • Then there’s the kindle…

But like most human animals, I get a massive amount of pleasure from buying books, especially info heavy books that promise a desired outcome.

I make the emotional decision to buy a book based a dream of what the book will give me, without taking into consideration the time and energy I need to put into extract the good stuff from the books…
So they sit on my shelf, (or desk if they’re lucky), gathering dust.

While the next day there I am buying another book… and so it goes… and so it goes…
I’m trying to get straight to the ice cream, without eating my broccoli.

With the exception of the Steam sale if you’re a PC gamer, there’s no niche worse for this behaviour than the internet marketing niche.

Shiny object syndrome isn’t just limited to books, but eBooks, reports, courses, coaching, forums, widgets, plugins, apps, software – all these things that sound great until you have to knuckle down and actually read them, learn them, or use them.

Look at your hard drive.

Look at what you bought last year.

How much of it is giving you value today?

How much is unused, unread, unopened?

What were your goals for a certain course? Why specifically did you buy those books? Are they still relevant? Can you still extract the value from them today so you can eat your ice cream tomorrow?

If so, congrats, you’ve just saved a ton of future you’s cashola!

There’s one caveat to all of this for anyone who writes copy, or who wants to…
Buy and read fiction recklessly. If it sucks, buy more, keep switching books until a book engages you – then devour it.

Because fiction is 100% ice cream that nourishes you like broccoli, and it will directly influence your writing, and your ability to communicate, and even conjure ideas from thin air.

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