Leaders Are Readers — 4 Reasons Why Reading Promotes Success!
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ~ Anna Quindlen
Books reveal the full range of human experience like nothing else does. You’d have to live hundreds of years to experience, in person, what you can experience by reading books. Great leaders have long known and used this “secret” to their advantage. Yes, leaders are readers.
Even if you’re not a born reader, you can learn to love to read. It starts with mindfully feeling gratitude for the privilege to read. There was a time that owning a book was impossible. Before the printing press (known as the Dark Ages) people had to depend on public readings. They were truly dark ages intellectually, politically, economically and so forth. Books brought enlightenment.
Now people take books for granted. And that can give those who desire leadership roles an advantage! There’s a world of wisdom just waiting for you within books that many are missing. In fact, with the current world situation, many of us are spending more time at home. This is a great opportunity to keep your mind and heart open by reading.
Why leaders are readers
To clarify, reading in and of itself, is not the key to their success. Their success lies in how they read. They don’t read passively or mindlessly. They become fully engaged with what they read, so they can extract what’s useful to them. Here’s how you can develop the same skills and benefits…
1. Reading helps you relate to all sorts of people.
Understand life situations you’ve never experienced. Reading novels, biographies, and memoirs are ways to walk in someone else’s shoes and learn about human nature. Put yourself in their place and mindfully reflect on how you would react to the situations described. Maybe you’re repulsed; use it to reinforce your values. Maybe you’re uplifted; this gives insight on how to uplift others. In time, your self-knowledge deepens and your sense of empathy and compassion for others grows.
Find common ground with those outside your comfort zone. You may never meet some of the great thinkers or great “stinkers” of the world, but you can learn from what’s written by them and about them. As you examine their thoughts, you compare it to what you already know, so you get a new point of view. Even if you don’t agree, it opens up to you how they think and why they think that way, so you can understand them better.
Employ the power of words. Words are like ingredients in a recipe. Put them together skillfully and you’ll be able to communicate precisely and with influence. Thoughtlessly use them and you might create an explosion! So read with a view to expanding your vocabulary; specifically look for words that clarify and touch the emotions.
2. Reading improves your analytic abilities.
Know something about subjects inside and outside your wheelhouse. Gathering a lot of general information will broaden your perspective. For example, you might be a nutritionist who is concerned about health, but you won’t stop there. You’ll also examine information about the global natural world — the state of the rain forests and oceans, climate and weather, floral and fauna. You’ll also read seemingly unrelated topics. Quite often you’ll find that that “irrelevant information” ties in with what you’re doing. It may even lead you to a new passion or opportunities.
Keep a mental “database” of knowledge. The world is full of fake news, but if you’re well-read you’ll have a diverse base of information from which you can determine the accuracy of a statement or not. Being able to see things from all sides, will improve your problem-solving skills and enhances your judgment.
3. Reading engages all of your senses and improves your memory.
Use your imagination. As you read, imagine the scene. What would it smell like? What would you hear? Feel? See? How would it effect your emotions? Our imagination let’s us live what’s on the page and these things stick in our brains. At some future time, they’ll cross your mind at just the right moment so you can make a brilliantly intuitive decision. And it may protect you from dementia, too.
4. Reading lowers stress.
Lose yourself in your book. When you’re engrossed in a story you can escape for a little while and allow your body to relax. More than that, when you’re actively engaged, it can put you “in the zone,” from which your deep center of creativity springs.
I have made reading an important part of my life and I can distinctly see how it has shaped my leadership skills. Here are some books I’d recommend. If you want to be a leader, become the best reader you can be. It’s one of the surest ways to develop outstanding leadership qualities.