Last summer, I read the Thrawn Trilogy and the series quickly became one of my favorites. I was captivated from the first chapter of Heir to the Empire and breezed through it in about two weeks, faster than I normally read novels. One of the reasons it took me two weeks to get through the book and not one week was because I couldn’t read it. It’s not that I didn’t have the time or that I wasn’t allowed or that I lost the book, rather, it’s because I had not yet figured out how to read while sleeping. (I still haven’t figured it out.)
I would sit down on the couch to read, ready to immerse myself in the story. My attention would be completely captivated for a solid 10-15 minutes (sometimes even as long as 30!) before I would slowly lose consciousness. I would be asleep for anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour, waking up to find my Kindle between the couch cushions.
As you can imagine, this greatly stymied by reading progress. I tried eating while I read, drinking water, sitting up, you name it—nothing helped. Frustrated and not knowing what else to do, I continued on my path of sporadic sleeping and reading. I eventually finished the trilogy, though it took much longer than I would have liked.
Today, I read So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. For the first hour, I struggled to stay awake, but never fell completely asleep. After taking a break to exercise, I came back to the book and sat down to read. It took less than five minutes for me to start to nod off about every fifth word.
I was done. I couldn’t go on like this—reading was too important and I had to find a way to stay awake.
So, I stood up. I read half of the book while on my feet and didn’t fall asleep once. Not only that, I also read faster and was more focused and engaged.
I had other tasks to do, otherwise, I would have finished reading the whole book, but I’m well on my way.
Learning that standing up while reading allows me to stay awake has been one of the best things I’ve learned all semester.
A once in a lifetime opportunity.
Usually, those words are used to describe events such as landing an angel investor, getting on the ground floor of a startup, climbing Mount Everest, or getting front row tickets to game seven of the NBA finals. These things are so remarkable that it can be assumed that you will only have one chance while you’re on Earth.
There are 365 days in a year. With an average life expectancy of about 80 years, you will live for 29,200 days. Each day only comes once—there are no redos, restarts, or re-lives. Each day of your life is a once in a lifetime opportunity, even if nothing blatantly significant happens. Live your life with purpose and make the most of each day.