The average American spends about 4 hours on social media a day and spends another 4 hours watching television a day. What if we take 1 hour to start reading? How different would the world be? Why did I start reading?
If you look at all successful people, the one thing they have in common is the way they think. You might ask, how did all the successful people have the same kind of thought process? The secret is...
They read. A LOT.
People who are successful and wealthy read books on self-development, success and education whereas people who are not so wealthy read novels, entertainment magazines, and comic books.
Billionaire Warren Buffett said when asked about his secret to his success:
"Read 500 pages every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."
Below are some examples of successful entrepreneurs who make reading a huge part of their lives.
1. Bill Gates
He reads about 50 books a year, which breaks down to a book a week. Why would the world's richest man, worth about $78 billion spend so much time reading?
2. Mark Zuckerberg
He owns the largest online social network. His new year's resolution is to read a book every 2 weeks. He also started A Year of Books book club, a place to discuss the books he's reading with the Facebook community.
3. Elon Musk
He owns Tesla, Space X and Paypal. When the tech billionaire was asked how he learned to build rockets, he said, "I read books."
4. Warren Buffet
Investing Guru, Warren Buffet spends 80% of his work day reading.
5. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah would select a book every month for readers to discuss online.
World's wealthiest people all read extensively. According to scientific research, it is also proven that reading helps to improve your memory and learning capabilities because they fire up your brain synapses when you read.
How do you cultivate the habit of reading?
It's never too late to start. I just started the habit of reading only about a year back. I grew up reading books here and there but never in my last 21 years of life, read a book from cover to cover.
It is okay to start off small. Take baby steps. Momentum will build up when you take the first step. The best way to cultivate the reading habit is to start off with 15 minutes of reading every day. If you are not a reader, 15 minutes could be a daunting task. I personally have been through that and understand how you are feeling.
If you are wondering how long 15 minutes is, it's not a long time. Imagine reading 3-5 articles a day, that's about 15 minutes.
Where do I get 15 minutes in my busy day?
It is tough to incorporate a 15-minute reading time if you are not used to having that in your daily schedule. But trust me, it is possible to find 15 minutes. You can spend 15 minutes less time on Facebook or 15 minutes less time watching Netflix.
What time of the day should I read?
Everyone has their own preference. You can read in the morning when you are having breakfast or while commuting back and forth to school or work, or during lunch breaks. I personally read right before I go to bed. I know that reading right before I go to sleep will help me wind down. What you put into your brain before you end your day is very important.
I say "I will read today", but it did not happen.
Blocking off reading time on my calendar helps me at the beginning. Don't just put reading on your to-do list. Trust me, you will never get to that. Schedule a time on your calendar and make sure you set a reminder for yourself.
It was challenging for me when I first started reading to find 15 minutes a day in my life when I have never spent time reading. When I say I would find some time to read in between work or classes, I never get to it. What helped me was actually scheduling a 15-minute time slot on my calendar that says reading.
What type of books should I read?
There are multiple lists on the Internet of books recommended by successful people. Just Google successful people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, they all have book recommendations online.
You can visit my book list to check out some of the books I've read. There are a lot more books you can pick up besides those listed on the list. Just pick a book and start reading, you will soon find yourself immerse into the story.
I encourage you to read, it will be worth it. Not only you improve yourself but you indirectly improve the people around you too! You might not see a transformation within a day of reading, but 3 months, 6 months, a year down the road, you will be surprised by how much knowledge you have compounded through reading.