Have you ever said or thought, “I don’t like to read”? I know I have. I thought that and repeated it often for years and years. I did not start that way. As a young boy I used to enjoy reading and going to the library with my mom or grandma, but somewhere along the way that changed. As I went further and further into my schooling and education I lost my enthusiasm for reading. By the time I graduated college I declared, “I will never read another book again.” Can you relate to this at all?
It has been my observation that the majority of adult Americans think and act like this. Some of the statistics at http://www.statisticbrain.com/reading-statistics/ support this observation:
56% of young people read 10 books per year
33% of US high school graduates will never read another book after high school
42% of college graduates will never read another book after college
80% of US families do not even buy one book per year
70% of adults have not been in a book store in the past five years
Those are some pretty convicting statistics, but even with knowing things like that I still did not instantly become a reader. The odds are pretty good that most everyone who reads this blog post does not consider their self a “reader”. A mentor of mine shared a statement that was very convicting.
Think about it. There are BILLIONS of people who do not know how to read who would give so much to have the ability to read and transfer information through written word, but millions and millions of adult Americans waste this incredible gift we have been given because of our freedom, wealth, and education we enjoy in America.
I think it is pretty safe to say that way too many Americans are squandering an incredible gift. Why is that? I believe there are two reasons.
#1 The education system beats the enjoyment of reading and learning out of us.
Now I realize many of you reading this are probably involved in the education system. I was too. I was a teacher and a coach at a college preparatory school for six year. The issue is not education nor is it educators. We need education and educators. The issue is the education system. I think most everyone would agree that our education system could use some improvement. As a former teacher I have seen myself and so many other former colleagues leave that profession due to their frustrations with the system. Think about how 56% of young people read 10 books per year, but by the time the GRADUATE high school 33% of them will NEVER READ ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN!
#2 We are not reading things we are interested in.
By the time I graduated college I associated reading with studying and essay writing. It took three years from the time I graduated college until my wife finally got me to read a book. Let me tell you something about that one book. It changed my life. It helped me see and understand something profound.
The book that completely changed my life was Positive Impact by Gregory Scott Reid. It is an incredibly short easy read. Most people can read it cover to cover in less than two hours. I learned many life changing principles from that book, but one important lesson I learned was reading could help me get where I wanted in life. The key is reading the right kinds of books.
Did you know the average CEO reads ONE BOOK PER WEEK? That sounds like a lot to most people, but there is nothing average about being a CEO. In the professional arena being a CEO is an incredible accomplishment. One simple truth I have known for a long time is Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. Now I am not suggesting you should start reading one book per week (although that would greatly change and improve your life). However I am suggesting that you start moving towards that goal.
Why do CEOs and other successful people read so much? It is a simple answer. We understand that reading will help us get where we want to be in life. Reading GOOD BOOKS is one of the fastest ways to gain wisdom and knowledge. Think about it. That author may have dedicated 10 or more years of his or her life to learning and researching the material in a book he or she writes. You and I can gain the benefit of all that wisdom and experience in just a few hours of our time to read that book. That is an awesome exchange.
Once I understood that reading could help me get where I wanted to be in life I quickly became a voracious reader. I have been averaging one book per month for the past six years. It has blessed and enriched my life in so many areas. Almost anything you read in any of my blog posts is a result of knowledge and wisdom I gained from other authors and leaders. I love when I am mentoring a leader and they read a book only to come back to me and say, “That is where you learned that idea you always talk about.”
Because I made the simple decision to read good books regularly I have become a better husband to my wife. I know I will be a way better father. I am in better physical health. I have a much stronger faith. I have better friendships. My wife and I have used our knowledge and wisdom through reading to build a business that literally pays us 12 times my former teaching and coaching salary. Those are some significant results. My question for you is this, “What if you adopted the simple discipline of reading 10 pages per day EVERY day and you looked three to five years from now and you were exactly where you want to be in life? Would it be worth the 10 minutes per day it requires to read just 10 pages per day?” It is easy to do and easy not to do. The decision is yours.
Question: What is the most impactful book you have ever read? Comment below