Henry Ford once said “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” As we delve in to a New Year, why not stay young and make 2015 one of the most successful years of your life? The concept of reading and surrounding yourself with those you can learn from is not new, yet few people make it a priority. If it’s easy to do, it’s just as easy not to do. Here are few tips on how you can get it done.
“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
– Abraham Lincoln
If there were a single key to success, reading would certainly be a candidate to take the title. Yet for such a powerful tool, many people still don’t utilize it. A few reasons why:
- You make time for what is valuable, so make reading a priority.
- Start simple – 10 pages a day can make a world of difference. (Assuming the average book is 250 pages, that equals over 14 books in a year)
- Utilize audio books. Even the busiest individuals have a commute to work. Whether you walk, drive or take the train, utilizing audio books is a great way to use the time you already have to learn.
What to Read:
The most frustrating comment is “I don’t know what to read.” I can only speak from experience but the books that have helped me the most have fallen in to these categories: business, finance, history, and introspection or self-help. While it’s great to mix in a fun fiction book, these don’t always translate to personal and professional growth.
A good way to fill up the list of books you will read in 2015 is to find 5 individuals you respect or admire and ask them the last 3 books they’ve read or their 3 favorite books ever. Here are the last four that I read.
- “The Slight Edge” – Jeff Olson
- “Pitch Anything” – Oren Klaff
- “MONEY Master the Game” – Tony Robbins
- “It’s About Time” – Mark Matteson
Have Some Fun:
- Take book recommendations to the next level. If you love a book, purchase a copy on Amazon and have it sent to a friend you think will benefit from reading it.
- Start your own book club. I have been in a two-person book club with a friend from college since we graduated. We can learn even more by sharing our perspectives on the book.
- Make yourself accountable. Share a Google Drive document with friends and update it daily with what you are reading and how much you have read. This is a fun method for goals, including but not limited to push ups as my friends can attest.
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” – Phil Collins
Mentorship is one of the most underrated tools in business, both for individuals and mentors. To me, a good mentor is someone I respect, has values and beliefs similar to my own, and is fun to be around. Not sure who fits the bill? Here’s where I’ve had some luck finding mentors:
- Family – Whether it’s your parents or an extended family member, this is a great place to start when looking for mentors. Even if the success of this individual did not come in the industry you are in, they will have valuable lessons you can learn from.
- Peers/Friends – Chances are 10% of your friends right now are doing great. They enjoy their jobs, they are growing as professionals, and they always look like they are having fun. We all are on social media so we know who they are. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.
- Extended Friends – Depending on your age, you start to realize that your friend’s parents or siblings are living fulfilling and successful lives. Plus they already know you!
- Boss – Whether it’s your direct report or someone else in your company, they have experience in your industry that can help you skip a lot of the mistakes they made along the way.
- Networking – Know your industry in and out, and when you’re networking people are going to lean on you for your expertise. Find the executives who you think you can learn the most from and match up.
While none of this is groundbreaking knowledge to a lot of us, use 2015 as a fresh start to completely immerse yourself in your own education. Watch the results add up in all of the aspects of your life and help some others learn along the way. Imagine the successes that lie ahead in 2016 and beyond with all your newfound knowledge.