I’m going to start off by clarifying the title. Reading is NOT a get-rich quick scheme, and it will not by itself turn your life around. It is a tool to expand your knowledge and wisdom beyond what someone of your experience would normally be capable of obtaining. As I will explain, reading is one of the most effective methods of self-improvement readily available to you, and its effectiveness only multiplies when you actively apply what you have learned to your daily life. In this article I will be your guide into the world of books, and at the end I will be explaining the steps to make a habit of reading in your life!
Hey before I get started I just wanted to mention that I have started a reading list that you can follow, it will be built from books I have read and those I am currently reading. If you want to check them out you can click here. Any purchases made through those links helps support these articles at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments!!
Reading is the Difference Between Crawling and Driving a Car.
You might have heard that to be considered a master of any craft, it requires roughly seven years or about 10,000 hours of work. That’s a lot of time invested in one aspect of life. The reason for this is simple, experience requires mistakes to be made, and mistakes take time to manifest. A master craftsman has potentially failed thousands of times in his career, just as Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”. Every great person in history has at one point in their life discovered the value in being a good loser and being able to look past the personal component of their failures to turn them into a growing experience.
The beauty in reading comes from the distilled wisdom that it offers. When written by great writers filled with valuable experiences, books become a gateway to wisdom beyond our years. A twenty-year-old apprentice under the wing of a master will have all of his master’s experience at his disposal. Instead of failing 10,000 times, he might only fail 1,000 times before surpassing his master’s wisdom. Books are a way for us to empower ourselves without the time and effort that success would have normally required. This does not however, mean that we should push ourselves less.
To sum this up, becoming a master solely through trial and error would be the equivalent of crawling through mud on a humid day in the middle of a swamp with a broken leg, and only after crawling several hundred yards discovering that there was a pathway parting the swamp and offering a clear way forward. That being the conventional method of gaining wisdom, reading books is like taking a cool, air-conditioned trip through the swamp, which you now see is a beautiful jungle with incredible scenery, and only once you have prepared yourself adequetely for the harshness of it do you have a need to step into the jungle and its harshness. How Reading Affects Your Career – Universal Application
Self-Improvement – Books as a Guide, Not a Manual.
The most important thing to remember when reading is that not everything is going to apply exactly to your life. If you are reading to learn, grow, and improve yourself, it is crucial to understand that no one book has the answer. The fact that one book does not hold all of the answers should not come as a surprise, and it shouldn’t blunt your enthusiasm for reading either. Reading is a beautiful thing because of the multiplicative effect it has on itself. A single book may only provide you with one book worth of knowledge and experience, as you would expect. What you might not expect is that when you read many books, even if they are in varying fields of study or even fiction, the lessons they teach build on and compound the effects of learning, so that while one book might only give you one book of experience, two may give you two and one half, and three may give you five.
For example, three of the books I’ve read for various reasons, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Selling 101, and How to Win Friends and Influence People all carry very different themes, but the overlap of experience helped me form a clearer picture of what I wanted and how to accomplish it. Selling 101, a book by Zig Ziglar that is a brief rundown of how to become a successful salesperson, emphasizes the importance of understanding the needs of you client and provides some basic techniques for building relationships and helping people define their needs. The point of listening is further reinforced in How to Win Friends and Influence People, where Dale Carnegie shows the power of using your ears instead of your mouth, and provides some understanding of human psychology while providing a basis for being a better person. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People smooths out the edges of the foundation laid by the other two, and proposes that the path to true effectiveness comes from a deep understanding of oneself as well as the understanding of others.
With the understanding of personal growth from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in mind when using the techniques of the other books, it opens up the possibility of living a much higher quality life than if you had read the three of them individually and without consideration to one another.
Developing the Habit Of Reading – Just Like Excersise.
Now for what everyone has been waiting. How DO you develop the habit of reading? The honest truth is to start, a little bit at a time, and to find what interests you. Personally, I like to read to improve myself, so naturally I began by identifying weaknesses in myself and began rounding them out, while hammering out the things that I do well in, but could excel at with practice.
If you read for entertainment, a good place to start is the news, where you can find a niche newsfeed for whatever you enjoy. Business insider provides updates on the business world, including a few articles on workplace sociology/psychology. Buzzfeed, however infamous for its nonsense articles, does pretty well to entertain with a few strange and oddly personal posts a week, while offering community involvement in the form of quizzes. The Verge is another popular newsfeed with Technology, science, and entertaining stories on current events. If you’re looking for something a little off the mainstream, Vice offers some less than PG stories, while also offering similar stories to Buzzfeed.
News is a great place to start because it is light, compact reading that if well-written will be full of useful/entertaining information that has been condensed down to save you time. A common reason that people shy from reading is that they claim that it is a waste of time, that there are better ways of obtaining information. This is only true when what you need to learn is something that does not require an in-depth understanding. It will obviously be easier to fix your fire wall setting by a simple google or youtube search and skimming a three minute long video than it would be to whip out a manual for your computer and mull through it.
Reading is like excersise, you’re not gonna get a six pack by working out extremely hard for one day and then shoveling junk into your mouth, progress comes from small, incremental progressions that will eventually compound into a sum that is greater than its parts. The best thing you can do to make a habit of reading is to start small and work your way into whatever you enjoy. That is a very important statement, so important, as a matter of fact, that I will repeat it, in italics!
The best thing you can do to make a habit of reading is to start small and work your way into whatever you enjoy.
In short, reading is something that can add a whole new lens to your life, it can make you better than you could have ever imagined, but it takes steady, consistent work to make it as effective as possible.
Are there any books that you’ve read that have changed your life? Maybe a great novel that really inspired you or a non-fiction guide that changed your perspective entirely? If you’ve got a book you think that the whole world should read drop it in the comments and tell us the reason you loved it!
One of my personal favorites is the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , a great read for anyone looking to improve themselves and increase the success they see in daily life, you can check it out by clicking the link above!