Success Starts Early - Reading
I never enjoyed reading when I was younger. Why? Because I'm extremely competitive and my brother was better at it. That's right, I don't like doing things if I'm not able to be the best at it. My older brother could finish huge novels over a weekend, but I always seemed to fall asleep or get distracted whenever I tried to read for more than 5 minutes at a time. Imagine how I felt when one of my mentors told me that the saying "readers are leaders" was true!
I remember my dad handing me the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki when I was heading back to college after a weekend at home. When I told him I didn't really like to read, he suggested that the alternative was to "stay stupid". As someone who had gotten out of high school early and had already finished an associate degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA before the age of 18, that caught my attention. Clearly my dad did not question my ability to think, but he knew something I hadn't learned - the person who can't read and the person who won't read are essentially the same, except one does it to his/herself on purpose.
There is a mountain of scientific proof that the process of reading improves how the mind works, but even more important are the countless real-life examples of how reading has improved lives. Reading fiction develops our creativity and imagination. Reading biographies and history gives us guidance from the smartest and most successful individuals of all time. Reading self-help points us toward techniques and strategies to improve our own lives. Reading Scripture gives us the most important answers of life and what's beyond. Reading professional and scholarly articles keep us informed of the latest advances in our world.
Practically everything you want to learn can be found between the pages of a book. Modern technology even allows for e-books and audio books, so there are literally no excuses not to read! Nearly every town has a public library so that the price is always right to get started on developing a solid reading habit. If you cannot find the mentor you need in an important area of life, you can be sure that a good book can make you a student of the greatest teachers our world has seen. Even if you start small, I would encourage you to start today!
Get a library card, if you don't have one already, and go find a single book of no more than 150 pages. Set a goal to read for at least 10 minutes in the morning, and then 10 more minutes before bed. Do it as many days in a row as you can, but don't punish yourself if you miss once or twice. When you finish your book, go check out two more (without missing a day!) and keep going. Before a month is up you'll have started a good habit and will have probably completed 4-5 books. That's as many as half of all Americans will read all year - you will have already passed up 160 million people in just 30 days!
My personal recommendations on good starting points are the teaching stories of Og Mandino (especially his so-called "Great Trilogy"), the devotionals of Max Lucado, or nearly any short biography of American Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, or Samuel Adams.