You Want To Hit Your Full Potential As A Leader? Get Into The Habit Of Reading
All leaders are readers and a great many of them have amazing, extraordinary habits. Surprisingly, one of them is simple: reading. And the reason for this is just as simple. Reading is one of the most powerful wellsprings of new ideas, growth and great inspiration. So, if becoming a supreme leader is one of your personal development plans, you have got to learn how to like and enjoy reading.
One time United States President Harry Truman was reported to have said that ..”Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Reading, particularly if you’re an enthusiastic businessman or entrepreneur plays a critical role in helping us not only to become leaders but better, greater leaders. Here why:
- Reading transcends us beyond our present situation. Reading biographies, non-fiction books or even John Grisham, Dan Brown or the late Ernest Hemingway raises us up beyond our day to day grind at the office. These books with stories of incredible achievements inspire us. They open our eyes to new things, new ideas. Most times they even pull us back and allow us to see the big picture, the forest rather than just the trees.
- Reading increases magnifies and multiplies our experiences. In a way, we can neither experience life quickly or fully so from written stories and articles of great, learned writers we get to learn from the experiences of other people. Analogous to raising a child that takes eighteen years (18 yrs), we only have a few children to practice parenting on. Reading allows us to learn from the experiences of almost unlimited number of successful parents and married couples. This applies as well to business, medical practice, TV news casting and anchoring or any other field of endeavor.
- Reading can expand our expertise fast. Let’s face it. Sans reading, we are pretty much confined to our first hand experiences. Since we can’t go through life fast enough to gain lots of experience, our knowledge logically is limited. Reading allows us to acquire knowledge in any area, industry or field, or business sector of genuine interest to us.
- Reading allows us to spend time with these smart guys. Sure we can’t rub elbows with Peter Drucker, Michael Hyatt, Leo Tolstoy or H. G. Wells (particularly since the last two have passed on many years ago). But hey! You can spend as much time as you wish with these geniuses by immersing yourself in their books, memoirs and collections of written articles Isn’t that a great feeling? To know you’ve spent time with some of the most renown chroniclers of life?
- Reading provides us an escape into a utopian world. When we want to temporarily get a respite from the stress and hassle of being a businessman, an entrepreneur, an advertising executive or a brand strategist, it’s easy enough to reach into any book shelf and start reading that can’t-put-it-down kind of a book or that mushy fairy tale type book which transforms our world into some kind of wonderland. Reading these draws us away from our present circumstances which mostly are good because it makes it easier for us to relax rest and recover. When we do come back to reality, we’re in a much better position to face the challenges with new ideas, revitalized energy and better focus.
- Reading challenges us. Books, news articles, commentaries, blogs, ebooks, editorials or newspaper opinion columns. Most of these carry some beliefs or opinions which may run contrary to what we hold to be true or unshakeable. Sometimes, these writings rock even things we have always regarded as part of our heritage or tradition. The stirring in our hearts and minds seeks some sort of resolution. We get this urge to look for what is true, for what will tell us if we’re right or wrong.
These then are some of the reasons why leaders read. Essentially it inspires them and helps them to become even better leaders. It helps though to know that leaders read quality. They don’t just pick up books written by any Tom Dick and Harry. They would tend to go for good quality books, books that nourish the mind and inspires the heart. At the end of the day the saying “Garbage in, garbage out” applies.
So, you want to become a leader? Read.
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