I hated reading as a kid. I honestly didn’t I read a complete novel until I was an adult. I actually spent my time and effort trying to navigate assignments through a variety of methods. Skimming, Cliff’s Notes (remember those), asking friends what the book was about, or just guessing on answers to questions.
I got by better than you would expect for never completing my assigned reading! I chalk that up to a high level of intuition and being extremely perceptive while others talked about the books in class.
When all the pressure of reading was lifted and I was out of school I remember the first book I really took to as a young adult. It was Stephen King’s Fire Starter. I don’t know what drew me to that book, other than my love for Maine and the fact that the novel is set in Maine and the author lives there too. I just picked it up at a bookstore and decided to read it.
After that everything changed. I became obsessed with books. I read frequently and discovered that I was actually a good reader and a fast reader. I also discovered the benefits reading had on my career and my own personal growth. I was hooked.
Does it even matter? Yes it does.
Why Reading is Important to Your Success.
Want to know one habit that ultra successful people have in common? They read. A lot!
Successful people like, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban all have been know to attribute reading as a key factor to their success. These wildly successful people, and many others, spend hours reading each week or even each day because they realize how valuable reading is.
Reading gives you knowledge of other people’s successes and failures. It’s amazing to think about the access you have to some of the most influential leaders in the world simply by reading the words that they have written. This allows you to have instant access to experiences you may otherwise never get a chance to know about.
Another key point to consider is that regular reading builds your writing and speaking skills. The more your brain practices reading the more diverse of a vocabulary it can use when you are communicating. This is a huge factor for your career success. Knowing how to effectively communicate and articulate your thoughts in a thoughtful way is sure to give anyone a leg up in the workplace.
Reading is also an incredible way to sustain your brain health. Memory, analytical thinking and concentration skills all can be improved through regular reading. Studies have shown that the mental workout of reading can slow down Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
So What Should You Read?
According to Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, people with an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million-plus, read for self-improvement, education, and success. Whereas people with an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less read primarily to be entertained.
Don’t let that scare you into thinking you need to leave your Stephen King novels on the shelf for good!
Both reading fiction and nonfiction have benefits for your personal growth and development, as well as your career success.
There is evidence to suggest that reading fiction books boosts your emotional intelligence, which helps you effectively manage complex situations with your co-workers. Fiction readers can put themselves into the shoes of the characters that they’ve read about and then carry those memories with them through life. This allows them to see things through different perspectives and make better overall decisions.
How to Read More.
The single worst thing to do if you want to incorporate more reading in your life is to make it forced or to read things you don’t want to read - remember my outright refusal to read all the “assigned” books throughout my schooling!
Start with things you have a general interested in. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction doesn't really matter. Just find something that sparks your interest and go there first.
You could also start with something small. Reading doesn’t always have to be 300 page books. In fact, if you’re struggling to fit more reading into your life then I would recommend starting with something manageable and bite sized.
This blog post is a great example, it should only take a few minutes to read and should (hopefully) open your mind to a new way of thinking, educate or entertain in some way.
Whatever you choose to start with be sure to do the reading, don’t skim and look for highlights, actually read and enjoy those few minutes of time to stretch your brain capacity and learn.
As you get interested in different topics I would challenge you to read about them. If you’re facing a obstacle at work, read about about the subject and see if you can use that info to help you push through.
As you grow more and more fluent with your reading why not set some goals for yourself and see if you can work even more reading into your daily life. There are people out there that are striving to read 100 books a year. That’s about 2 books per week! I can't imagine reading that much at this time in my life, but maybe you can...oh the things you would learn!
Let me know how it goes! I’m curious to hear how many books you’re reading these days and what some of your favorites have been! Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!