During my lectures, I always stress the importance of reading.
"Readers are leaders!" is a popular battle cry during my talks. Why? Because reading great books will expand your mind and ultimately give you total confidence. Personal confidence is to effectiveness what business confidence is to economic growth. Increase it and you will grow, thrive and attract others into your life.
When I advocate reading, I'm referring to books that help you understand how the world works. They could be business, technology, self-help, history, bio, psychology or even spiritual books. In many cases, these books help you see, visualize and become comfortable with the future. In many cases, they give you reasons to relax, believe in yourself and find opportunity with change.
Many of us don't read many books, though. We read Twitter, the newspaper, magazines, blogs — all at the expense of reading a book. Books are much richer, deeper and have an arc that usually leads to insights for the reader. Also, surfing around reading will often fill your head with negative confidence-killing thoughts. The social stream and web world is highly unpredictable, and often it will feed you poison when you need a dose of inspiration.
You need to feed your mind good stuff. You do that with a reading plan.
Here's the plan: Read or re-read two books a month.
Every month, read one book that helps you understand how YOUR world is changing: business to life. You can also read a book that helps those you spend time with understand how the world is changing. This way, you can give the gift of knowledge — a gift a book to a bizmate.
For myself, this month's biz read is Twitter Power. I need to understand more about social media, and its new darling Twitter (follow me). So far, I'm learning a great deal from it and it relates to my business as a speaker and author.
Also, read or re-read a book every month that inspires you or nurtures your positive outlook. This will nourish your point of view, offsetting much of the media dribble you absorb daily. Often, you'll need to re-read these types of books several times for their messages to sink in.
This month, I'm re-reading Norman Vincent Peale's classic: The Power Of Positive Thinking. I'm already getting fresh insight from his chapter on prayer power. I've read the book three times already, but each take gives me value.
You might say, "I don't have time for reading, I'm busy!". Yeah, you are busy reading the wrong material! If you are a frequent web user, tweeter, blogger or email reader — you consume the equivalent of an entire book every week, in some cases every few days. Cut out some of that time, and replace it with scheduled reading. Have one of the two books you are reading near you at all times, especially down times such as travel, waiting room, lunch, etc.
You found time to work out. You found time to blog. You found time to Tweet. You can find time to read books. Trust me, the system works. When I cut back on my book reading plan (projects, writing new book, etc.) I always felt myself shrinking. If you wan't to add to your personal resume, and be the Phoenix instead of Chicken Little — be a book worm not a web rat!