Readers are leaders!! We’ve all heard this before, and if you study some of the countless articles, books, interviews or infographics which deal with the habits of highly successful people, there are a number of behaviours which they will all have in common. There is, however, one of these which really stands out, and it’s this which I will be focusing on today. They all read. A lot.
It is no secret that the most successful people like to read. The difference is in their choice of reading material. Reading, for many of us, can be a wonderful form of escapism. A humble novel can transport us to far away lands or galaxies, while putting us in the middle of the action and drama which takes place. Some prefer to read magazines and the autobiographies of reality tv stars. Either way, we all like to do it. Most of us, however, do it for fun or relaxation. Of course, wealthy and successful people read novels too, but their primary goal when reading is to acquire knowledge. Knowledge acquired, if acted upon, can lead to even greater success, because the combination of knowledge and action results in power and progress.
I was reminded of the benefits of reading widely, around various topics, recently. Having been invited to several dinner parties over the festive period, I was struck by an interesting realisation. It is not uncommon today, to have a number of tv sets in your home. This usually involves having a large tv in the living room with a surround sound setup, and smaller tvs in the kitchen, conservatory and bedrooms. The realisation which hit me, in the homes of these friends and family who are hugely successful in their own right is that they own one tv. Just one. And it usually lives in the kitchen or conservatory. What they do have throughout a large portion of their houses, though, are bookshelves full of autobiographies, biographies and books on topics from art and culture to Victorian Britain. As a result of their preference of a good book over a tv programme, they are more knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, are more interesting conversationalists and are high achievers.
We all read. Newspapers, magazines, online articles, books…the list is endless. What really makes a difference, and separates the most successful from the rest of the population is the type of reading material, and the motivation for reading. Warren Buffett, the famous investor and one of the richest men in the world, reads every day. As did former US President and larger than life character Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, who read and finished a new book every day. Most of the highest achievers read daily, but they tend to focus on biographies of successful figures, non-fiction literature related to their interests or a skill they are trying to acquire, trade journals and literature related to their area of business. They spend less time watching the latest series on Netflix or hit movie on Amazon Prime, and more time reading material which can help them to learn and grow both personally and professionally. They choose to acquire knowledge, while others prefer to simply be entertained. This is what sets them apart from the crowd, and helps them to remain successful. Their libraries is bigger than their televisions.
This is something which anyone can do. It is not easy, as it means changing habits and routines, which people are naturally resistant to. We love the comfort of routines and learned behaviours, but if you want to improve your life and become successful that can only happen if you step outside of your comfort zone. So in 2018, as you chase your goals, become more selective about how much time you spend watching tv and the material you read. It could be the deciding factor in your quest for fulfillment and success.