Reading can be one of your most powerful tools in living your best life. I grew up with love for reading. For me, it was an escape into another world where I could be the hero at a time when I felt alone and insignificant. I know for many, reading feels like a chore. For me, reading has become one of my greatest joys.
Instead of feeling weak and insecure, I could enter worlds where I was in the Wild West with my six-shooter saving the day. Or, I could become a sorcerer and fierce warrior facing dragons and mythical creatures with magic and courage. My world wasn’t limited to my physical reality; books allowed me to live in any reality I wanted.
Later in life, I started my journey of self-development. I found “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I was hooked. Anything in my life that I wanted to learn could be found in books. There are books on communication, health, leadership, spirituality, wealth, relationships. All the things you care about you can learn. That’s when I started reading/listening to a book a week for the last six years, and my life will never be the same.
It’s almost impossible to learn everything you need just from experience alone. There is only so much to learn in a lifetime to master by your experience alone. If you want to be a leader, you have to become a reader. Or at the very least, a lifelong learner.
Just to be clear. We all can be leaders. It doesn’t mean you have to have a business or an organization you run. At the very least, it means you choose how you want to live and lead your life the way you want. Or it could mean you guide your children and family. We are all leaders in some way.
The following are the six reasons why to be a leader you must be a reader:
Reading books gives you access to others life experiences. Someone has taken years of their life experience or years of research and put it all on paper for you. You don’t have to do all the work. In a week, you can absorb ten years of wisdom and experience. You have a roadmap of things to do and things to avoid on your path.
Life is already challenging enough. Why not learn from other’s mistakes and successes?
Eliminates Blind Spots
We all have blind spots. Areas of our lives that we are missing pieces. You don’t know what you don’t know. If someone doesn’t tell you, you won’t ever see it because you don’t know it’s there.
Recently, I just finished “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman and realized that several areas that I thought were teaching my team were actually diminishing them. The more I try to show them, the more they rely on me to give them the answers. According to what I learned instead is that it’s better to ask questions and redirect when off track, but to allow them full ownership and bounce the issue back for them to find the answers on their own.
Without reading this book, I wouldn’t have realized this piece of my leadership. Leadership is just one area, but we all have them when it comes to communication health, relationships, and wealth.
Creates New Beliefs
We aren’t held back by what we don’t know. We are often held back by what we know that isn’t true. Every one of us has limiting beliefs. Beliefs about what life is about, and what’s possible. Reading gives you access to all kinds of inspiring stories and people.
One of the best ways to break your beliefs and create new ones is too read books that inspire and stretch you. Every belief has reference points that create your base. Books can break down the old limiting reference points and give you new ones that help you to expand and empower you.
Struggling to lose weight? Read all the books on people who have lost 100 lbs or more and what they did
Struggling to grow a business? Read books on people who were able to turn their businesses around
Increases Your Average
This quote has been shown to be true in almost every aspect of life. Research shows that having a close friend who is overweight increases your chance of being obese by 171%. It also applies to wealth, mindset, and quality of life.
It’s not that easy to just drop your friends as some coaches recommend. Sometimes your social circle doesn’t start out including people living the life you want. With books, you can spend days with the most incredible people in the world. You can have a conversation with them. See how they think. Understand their struggles and values. Even better if you can spend that time with the best minds the world has ever seen by reading books from the greatest people throughout history.
Improve Your Relationships
The more you read, the more you start to enter into the minds of others. Every book was written by a different person with a unique viewpoint and set of emotions. One of the greatest resources we can develop with others is empathy. You have to be able to understand someone else’s point of view and what they may be feeling.
From that perspective, you can then get out of your own head and help and connect with someone else. Often, our struggles with others come from seeing our way as the only way. With reading, we expand our perspectives and understanding of others. The better we can navigate our relationships with empathy and compassion the richer our lives become.
Whenever we are struggling in life, it often feels like we are all alone. No one else would understand. Your back is against the wall, and you don’t see how changing is possible. It’s harsh and overwhelming, and it’s easy to feel this way. Our limited perspective keeps us trapped.
As with most of the other benefits of reading, you don’t have to rely on your own experience or those around you. You can read stories of people who have face odds ten times as great as your own, and how they came through. You can connect to your shared humanity knowing others have gone through similar or worse situations. Once you step out of your situation, you can see a new way out.
Whether you are just trying to lead your self to better health and fitness or build an organization reading is going to be essential in your life. You can build better beliefs, create new perspectives, and shorten the amount of life experience needed to achieve your goals.
When I started my journey of reading self-development, it was as if the world got bigger and bigger with every book. I began to see the world with awe and wonder. My dreams stretched. It happens less now, but through reading, I have become a different person.
Reading and learning is an essential ingredient for creating the life you really want. Are you ready to stop settling and lead your life?