How the Reading Habit Can Change Your Life

How the Reading Habit Can Change Your Life
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How much do you read?

Some of the most knowledgeable and successful people in the world – be it Bill Gates or Warren Buffett – have voracious appetites for learning and reading, a quality easily acquired by just about anyone.

But can the reading habit really change you life? If so, how?

You’ll Separate Yourself from “the Pack”

The Washington Post says leisure reading in the U.S. is at an all-time low. It fell from an average of 23 minutes per day in 2004 to 17 minutes per day in 2017.

In 2021, Pew Research Center said 23% of American adults didn’t read a book in whole or in part in the last year.

While some of the time people used to spend on reading has been swallowed up by audiobooks and podcasts, the truth remains that most people spend roughly five to eight hours per day in front of a screen, playing a video game or watching their favorite entertainment programming.

If you adopt the reading habit, replacing a mere 30 minutes per day of screen time with reading a business or personal development book, you can instantly separate yourself from the pack. Down the line, the knowledge you gain can lead to better career and business opportunities.

You’ll Stimulate More Worthwhile Ideas

Reading Horizons At-Home says reading stimulates an area of the brain known as the occipital lobe. This is the part of the brain that processes visual information. Stimulating this part of the brain can expand your imagination and help you think more creatively.

It has been my experience that reading, even when I’m tired, helps me enter a flow state. In that state, new ideas seem to flow effortlessly. Even if I’m reading on a subject that has nothing to do with the problem I’m looking to solve, I still end up with a page full of fresh ideas to implement in my creative work.

Reading may feel like work, but that’s because it is. As Ryan Holiday puts it, it’s an “important work,” and it should be prioritized if you want to generate more worthwhile ideas.

You’ll Become an Expert on a Topic

An overwhelming number of people believe becoming an expert is hard. They believe it’s primarily about earning multiple doctorates and awards in their chosen field.

But how useful is an expert that doesn’t have any practical, real-world experience? How useful is an expert that doesn’t continually upgrade and update their knowledge to reflect changes in science and technology?

This isn’t to disparage educational pursuits. But it does underscore the importance of ongoing self-education.

Further, one can become an expert entirely on the knowledge they’ve gained from reading and experience they’ve gained from real-world application.

Motivational speaker Earl Nightingale believed that if you studied on a specific subject for an hour per day, you could become an expert in a year. Having adopted this habit, author Dan Kennedy said he became a well-recognized and very well-paid industry expert in just three years.

Final Thoughts

Reading may appear tedious, boring, “like work.” But it’s hard to overstate the benefits gained from adopting the habit. Begin reading, even if it’s just for 15 minutes per day, and watch as you start to generate more ideas. Observe as you begin to embrace new ideas and habits that improve your life in every way.

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