“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman
Things are different now.
In a good way.
It is no longer about brute strength, massive budgets and ancient methods (hasn’t been for a while now).
Now, the focus is on knowledge, innovation, thoughtfulness: brain power.
Does this mean that you have to be a genius to succeed?
It just means that you have to be willing to ABL – “Always Be Learning”.
This is why I spend HUNDREDS of dollars a month on digital products.
This is why I consume every blog post, every video and every PDF that I can.
But most importantly, this is why the LIBRARY has become my best friend.
I have a bone to pick with the IM world – there is a massive lack of application of the incredibly rich body of knowledge that “old timers” posses.
IMers are so focused on the next “shiny object” that basic business fundamentals are often ignored – at the massive expense of those marketers too arrogant to acknowledge that they could stand to learn a thing or two from people with 7-figure companies.
I am massively guilty of this myself – and have spent the past few months trying to make that change – to a more solid, reliable and REAL company.
Don’t get confused – I am not talking about reverting to the “old way” of overpriced advertising and pitiful ROIs.
I am talking about stepping away from “quick cash” ideas and moving towards “brandable companies”.
I am talking about learning how to build so much trust that your client hands you the keys to his house (Dan Kennedy’s house repair guy has keys to his house, keys to his vault and a garage door opener – talk about trust).
Learning to rank sites is nice – but learning how to turn someone into a LIFELONG customer is better.
Read books from the library.
Let’s be honest – there isn’t much of a barrier to entry for most digital products. You don’t have to stand before an editor to defend your ideas, you don’t have a team of lawyers breathing down your neck making sure all your income claims are legit so they don’t get sued and it costs you next to nothing to have it produced – mediocre sells in the digital work.
In the print world however…
You will have a damn tough time making a living slinging crappy ideas and false claims.
Books that have made it to print and ended up in a public library are typically (with very, very, very rare exception) worth a read and most often written by people with REAL business experience – people with established 7-figure companies.
So, why aren’t you reading more?
I set a goal for myself this year to read at least 100 pages a day of non-fiction, work related books.
I have managed to achieve it – but it has been HARD.
Think about what I know now though.
I have read books on everything from financial planning to fringe hypnosis and deep psychology to “how to write fiction” books.
My approach to choosing what to read?
I made a list of all the “super-powers” that I wanted to posses and went to library to find out how to get them.
Think about what YOU would know if you did that same thing!
I want to share with you a few tips and tricks that I have picked up in my epic journey of knowledge acquisition. Follow these simple tips, set some goals and learn more than you ever thought possible:
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan
Power Reading Tip #1 – Set Super-Power Goals
Frame your goals to answer this question first:
“What do I want to be able to do?”
I picked up this tip from a blog post that I can’t remember reading – but the point is this:
Look at your skillset in the same way that a Super Hero might view their Super-Powers. What Super-Powers do you want? What Super-Powers would allow you to live the EXACT life that you want to live?
Possible answers might be:
“Become financially independent.”
“Design my own website.”
“Get 5,000 subscribers on my list.”
“Talk to anyone and get them to like me.”
Whatever those Super-Powers might be that you are craving – books have been written about them – and QUALITY books with REAL solutions too.
When you think about it in those terms, you become the power in the information relationship. Most of the time you consume knowledge that is placed before you.
You get emails saying, “This is the next bright and shiny thing.”
Or you watch TV commercials that say, “You need to be like this.”
etc., etc., etc.
The most powerful aspect to reading books is that it allows YOU to control your information intake and it allows YOU to become what YOU want to be – NOT what others want you to become.
Power Reading Tip #2 – Set Page Count Goals
Don’t even bother with time based goals for reading.
Saying, “I will read for 30 minutes everyday” is the same thing as saying, “I will read for 5 minutes and then lurk on Facebook for 25 minutes on my iPad.”
Framing your goals in terms of page counts means – “I will read until I am finished.”
I set a high goal for myself – 100 pages per day – but I have high goals for my life as well and I understand that books are the way that I am going to get where I want to go.
You can set something more reasonable.
The average person reads at a rate between 200 words per minute and 400 words per minute. A typical page in a book is between 300 and 500 words per page.
I usually figure 1 page per minute and I can recall about 80% of what I just read (if I focus).
My goal usually takes me about 90 minutes a day. Just 1.5 hours a day and I can cruise through 2 – 3 books a week.
Think about all the stuff that is crammed inside my tiny little brain…
It is that 90 minutes every day that allows me to command the consulting fees that I can. It is that 90 minutes a day that allows me to sit down with my team and come up with massive solutions to massive problems.
I am not a genius – I just read. You can do this too.
Power Reading Tip #3 – Break Up The Monotony
The worst advice I ever read about learning to read more was this:
“Only read one book at a time.”
That is just terrible, wretched, outdated and useless advice.
It completely ignores the subconscious mind’s talent and ability.
It also ignores the MASSIVE amount of college students who regularly read 3 – 12 books AT A TIME for 10 weeks straight (at least that was my reading load + articles).
If you have a goal like mine – to read 100 pages a day – you HAVE to break up the monotony somehow. I never read all 100 pages from a single book in a single day.
Don’t underestimate your subconscious mind. Some of the best advice I ever received about innovation came from an exercise I pulled from a book called Immediate Fiction.
The author suggest that in order to come up with your best ideas – meditate for a while, do some reading, think for a second and then go do something mechanical and tedious. Your best ideas will be formed in the subconscious and make their way up to reality when you turn the rest of your brain off.
This is what I do:
I read and read. Jot down a few notes and ponder for a second. Then I go for a really long run.
When I come back from those runs I usually head straight for the white-board – because my little subconscious mind has been working overtime and has come up with some really brilliant stuff.
I have probably made more money running than doing anything else
But this is why I read at least 2 books at a time.
When I used to do this exercise whilst reading one book at a time – the majority of the ideas or thoughts that came to me ended up sounding a lot like the author of the book that I was reading. I was only feeding my brain that single source of information and it could only come up with stuff based off of what I was giving it.
Now, I read two or more books at a time.
They are almost always related in some way.
For example, right now I am reading a book on building trust through communication techniques, a book on persuasion and a book on writing technique and form. When I get back from a run, or wake up in the morning or am taking a shower – most of the ideas that my subconscious spits out look like copywriting ideas – but they are brand new and original.
My subconscious has made connections for me between the books, between the ideas and between the author’s influence.
I am not a genius remember. You could do this too.
This is how I was able to pull information from a book on how to write fiction and apply it to running my company and coming up with innovative ideas.
I didn’t actively “think” this – my subconscious did.
Power Reading Tip #4 – Destroy Your Distractions
This should be #1.
This tip extends beyond just reading, but I didn’t start doing this until I realized how much time I was wasting and how much I was losing by NOT reading.
Are you ready for this tip?
You are gonna hate it.
STOP WATCHING SO MUCH DAMN TV!
The average American spends a crippling 34 hours a week watching TV.
That is another full-time job!
If you only read for 90 minutes everyday – 100 pages per day – 2 to 3 books a week – you would still only be reading for 10.5 hours a week! Less than a third of the time you probably are spending watching TV!
Now, this isn’t going to be a rant about how damaging TV is. I don’t believe it is all bad and I am certainly not saying to stop watching TV altogether.
I am saying that you need to take advantage of technology to make your life BETTER – not worse.
Cutting back ain’t easy.
I love TV.
I love movies.
But I doubt anyone was ever laying on their deathbed saying, “Geeze, if only I had watched more TV.”
Here is how (thanks to my wife) I was able to cut back TV watching and replace it with book reading:
Step #1 – Pick Your Favorite Shows
Watch your own TV watching behavior and you will shock yourself.
We spend more time watching shows that we hadn’t planned on watching, than actually watching the shows we want to watch.
So, if you want to cut back on the TV watching hours, make a list of the shows that you really actually like. You might be surprised at how few there actually are.
To help make this list, just ask yourself this:
“Do I really need to watch it?”
It is ok to answer yes to a few shows.
I NEED to watch Parks and Rec. I admit it. I love that show.
I NEED to watch the 5:30 News. I admit it. I love news.
Do I need to watch Community? No.
Make that list and try to make it as short as possible – we are talking about the difference between being successful and just being another mediocre American wasting away in front of the TV.
Step #2 – Find Them Online
Do you know how long a single episode of Parks and Rec actually is?
About 22 minutes – sometimes only 18 minutes.
Why do I need to site through nearly 10 minutes of commercials (10 pages worth of reading time) when I can just watch it on HULU? Or Netflix?
It literally doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Take that list of yours and find those shows online. Cut your cable bill, save time and get reading.
Step #3 – Remember Your Goals
Remember that you are sacrificing mindlessness for mindfulness by replacing TV with reading.
Do you think that Steve Jobs watched 34 hours a week of TV?
Do you think it mattered to them that they might not know the latest happenings on the latest trashy shows?
I would bet not.
Start reading. Right now.
Turn off your computer. Put your iPad away. I know you are just going to check Facebook anyway.
Get out a book.
Don’t have one? Go to your library.
Don’t have a library card? Get one. They are free for crying out loud (at least everywhere I have ever lived they are).
Don’t have libraries where you live? Get a kindle – they are $70 bucks. Pay $79 to become an Amazon Prime member and start borrowing your butt off, reading, learning and growing.
The day you start reading is the day you start growing.
To Your Success,