I am today going to address a topic no one is talking about now. I have a unique perspective because I do about 100 training programs a year. Here what I am seeing. In class, I will ask, “Who has ever read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?” Out of a group of thirty people one hand will go up. I am not asking about an obscure book, but one that has been on the business bestseller list for 30 years. The rest of the class has never heard of it.
According to research by the Pew Research Center 68 percent of men read at least one book last year. OK, that is the good news, but here is the bad news: that means that 32 percent didn’t read one at all in a whole year, (52 weeks 365 days).
When I talk to people they tell me they don’t read (learn) for the following reasons:
“I have never been much of a reader.”
“Between work and home I am just too busy.”
“I read on my device all day at work the last thing I want to do is read when I get home.”
There is a whole range of other reasons people tell me—way too many to mention. Here is the reality; instead of reading they are watching TV, or surfing the internet. Is that you my man? Look I am not criticizing, I am just passionate about everyone learning all the time.
I want to help you, and my goal is to convince you why you need to keep learning and then give you some quick tips you maybe can use today.
Reasons why you have to learn now:
- There are people in your organization who are reading and studying, and you are not.
- They are going to take your job if you don’t keep up.
- Knowledge is a huge competitive advantage.
- You will be much more likely to get promoted.
- You will be much more motived and creative when you are exposing yourself to new ideas.
- I think you will be smarter and more thoughtful.
One note—if you have never liked to read that is OK, I am not judging you. Just listen to audio books or watch videos of the same topics online.
I am asking you to make a commitment learning now. I am also asking you to commit to nonfiction most of the time. You learn so much more than reading fiction.
Here are some techniques for finding time to read/learn:
- Cut back on TV. The average American watches 2.8 hours of T.V. a day. So one simple step is cut back on TV to one hour, buying yourself reading time. Besides reading new books is so much more interesting than a rerun of a stale show you have already seen.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to read and study. I have noticed an enormous percentage of highly successful people do that every day. Author Hal Elrod calls this “the morning miracle.”
- Read on your lunch break at work. I know you probably get lunch and take it back to your desk. Don’t! Find a quiet place and read at lunch.
- Planes and trains—whenever you are on a plane or a train pack something to read. Maximize your travel time.
- Learn in your car. If you have a commute in your car, listen to an audio of books in the car.
- Training programs. If your company has a training department, see what programs you can sign up for this year.
The reality is every year you need to be a different, better, improved version of you. So let the new you start today. You can do this!
Photo: Getty Images