In 6 months, I have centered my reading on business, self development, personal improvement, and entrepreneurship. To be precise, I have read 72 books since January and that should tell it is one good habit I have.
Some years ago, I was never a lover of reading books. In fact, I once hated reading because I believe there are lot of things I will use with my time to sitting at a corner reading some 237 or whatever page book.
I saw reading as an indulgence rather than a necessity in my life. I rather love to have fun jumping all over the place.
My closest friend since University is a lover of books. You don’t have to ask him what his hobby is. With the way he reads, you can simply tell.
We lived together for 4 years in the University but not until 5 years of our friendship that I realize the importance of making reading a habit. He buys at least a book every month to read and I never was interested to know why he keeps doing even though we were close.
Several times, he tried to get my attention on something new or mind blowing he just discovered in one of his reading adventures but my playful self will never put my mind to them.
I prefer scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feed, people’s tweets on Twitter and many online forums and platforms I was a part of.
There I had people responding to my thoughts than to a book written in 1987 whose author might even be so dead that his grave must have disintegrated away from the surface of the earth.
You won’t blame me though. I so much love the Internet knowing there is no information I need that I won’t get in minutes.
If you say I am lazy, I won’t argue much. Google made life easy but unknowingly to me, the easy life it created has its own many disadvantages (I discussed this in the later part of this article).
But now, I am a repented person. In my last business trip to Lagos, I personally spend close to N30,000 on books and I can boldly tell you reading is the perfect hobby for everyone especially for an entrepreneur.
A new research report revealed that entrepreneurs who spend just 1 hour a week reading books are 20 percent more likely to be successful in their businesses.
I’m sure a lot of entrepreneurs would agree that there are a lot of wonderful reasons why reading is so important to one’s development.
Despite of all its amazing benefits at least a little every couple of days, it’s sad to know that actually quite a lot of entrepreneurs don’t appreciate this pleasant activity and don’t see why reading is so important like I once did.
The joy of reading books can’t be described in words. It’s something that you understand only by real experience and I will be pointing out few reasons from my experience why you should consider reading a book over the Internet or Social media perambulation.
The first thing I noticed about reading books is how fast it develops my mind. Understanding whatever you read is one way the mind grows in its ability.
If you keep your brain busy, it won’t lose its power. For sure you have heard the phrase “use it or lose it”. Think of the brain as a regular muscle in the body. If you exercise, it will stay strong and fit.
Because you are sitting still, or lying down, and doing nothing but using your mind when reading, it is stimulated by random thoughts strung together along the contents of the book.
Our mind is fueled by imagination; imagination is not just for children. Even just sitting somewhere and reading is the same and exercise for your mind. There is nothing more helpful for the soul than a good book to help bring out your creative side.
Someone who reads a lot of books is more intellectually stimulated than those who are not.
Analytical and Creative thinking
Secondly, reading is very vital to our imagination. When I read a book, it feels great to put myself into a world the writer has created for me.
Reading develops your imagination and improves your analytical thinking. When you spend several hours reading a book, you create a world of your own in your mind.
You fill this world with different characters and scenes which unconsciously increases your imagination powers and helps you to think about your ideas more visually.
Depending upon what you read, you will come out with the same experience as you do when you watch a great movie only that TV is a non-thinking activity and will not exercise your mind the way reading will.
In line with reading developing your imagination, it also develops the creative side of you.
Reading expand your mind, and readers have been reportedly said to have higher levels of creativity than non-readers.
As you read, try to stop every once in awhile and ask yourself questions pertaining to what you are learning from the book you are reading. Get yourself thinking about it. Get the creative juices flowing!
Improved Planning Skills and More General Knowledge
I realize since I started reading, it is easier for me to make decisions and even better, I am more capable of planning and prioritising my life in general.
I believe this is so because readers are more able to recognise that difficulties and setback are unavoidable aspects of human life since reading gives a better understanding of other people’s feelings.
It is not simply that we feel better about our own problems but that we have a greater capacity for empathy.
If you read quite well, you will have a stronger and more engaged awareness of social issues and of cultural diversity than non-readers. You are going to have greater cultural awareness and more general knowledge.
The stories and ideas contained in a book can open your mind and unite you with other cultures, helping you to gain a deeper understanding and respect for them.
Medicine for boredom
Furthermore, if you’ve been following my blog regularly, it won’t be new to you that I live alone. This has made me become a voracious reader ever since I learned to read. I never get bored even being alone for a long time.
For me, the best way which I discover more efficient and more pleasant to overcome boredom is reading books not even watching TV or seeing Game of Thrones.
Reading has been my most effective stress reliever and I am grateful always for this particular one.
I engage in various stuffs during the day that I sometimes don’t have much time to rest. But when I do, reading a book speed up the rate at which I get the day’s stress out of my body.
By reading a good book, you can get lost between the lines and you can find yourself in some awesome imaginary world that can make you forget about all your problems and worries.
Even several research reports have shown that reading reduces stress. In fact, you only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in your muscles.
If you get stressed more often from your daily activities, try reading at least 10 pages every night before you go to sleep to get rid of all the stress.
Also by reading, you have a wide gap to how much you can discover new things. What starts with reading story books, when you are a kid, turns into reading books for improving yourself as you grow older.
From story books to technical & management books, and then from self improvement books to spiritual books and beyond, the journey is fantastic and you learn something with each passing day which is how you will discover new things.
Books are great learning tools which require the ability to read and understand what is read. If you are good at reading books, you will be able to educate yourself in any area you are interested in.
Focus and Concentration
Reading also improves concentration and focus. These days of social and internet craze, people have developed a very short attention span. In a matter of minutes we work, we check tweets, we chat with people, we check our emails, and stay glued to our smartphones.
When you start reading, you have only one thing to focus on. You should try reading for 20-30 minutes before going to work and you will realize that you will be able to focus for longer periods of time.
The more books you read, the less likely you will be distracted by things outside of your control. People who cannot sit still can be cured of their anxiety through reading a good book for at least one hour every day.
The effects of book-reading can have on your body and mind can be quite miraculous. It’s an alternative therapeutic cure for our worries and troubles.
I bet everyone knows that by reading you can increase your vocabulary and also you can improve your spelling, but, now and then people tend to neglect this important benefit of reading.
Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem.
It could even aid in your business, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get opportunities more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.
Having a rich vocabulary is especially important to writers or bloggers, so if that’s your passion or your job and you want to get better and better, then start reading at least a few pages every day and you’ll soon notice the difference.
Improved Writing Skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing.
Observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.
In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
These are just few of many benefits I have found since I become a voracious reader.
If you are part of those who think reading is boring and a waste of time, I am very sure you have never read a good book or you prefer reading articles on the internet.
And this why I will be showing you now that internet reading is not as good as reading books.
Reading books is not the same as reading articles on Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and all other places on the Internet.
Thanks to technology you can easily find good articles to read on the internet. A great article can inspire and motivate you as much as a great book. It’s not how much you read, but what you read which is more important.
The only reason I recommend reading books over internet articles is because when you read a book you spend several hours with it, whereas you only spend a few minutes reading an article.
It’s easy to read a quote or an article for few minutes, then discard it and continue with what you were doing. But when you invest your time in reading a good book to gain knowledge as an entrepreneur, you end up spending at least a few hours reflecting on its contents.
Thus, what you learn from books is likely to stay with you for a longer time and have some positive influence on you.
Also, just reading good books is not enough. The way you read it is more important. Stop jumping on every book suggested by the guy next door. Make sure you read books you only need its contents for entrepreneurial or personal development at that time.
While reading, you will come across a new idea or a different opinion, think upon it deeply. Don’t accept or reject it blindly. Try to reason with it and understand the writer’s point of view.
Reflect upon the thoughts that come to your mind when you read a great book. You will know whether a book is great or not based on the thoughts it awakens inside you.
As you continue this habit and reflecting on what you read, you will start forming your own thoughts and values. It will challenge your mind and the thoughts, customs and traditions that you have grown up with
However, there is one thing which you should always remember when you make this a daily habit, as you are investing a part of your life doing it.
Too much reading, without any thinking and action isn’t of much use. When you know you are ready to do something it’s time to move to the next step. Act upon what you think is right and what you have decided to do.
It’s easy to get so much involved in the reading process, that you forget that the main purpose is to make you a better person which can only happen when you act upon it. Just finishing one book after another without any real action from your side won’t help you.
What kind of person you want to be and what you would ultimately become depend greatly upon the type of content that you read and how much you act upon them.
The habit of reading good content daily will act like an exercise for your mind and keep you mentally fit and flexible. If you have never given it a try then always remember that it’s never too late to start a good habit.
In my next post on reading, I will let you know about my personal library and books every entrepreneur must at one time give a good read.
Before then, step away from your phone for a little while, go to the nearest book store and grab a book to begin that vital habit of every successful entrepreneur.