The one thing all ambitious individuals need to know when it comes to creating success over a lifetime is that the commitment to lifelong learning cannot be bypassed.
After years of investing in myself, researching, and working with highly successful people who are earning a lot of money and making an impact on our world, I can boldly state that there is a singular habit we can all develop and practice on a consistent basis to help us reach the ranks of the top earners in the world.
That single habit is continuous, dedicated reading.
Yes, the simple act of daily focused reading will not only make you an expert in your field, it can also quantum leap your results financially.
Increasing the amount of time you put into reading is one of the most effective ways to expand personally and professionally. It is now becoming the prerequisite to being great at anything- whether you’re in the corporate world or deep in the entrepreneurial jungle.
But don’t take my word for it, here’s what one of the leading experts in personal success thinks about this very idea.
If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 3% of income earners in our society in less than 5 years. -Brian Tracy
1 in 4 adults haven’t read a book in the last year
I decided long ago that watching television was not a worthy investment for me. I had big dreams and goals that needed to be reached. Spending time watching other people live their lives was far from enticing for me.
As my life moved from success to success and I started hanging out with other big players, I soon realized that developing this habit of continued education played a major role in securing my success.
Which is why every time I start working with a client, there’s always an emphasis on developing the habit of daily consistent reading.
I quickly realized very few adults actively read.
In fact, research tells us that at the age of eight, the time that goes into reading anything new starts declining.
So half of the adult population is basically illiterate and according to data, 1 out of 4 adults haven’t read a book in the last year.
If we go back to the wisdom shared by Brian Tracy, it becomes easy to see why that same elite group of people enjoys approximately 96% of our global wealth.
It isn’t that the majority of the population are less fortunate, it’s that most people have a hard time disciplining their minds to develop good habits.
It is inexplicably easier to sit on a couch and get entertained by whatever drama the media world has cooked up on television. But how is that assisting you with tapping into the storehouse of potential power, intelligence, and wealth lying dormant in your mind?
How reading prepares you for the future
Aside from the fact that your brainpower, memory function, and mental sharpness will improve dramatically through this habit, think about the fact that our digital age has set into motion a way of life where things rapidly change.
Business systems, new laws, new discoveries, new opportunities are now taking less than a fraction of the time they used to take to come to fruition. That means that regardless of your expertise, whatever you learned when you first got your degree is probably going to become outdated if it hasn’t already.
Gone are the days when “getting a degree” or “finishing school” made you rich and cool.
The only way to be rich and cool in our modern society is to remain hungry and foolish as the wise Steve Jobs once said.
That means, carving out time each day to feed your brain and mind with some new food for your personal and professional growth.
Your ability to focus and sustain a high-performance level, especially if you’re a high-performer, will be enhanced through the developing of this single habit.
Now that we are in the era of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, being self-disciplined and maintaining high-performance levels becomes crucial.
As if that wasn’t enough of an incentive to get you to see just how valuable this habit is, let me share with you a few simple and highly effective ways of developing it.
After all, the number one obstacle many of us face today is execution and implementation of the things we are told are essential to our success.
The five-step process of developing the habit of reading
Step One: Cut down on the activities you’re doing on a daily basis that is not income producing activities.
It could be that usual chat you have for half an hour with a friend or neighbor that consists of nothing more than sophisticated nonsense, politics and how crazy the world is becoming.
Most importantly, cut down your social media, youtube watching, web browsing addiction. Yes, we live in a world where more time is spent in virtual reality than in the three-dimensional world.
Step Two: Begin to note down all the wonderful topics you enjoy reading or have always wanted to learn more about.
I suggest coming up with a list of two- four categories. The two main categories here must be
- Business/work/career related depending on your current position
- Personal development which is a very broad industry ranging from motivation to spiritual growth and everything in-between. Start where you feel most drawn and excited by.
Step Three: Create a calendar reminder on your smartphone for “daily reading”
Frankly, even 15 minutes in the morning and evening would be better than nothing. Block off that time specifically on a daily consistent basis so that you can recondition your mind through repetition into this habit.
Step Four: Stick to it!
Take it a day at a time and stick to the process.
Step Five: Apply the Learn – Do formula
I am ever encouraging my students and fellow coaches to do this each time they sit to learn.
The best way to ensure your mind remains engaged and actually grasps what you need is to get into the reading mode with the intention of understanding the topic to the point where you can do it and even teach it with simplicity to another human being.
This is best accomplished through the process of note taking. Whether it’s jotting down little side notes within the book or in your journal, be sure to take as many notes as possible during that study time.
Hundreds of ideas might come to you as they often do when we read high-value books. Whether it’s in the form of questions, ideas to implement, teaching frameworks to adapt or anything else. Each time you get into the reading mode, you will be giving yourself the chance to not only learn something new but as well to open up new mental channels for solutions, business ideas, and creative projects to come through you.