If You Want to Lead, You Need to Read

by Positive Hustle

A common habit that extraordinary achievers, leaders, and CEOs seem to share is the habit of reading regularly. They find time to read books despite being busy with their regular activities and tasks. Bill Gates admits, “I had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.” Reading makes leaders. And reading makes people smart and wise. It makes them more aware and better equipped to achieve their goals and objectives. Here are innumerable advantages associated with reading. 

  • It engages your mind constructively. It keeps your mind away from troubles and takes you to an imaginative world.
  • It decreases your stress and provides you peace of mind. It removes negative thoughts from your mind and replaces them with positive thoughts. 
  • You update your knowledge, skills, and abilities. You get inspired by the books. They help you become a complete individual by equipping you with several qualities, traits, and practices. 
  • Reading is an active mental process that improves your concentration and focus. It improves memory, vocabulary, discipline, and creativity. It builds mental associations, improves reasoning skills, and enhances conceptual skills.
  • It helps you understand the realities of life and become pragmatic. It helps you explore uncharted paths. It opens the window to the outside world. You get respected by your community and society.

Stephen King touched the right chord when he said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” You can learn by yourself with little investment. Precisely, books provide you with self-motivation and help you dream big.

Research suggests that reading can work as a serious stress-buster. A 2009 study by Sussex University researchers showed that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent. “It doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” 

Here are some tips to make reading a lifetime habit

  • Read the newspaper every day. 
  • Read blogs, online magazines, and journals in your area of interest. 
  • Discuss what you read with your peers. Their knowledge and information will push you to verify and know more, and you will end up reading more.
  • Carry a book whenever you travel.  Else you have the app to download e-books which are accessible over mobile.
  • Start with 30 minutes a day, to be dedicated to reading. During those 30 minutes do not do anything else. Switch off anything that might distract. Read and analyze what you have read. Form an opinion.
  • Avoid reading just for the sake of reading because you may end up developing an aversion to reading forever.  Hence, read books in your area of interest.  
  • Think of a situation when you have read a book till about a few decent pages. 

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

I am a bookworm

I have read quite a few books during my lifetime. I was a book reviewer for the Human Resource Management International Digest of an Emerald journal and received many books to review. I get lots of books from eminent international thought leaders. I read and post reviews on Amazon. I purchase many books and read. Additionally, I read a lot of online content. Reading is a daily activity for me. There is not a single day in my life when I slept without reading and writing.  Whenever I commute I carry a book with me to read and use my time. I am a passionate reader with a heart to share my knowledge with others. 

I always remember the best thing about traveling is to help myself with a book. Whenever there is enough time to board the train, I would stand at a book stall in the railway station and surf through the book titles. The same happened when I had to take a flight. The in-flight time is dedicated to reading. I had the practice of stopping by the road whenever I spotted books being sold on the footpaths in India. I have loved books since childhood.

Reading the newspaper is an old habit for me. Although there is a shift to digital newspapers currently, I still enjoy reading print editions.  It keeps me updated with current developments globally. I also read the news online regularly.

Over to you!

Reading books can change your life. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi was inspired by several books including John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. He borrowed his principles from this book. Most successful leaders from history are voracious readers. Leaders including Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt read books widely. Research shows that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month. Research further shows that successful entrepreneurs read for an average of 2.6 hours per day. It is obvious that leaders are readers and reading helps them excel.

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