Consuming new information is the foundation of growth. But when I encourage busy business people to add reading to their daily routines, I often hear, “but I’m not a reader!” Today I’ll make the case why it’s never too late to start. Whether you reach for nonfiction to boost your business brain or fiction to supercharge your storytelling abilities, just 5 minutes of reading every morning will invite amazing change into your life. If you invest in one new habit this week, this one is guaranteed to pay you dividends over a lifetime!
Read transcript below:
Steve Napolitan: Welcome to More Business, More Life Daily. Today I’m going to talk about reading and how much of an impact that’s made on my life and how I fit that in. Because some of us say, “I don’t have time to read,” so how do we do it?
So reading is a big deal, right? Consuming information. We hear all these stories about CEOs averaging one book a week or how much Warren Buffett reads or all of these people, you can see how they’re reading. And you could see I’ve got all these books surrounding me right now and I can definitely tell you that I was a late reader. I was a very active child, always wanting to go outside. My mom said she used to try to get me to sit in front of the TV and watch a show sometimes just so she could get a break and then I wouldn’t even be able to sit still. So that’s the type of boy I was.
Then when I started school, they had taken phonics out of learning English here, which for those of you that are in education at all or notice with your own children, that that is one of the quickest ways to learn how to read and be able to use that. So I had even more trouble in the early part of school so I was always felt like a slow reader. It wasn’t actually until sixth or seventh grade when I was put in a class where everyone knew you were going into the slow reading class that I was like, “Oh, that’s not okay with me.” Within a week, I did everything and passed all the tests they wanted me to pass so that I could go into the regular class. I proved to myself that I could do it, so that was kind of my first milestone.
I know this isn’t supposed to be like how to read, but how I use reading, but I just wanted to preface because some people they may not be readers and they were like, “Oh, I never was into that.” Well, for me, I was that way. It wasn’t until I got into college that I wanted to learn something that I started to really rigorously start reading and I think that’s it, the genuine wanting to learn something.
Now some of us actually pick up the books. Some of us are doing audio books. I think whatever way you can consume some new information, some new learning in a positive way, not the news, not listening to the news. No, that is consuming information and if you really want to do that, now for me a lot of the news, I would say 80%, 90% of the news has a slant towards one agenda or another, which you can see yourself. Then on top of that it comes to a negative spiral. Many times it comes to a negative spiral. They’re trying to build conflict and attract listeners or Watchers, if you’re watching the news, and it doesn’t lift me up. It’s not an energetic high. It becomes a downer.
So I’m talking about reading information that you want to, whether it’s to improve your marriage, to be a better parent, to learn how to run your business better, to learn how to meditate, whatever thing you want to learn. Do you want to learn more about marketing? More about sales? What are you consuming on a daily and weekly basis to improve your knowledge set, your skills, your behaviors and capabilities? And these things have been a big part of my life. Once I started including that into a daily routine because that’s what we’re talking about and specifically my morning routine, then this has become a big part of my life.
Now I live and work in the same place so this, where you’re seeing me right now, this is my home office and I am not driving in a car as much. Now I used to have an office so I would listen to audio books and/or if I was driving to meetings I would always put on audio books.
I still listen to some audio books, but I’ve found that now living here, I was like, why am I not consuming as much? Why am I not getting through as many books as quickly as I used to? I realized, hey, I’m not in the car as much. There wasn’t as many excuses to fill that time. So I’ve actually had to designate reading time and so I do that in the morning.
I’ll typically be in a couple different books, by the way, as well. Just to add to this, I usually read a nonfiction, something that I can apply to my business or my life, and I usually do that in the morning. Then at night I’ll read something that’s fiction to get myself into storytelling. Because stories are very powerful metaphors for our life and you can get into some beautiful stories. Also it helps you as to be a better storyteller, to be a better communicator. So I’ve noticed that my language has shifted and improved by continually reading, getting new ideas into my mind. It also helps me to fall asleep at night to read a chapter in a fiction book before retiring for bed. So just try to apply these things.
Then again, what I was kind of giving as a suggestion was just start off with five minutes. So if you do five minutes of meditation, five minutes of journaling, five minutes of reading wherever it is, and just put the bookmark in. So I would just sometimes read a couple pages of something that was very dense, like some things were operational, like how to do something and other times I’m flipping through pages and it’s much quicker. Then I do five minutes of working out and it just started there. Now I spend more time, about 20 minutes on each subject, and so it takes me about 90 minutes to do my morning routine and it’s very fulfilling. But whatever amount of time you have, don’t worry about the duration. Just worry about the consistency of the habit.
So I hope this has been helpful. I hope you start picking up some books or spending five or 10 minutes with an audio book every day, or reading a book every day and start adding new information, new ideas into your mind, into your life. Let me know how this is going and comment below. And as always, remember, choose gratitude and create freedom. We’ll see you on the next show.