Here is a quick list of ten reasons that you should read more.
Leaders are readers.
We know that.
But we often forget this all-important statement amid the insanity of our busy lives.
What are we missing by not taking the time to read?
Taking the time to read will (just to name a few):
- help you come up with new ideas
- provide your brain with exercise
- enable you to relax
- help you come up with conversation starters
Why we need to read more
Give you new ideas
It has been said that there is nothing new under the sun.
When I first began working at a shelter working with women and children experiencing homelessness, it would often happen that guests would come to “tell on” their roommate.
When I would talk with the roommate, the finger would point back to the accuser.
It was a struggle to figure out who to believe and how to get to the truth.
I had them go away for the night and told them to come to see me in the morning.
I was in the middle of reading Ivanhoe.
In the book, Robin Hood was facing the same sort of situation.
This wise leader of men asked the first one what punishment he should give his compatriot.
He then asked the other the same question.
Whatever the recommended punishment, Robin Hood gave it to the one who came up with it.
I tried it, and it was funny how quickly the stories changed.
Exercise your Brain
Like any other muscle, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.
Things like television, excessive time in front of screens, and other “mindless” tasks do not press your mind to work.
Reading forces your mind to work.
Read books that make you think.
Some studies show that consistent reading can slow down disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
This exercise just might be as important as physical exercise.
We were built for action, but life’s constant bombardment can wear you down.
Life moves rapidly from one stressful situation to another.
Stopping and reading can help your mind slow down and help your body relax.
Sit in the tub with candles lit and soft music playing, and let the world go by while you read about people with perfect lives with no difficulties.
For a moment, at least, you can relax and enjoy your life.
Sometimes, you simply need to get away.
You can take a trip to space or swim in the ocean when you read.
You can be free for a moment of all of life’s pressures.
I have discovered that in those moments, I often can come up with solutions to my most pressing problems.
The book does not give me the answers; it just helps me separate from my problem enough to clear my mind to new options.
Explore the opposing viewpoint
Coming from a northern state, when they taught us about the Civil War, the North was the good guys, and the South was evil.
They had no redeeming values or character traits.
Imagine my surprise when I read books written from a southern viewpoint.
All the battles had different names, and many of the heroes were people I would love to emulate.
I had lost out because I had only read half of the story.
Also, consider hot topic issues of our day.
Too many people are stuck with their own opinions and never explore the other’s side’s beliefs.
They often go to the wrong issues when they argue their point because they don’t know their enemy.
Interestingly, when we do some research, we may actually quit thinking of the opposition as the enemy.
If you are a leader, you exist to solve problems.
We know that there is nothing new under the sun, so it is likely that some other leader has had a similar problem.
This solution may come from an entirely different profession, so don’t get stuck only reading your industry’s materials.
There was an emergency room that improved its performance by studying a NASCAR pit crew.
You never know where your inspiration may come from.
Every once in a while, we simply need some inspiration in our lives.
Life is not always like the movies.
We don’t get to go from one adventure to the next without a taste of the mundane from time to time.
Often we are just stuck in the routine: breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, family time, and bed.
We need something in our lives that will inspire us and give us new excitement for life.
To experience an adventure with pirates or take part in a revolution on the pages of a book can be just what you need to get you up and going again.
I remember reading Born to Run and being inspired to get out and see just how far I could run.
I remember reading a book about Winston Churchill and deciding to take up public speaking.
Where will your books take you?
While book clubs are not as popular anymore, they can be a great opportunity to get folks to all read the same book and then talk about it.
Often in these conversations, you will discover things about your friends that would never have come up in natural conversations.
These don’t have to be formal.
I have a friend with whom I discuss whatever we read over lunch about once a month.
These are lively and fun conversations, and I have learned more about how his brain works than I would have learned in any other way.
Read a book with friends and then talk about it over dinner.
See what comes of it.
It has been said that if you read five books on any one topic, you are smarter on that topic than 95% of the world.
It is cool to be a subject expert.
Find a topic that fascinates you and dig in.
It won’t be long before you are wise beyond your years.
You might make some sense of history and come up with your own scientific theories.
Every once in a while, it feels as if life is simply letting you down and you feel kicked in the guts.
A good book can restore your hope in humanity or give you some unforeseen thought or encouragement.
Reading stories of others who have overcome depression or done great things can help you cope with your current situation.
Read more and open a good book today
Whatever your reason, dig in and find a good book.
Your local library is the greatest of resources.
Visit them today.
Share your favorite books with us in the comment section below.