Reading is one of the both most underestimated and overestimated habits that people love to talk about when it comes to achieving success in life.
So does reading helps us to be more successful in life?
You will discover it in this article. First, I admit that I love to read, and I read almost every single day. I spend about 30 minutes each day to read personal development books and business books.
I love to read; it is one of my hobbies, and I truly believe that reading is going to a GREAT help in getting us to produce an outstanding result in life.
The problem with reading is that some people overestimated its importance and made it the main priority in their lives.
What happens is that they spend a ton of their time studying and reading, and then they end up doing nothing and NOT taking any action.
Reading has become one of the escapes for them. Do not let this happen to you.
Never use reading and learning or planning as an excuse for not taking action. When it is time to read you read. When it is time to take action and work, you do the real work and take massive action.
Learning alone is not going to make you successful. While there is nothing wrong about reading and learning, but what truly gets you the result you want is to take action and work on your dreams and your goals.
So yes, I encourage people to read. In fact, I would suggest you make it your habit to read and learn every day.
You can make it a habit of spending at least 30 minutes or an hour to read. Schedule your day and read at the same time every day.
Eventually, this will become your habit, and you will never want to miss out reading.
I prefer to read in the morning while my mind is still fresh and some time I will read during breaks between works. It is totally up to you how you want to plan your time, but make sure you adopt this empowering habit.
Successful People Who Read
Do you think successful people read a lot? The answer is an absolute YES!
In fact, reading is one of the main contributors toward their success. One of the reasons people are able to produce amazing results is because they read a lot.
Here are some great examples that will convince you to read more…
Once, Warren Buffett, the richest investors of our time was asked about his key to success. He pointed to a pile of books nearby him and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
Buffett makes sure he read 500 pages a day when he started his journey as a stock investor. Even until today, he still spends 80% of his time reading books.
Next, comes the world’s richest person, Bill Gates. Do you know that Bill Gates read about 50 books a year, and he has his library at home? On average, he reads about a book per week.
Did you know how Elon Musk, the guy behind Tesla, started off discovering his dreams? He read a ton of books. It is said that he read 10 hours a day when he was young, and he finished reading all the books in the entire library! Check out how Elon Musk started here.
There was once Elon Musk was asked how did learn to build rockets through his company SpaceX, he said, “I read books.”
Oprah Winfrey, the woman billionaire, picks her favorite books once a month to share and discuss the book with her club member.
So are you convinced that reading can contribute to your success now?
The Benefits of Reading
Now you know some of the most successful people who read a lot of books, let us discover why they read and the benefits of reading.
1. Increase your knowledge in certain field
This is the most basic and common reason people understand about reading. When you ask someone why they want to read, they will tell you that they want to learn and improve their knowledge.
Obviously, reading can improve your knowledge, depending on what you read. If you are into real estate, reading materials on the topic will keep you up to date and prepare you for what you need to learn in the industry.
Imagine if you are a salesman. What would happen if you commit to reading a book about selling each week? Within a year, you will have read at least 50 books. Do you think this is going to improve your sales skills? Do you think this habit will make you more money and more sales?
The answer is a resounding yes. Thus, if you want to become the best in your field and master your work, you must make it your habit to read and learn.
This is also one of the reasons why successful people are successful. They are consistently upgrading themselves through reading and learning. You should do the same.
2. Train your focus and discipline your attention
Do you know that when you read, you can train your focus and discipline your attention? It is not easy to sit and read for hours or even minutes for some people.
If you are still reading up to this point, it simply means that you can focus much better than most people, and you have a good attention span. Let’s see if you can follow up and read until the ending.
When you spend time reading, you are training your brain to focus on the words. Reading can be something boring sometimes, but if you can pour in your full attention and read through the pages, you will increase your power of concentration.
Training your brain to focus is very important especially in this information loaded days. There are so many distractions in front of you right now; your phone, your computer, your colleagues, the Facebook updates from your friends, interesting YouTube videos, etc.
This is why it is getting more and more difficult for us to stay focus on a subject matter. Thus, improve your attention span will be crucial, and reading will be more and more important in the future.
Distractions will lower your productivity and make you procrastinate. Fortunately, you can train your focus through reading.
3. Reduce stress and give you peace
When you read, you will immerse yourself into what the author has to say. Of course, this is not going to happen every time. However, studies have shown that reading can reduce your stress and give you peace of mind.
I believe that you have the experience where you read a book, and you totally lost in the story told by the author. This is the time when you forget about everything around you and your focus is at 100% into reading.
And because of forgetting all the rest, you will also tend to let go of the stress and create a calm mind.
When you read a really good book, the information will capture your attention, and you lost the sense of time and space. Your brain will create the flow and ‘movie’ in your head. You will imagine vivid pictures inside your head even though you are reading just plain words.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. The more you read, the more you use your brain muscle, and you train your mind. And the more you use your mind the sharper and the more creative you will be.
4. Build your mental power
Do you know what happen when you read? Try to look at a book; it is just made of papers and words. And words are just plain ink on papers.
When the words connect to each other, they become sentences. And sentences, when accumulate, will become paragraphs. Paragraphs will become sections and sections become a book.
Thus, when you read, you are reading plain words. However, your mind will work its magic and use your creativity to imagine. Your mind will put all the words and paragraphs together and play them as ‘movie’ in your head.
As a result, this will build your mental power and boost your creativity. When a problem occurs, your mind will search for all possible solutions in your head. Hence, if you are a person who read and learn a lot, the possibility to successfully come up with a creative solution will be higher.
You can relate to the problems that you face in real life with those that you read through books and other learning materials.
This is why reading can improve your mental power. Not only that, reading will be able to boost your memory as well.
You use your mind to imagine when you read the words. And imagination tends to stay as memory in your mind. This is especially through if your mind associates stronger emotion to the mental pictures.
Think about it, what are you doing at this date, September 11, 2001? Most people can remember because it was an emotional day when the World Trade Center came down.
What if I ask you what did you do at this date, January 21, 2002? Can you still remember? Chances are, you can’t.
You see, you tend to remember more clearly on things that are emotional. Therefore, when you read, you will improve and remember better because your brain thinks in pictures. And pictures tend to be more emotional than plain words.
5. Best way to fill your free time
Besides all the great benefits of reading, it is also a great way to fill your free time.
What do you do when you are free? Most people will spend time mindlessly surfing the internet, playing their phones, checking unrelated emails, checking updates on Facebook, surfing YouTube, etc.
If you can make reading your hobby, it can be one of the best habits you will ever develop to fill your free time.
You can buy just one book, say for $10, and then you can read it for a month or two, which is considered very worthy. What more, you can choose to reread the book after a few months later when you first finish it. Or you can also choose to reread the book until you fully grasp the concept and ideas within.
So the $10 will be your best investment. It is said that Warren Buffett read The Intelligent Investor, for as many times as he can remember until he full understands the ideas shared in the book. He treated the book like his ‘holy bible’.
So what are your favorite books? Do you have one? If you don’t, it is time for you to get some and make them your collections.
6. Drive and motivate you
Reading can drive and motivate you. When you are down, read stories of successful people and how they have gone through the tough times. You will feel inspired and motivated again.
This is why I love to read personal development books. Well, I know I’m into this industry, but I read it because these books inspired me too.
Here’s a meaningful quote from Zig Ziglar:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
And one of the simplest and easiest ways to get motivated is through reading. Reading motivational books will inspire you to go further.
Whenever you are facing difficulties or are in a tough time, you can choose to read. Like what you have learned, it can sharpen your thinking and reduce your stress.
So make it your habit to read every single day.
What Great Books to Read?
Well, what books and which book should you read?
In my opinion, this is a very subjective question. Some people may find a book interesting and life-changing, while to others, it can just be a normal and boring book.
Why is this so? I believe that the book you read must be able to relate to your life, right now.
If you are running a business and face a difficult time right now, books that explain similar situation will relate best to you and have the greatest impact.
So choose a book that has something to do with your life that you can relate. Of course, there’s NO rule of thumb. Sometimes you may just want to read other books that are totally unrelated at all.
And if you have decided to make reading your habit, here’s my top 10 personal recommendations. Most of these books are classified under personal development and business books…
1) Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
2) The One Thing by Gary Keller
3) Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
4) Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
5) Success Principles by Jack Canfield
6) Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
7) The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
8) Good to Great by Jim Collins
9) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
10) Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger
There are more great books than these 10 above. These are just the books that I can think of right now that I love the most. There are much more.
You can build your own top 10 list of your favorite books and share with me here in the comment section.
Adopting the habit to read is truly life-changing. Reading and learning is a form of potential power that you will gain. There’s no harm to read, so you might just make it your habit to read more.
You may not know when you are going to use the knowledge within you. It is always better to be prepared for an opportunity than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
So read more and start reading today. What books do you love reading? Share with me in the commend section below.