So, you are on a business trip to London and the person sitting next to you asks you two questions.
“Excuse me please, when was the last time you brushed your teeth?!” He waits for your response but you are still in shock. So he goes on with the next question.
“Did you have your bath this morning?!” At this point, I am sure you’d be thinking already, “How dare you!” That’s if you have not said it out loud already…lol. I expect you to be totally flushed actually. You will probably go to the restroom to examine yourself properly to be sure there’s nothing wrong with you…lol.
Well, that’s exactly what happens when you neglect your mental development. Your mind begins to lose value and other leaders will notice it. It begins to show in the quality of your conversations and leadership results. The personal culture of reading quality and relevant books every day is a must-have if you will remain relevant as a leader.
But this is difficult to achieve when you are raised in a culture that does not encourage reading. Africans are culturally not driven by learning and research, people rarely immerse themselves in good books. They don’t stimulate their brains with deep, close and careful reading. In other words, they are lazy about reading no wonder we depend on others to solve our own problems.
As a young leader, this doesn’t have to be you. You have to take personal responsibility to develop a sustainable reading habit. It all starts with a genuine desire to become a better version of yourself and get better results in your life.
Here’s why you need to find a good book and start reading immediately:
To Gain Valuable Exposure
The first thing books will do is to open you up to new possibilities about yourself and the world. As you read great books, you share in the authors’ experiences. You travel to great places, discover new cultures and meet with new varieties of people. These exposures will give you a broader view of the world and how you can fit in. You are better equipped to make excellent choices in your life. Many people have made great lifestyle changes because of the life lessons they learnt from books.
To Increase Your Mental Productivity
Your reading culture shapes your thinking as a leader. And the quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life. You must exercise care and selection in the types of books you read because it determines your results. Also, reading quality books activates your imagination. Your mind is better equipped to produce ideas and solution to problems. Reading a book takes you beyond where you are and you gain the wisdom of a sage without going through all their personal experiences which might well be unpleasant. So, you can always draw on those experiences to solve problems in your space.
To develop a Sense of Purpose
Reading healthy books helps you develop a healthy perspective on life and work. You share in other people’s experiences, passions and interests. And as you read carefully with empathy, you begin to expand your world view. You get inspired by stories of how others were able to take on life with its challenges thereby making the world a better place for themselves and for others. Some books will be so dramatic that your life will never remain the same. Reading, then, is an adventure in discovery which eventually brings you clarity of purpose so that you know exactly how you want to contribute to making the world a better place.
To unleash your leadership potential
There’s a leader in everyone. But the reason why it seems that young people are not taking up leadership responsibilities is that they have not discovered their leadership potentials. When you are committed to reading books as a culture, you will learn about yourself and the environment. Armed with this information, you can now skillfully deploy yourself to solve the problems in your environment. Reading quality books will make you a dynamic leader. And the best leadership posture is the learning posture. So, you can use reading to discover and fuel your leadership potentials.
To sharpen your communication skills
Reading healthy books will boost your communication skills. We develop strong English vocabulary, writing skills and creative imagination because we are forced to think like the authors whose books we read. And as your vocabulary grows, the wider the scope and the deeper the penetration of your thinking. Your capacity for knowledge and understanding is enlarged making it possible for you to understand others and to communicate clearly and succinctly.
The best time to start nurturing this habit is now. Just look for a good book and start reading immediately. You can start with as little as one book per month. As you begin to reap the benefits, your appetite for books will increase and so will your consumption rate. Don’t stop until reading becomes an everyday culture. The same way brushing and bathing keeps your body in shape, reading quality materials also keeps your mind in shape for better results. Readers are leaders and leaders read!
If you have some additional tips or advice to share, we’d be glad to hear from you. Kindly share in the comment section below.