If there’s one good thing that we’ve learned from school, it’s that reading and learning are the surefire ways to success and fulfillment. Think of the smartest and most ambitious person you know. He or she is most likely also very knowledgeable, and that knowledge didn’t just “download” itself in the mind.
Most likely it’s been acquired through extensive reading. Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize in Literature, not Peace. While being an avid reader doesn’t guarantee success, you will find that many if not most successful people are avid readers.
Here are ten reasons why your reading will boost your chances of success.
Reading Improves Focus
Just like meditation, reading helps exercise focus due to the extra effort you have to put in following every sentence. You need to pay attention to details to understand the storyline, especially when reading a novel. Unlike watching a sitcom or a movie, where there is no pause button, you can reread parts that you thought are interesting and then resume.
Avid readers spend their time wisely
Reading is one of those things that can be both entertaining and enriching. Rather than spend their time on social media, avid readers know that reading something, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, is a healthier way to spend their free time.
Avid readers are introspective
Reading helps you look at life from different points of view. A good book will make you contemplate and think abstractly by trying to understand the book through real-life experiences. There are many lessons to be learned from both fiction and non-fiction books. Of course, life is the best teacher that you can have and you will learn most of life’s lessons through your own mistakes. The wiser thing you can do is learn from the mistakes of other people and reading will take you on a journey through other people’s lives and experiences. Successful people understand the profound effect of consuming quality literature has on the mind and how it can help you succeed in life.
Reading improves creativity
Reading novels and poetry is food for our ability to imagine. Fiction can take you to different worlds and make you see life from abstract points of view. Once you’ve been to those worlds, you can never be fully content with life. Discontented people are the ones that have the initiative to improve the world around them. Elon Musk is a prime example of a famous “bookworm” that wants to change the world. When asked how he learned to build rockets, Elon’s answer is simple: “I read books.”
Reading helps you write and speak better
Reading improves vocabulary and critical thinking, which is why you’re told by the educational system to read “the classics.” It’s no wonder that the greatest orators in history were avid readers. When you use your mind regularly by absorbing new sentences every day, words will come out easier, both in speaking and in writing.
Reading expands your vocabulary
This is one of the no-brainers on the list. Reading regularly exposes you to lots of new words, which will become “stuck” in your mind for recognition and use. You will become more articulate, a better communicator and you will be able to relate to more people. An expanded vocabulary, coherency in ideas, and clearness of speech will make other people look up to you and new doors will be open to you.
Reading develops your analytical skills
Have you ever felt that you already knew how the story would finish halfway through? That means that you’ve successfully put your critical and analytical thinking to the test by observing the “pieces of the puzzle” and using logic to assess the outcome.
Reading improves memory
People who read often know how important it is to keep a sharp mind. The brain is like a muscle that benefits from a good workout. Reading “challenges” the brain, forcing you to construct and imagine. You won’t understand the story or characters of a book if you don’t pay attention and remember the details. The stimulation that the brain receives from reading keeps your memory sharp, your learning abilities fast and your mind more resistant to aging.
Reading reminds you
Success is much about staying on track and striving to reach your goals daily. Reading industry news or productivity articles can provide the necessary inspiration to help you get the most out of your day. Some articles can be real anchors when it comes to reminding yourself of concepts that help you work on your dreams. Inspiring books can fill you with positive energy and make it easier to face challenges and go through life with confidence.
Reading relaxes you
A book can help you clear your mind when you feel stressed out. Even the most successful people need to disconnect from everyday life once in a while. Seeing as many if not most successful people have full schedules and active lives, stress can inevitably creep in. Reading lowers stress levels and provides the necessary relaxation to remain healthy.
Here are some tips for you to kick up your reading habit:
Make use of your “dead time” – For example, when you’re commuting or waiting in line for an appointment. These are perfect times to read something short like an article or continue reading a novel that you’ve started.
Have a “reading to-do list” – and make it a priority to tick off items every day. Set yourself some specific goals and try to raise the bar as time passes.
Vary your reading – Business people can fall into the trap of reading only professionally related material. There’s so much more than words can express. It would be a shame not to experience some wild new perspectives expressed in novels or poetry books.
Read for self-improvement – Books are the best tools for personal and professional development. You will feel extra motivated to read if it’s to enhance your skills or surpass a character flaw.
If there’s one thing that you can be sure about, is that knowledge is power. Warren Buffett spends around five hours a day reading. “I like to sit and think. I spend a lot of time doing that and sometimes it is pretty unproductive, but I find it enjoyable to think about business or investment problems,” Buffett says in HBO’s documentary “Becoming Warren Buffett”. The Oracle of Omaha is seeking new information daily.
He’s constantly building up his knowledge “like compound interest.” Mark Cuban regards the simple act of reading as the secret to his success.
We live in a world where information has never been easier to access. Many top-level universities have even made their courses available to the public for free. Anyone with an Internet connection can choose to follow their dreams by acquiring the necessary knowledge and growing to be better people. Few do it.
Adrian-Carol Szasz is a freelance writer, musician, and editor. Every day is a new challenge for him to be better than the person he was the day before.