Although my blog is called Success on the Far Side of Fifty all of the principles and ideas I talk about can apply to any stage of life. However I feel that there are a whole bunch of folks out there who are just like me. People who are over 50 and still feel their best years are in front of them.
While the definition of success can vary from person to person there are many habits that are shared among successful people regardless of their field of expertise.
In today’s post I am talking about the 1 simple success habit that is shared among all self-made succesful people.
Not one self-made person has ever reached the pinnacle of their field without a burning desire to learn and improve. If you want to be the best in your field you have to work at it, if you want to be second best in your field you have to work at it, if you want to be in the top 100 of your field you have to work at it and if you just want to get better at something you still have to work at it.
As a coach, speaker, business owner and entrepreneur I have to be committed to learning. This commitment to learning is one of the habits that I share with the best of the best across the planet.
If you want more success try this 1 simple success habit
It is said that Warren Buffet spends hours every day reading, click HERE to hear Warren say it in his own words. Microsoft founder Bill gates dedicates a full week a year to reading and Mr. Gates says that he gets many of his best ideas from reading.
But it isn’t just Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who read a lot. Mark Zuckerberg reads a book every two weeks, billionaire Mark Cuban reads three hours every day and Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey are both avid readers.
According to an article in Business Insider called “9 things rich people do and don’t do every day” (click here to read it) 88% of successful people spend at least 30 minutes per day reading for self-improvement. That compares to just 2% of poor people.
In fact Steve Siebold, self-made millionaire and author of “How Rich People Think” interviewed more than 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people and discover that a large percentage of them self-educate by reading.
Steve is quoted as saying “Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves to become more successful. The middle class reads novels, tabloids, and entertainment magazines.”
If you want to watch a compelling video about reading check out Tai Lopez’s great Ted Talk here.
But reading isn’t enough, if you are truly committed to improving your life you need to read the right things. In his book “Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” Thomas C Corley explains that wealthy people do not read for entertainment, they read to learn. For more information check out his book here.
For more success you have to look at reading as education rather than entertainment.
Although I am nowhere near this elite group of people (yet) I subscribe to a simple theory; if you want to become more successful you need to do what successful people do, if you want to stop being unsuccessful stop doing the things unsuccessful people do.
Not exactly earth shattering but powerful none the less.
Most succesful people read daily for self-improvement, less succesful people either don’t read at all or they read for entertainment.
How to enhance your learning.
To further clarify my earlier point, succesful people read for education. From my perspective this means taking things further than just reading.
The word education a
lso implies a degree of understanding.
Needless to say I am an avid reader, but I don’t just read books, I abuse them. I put tags all over the pages, I write in the margins and I highlight the heck out of them and I take notes. I don’t just read books I try to understand the ideas and concepts and learn to use them.
The moral of the story is; if you want a book back don’t lend it to me.
This picture is my copy of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I describe it as being a decent book with several great ideas.as you can see I have about 40 tags on the book and about 100 ideas
that I have highlighted for future reference, this is typical of a book once I am done with it. The point here is that I take my time with a book, my goal is to wring out as much knowledge as I can and that takes time.
Just like the super wealthy people who Steve interviewed my main objective of reading isn’t entertainment, my main goal is learning. In fact that the vast majority of my coaching program is based upon the information read on a wide variety of subjects including lean management, neurology, psychology, business management and leadership. Of course I enjoy reading which makes it an added bonus for me.
After I read a book I go through all of my tagged and highlighted areas and write down the key points. After that I do a Google search and search up other people’s book notes, (you would be amazed at how many people put their book notes on-line). Comparing other people notes to my own allows me to get someone else’s perspective on the important aspects of a book. If you want to check out a list of great book notes check out Derek’sSivers book notes here.
Derek has taken the time to pick out about 200 great books and created very extensive book notes on them. Following my philosophy of copying the things that successful people do I am going to be posting some of my book notes as well as links to others. My notes are not as detailed as Derek’s, I don’t try to nail every key point, rather I attempt to capture the top 5 points that resonated with me.
Once I have completed my notes I electronically file them by title so I can review them quickly and easily at a later date. Taking the time to review the books also aids in learning. An old business professor of mine claimed that spending just five minutes per day glancing over notes increases learning by 85%.
Use your knowledge
But there is one more thing that really successful people do, that most of us don’t. Successful people put what they know into action. Learning is not good enough, for knowledge to be useful you have to apply it.
As the Derek Sivers once said, “if knowledge was enough everyone would be a billionaire with perfect abs.”
Knowledge simply isn’t enough. You must take that knowledge to action.
Right now I am guessing I have about 1,000 books in my library and I am always buying more and at some point I will have to sort through them and eliminate the less impactful ones.
If you want more success on the far side of fifty you should consider the following key points;
- For more success spend more time reading,
- Look at reading as education rather than entertainment,
- Find ways to enhance your learning (such as underlining, taking notes and review),
- You must find ways to use your knowledge
So there you have it, my perspective on reading and a high level overview of how I go about it.
What about you? Are you dedicated to reading and learning? If you have been following my posts for any length of time I am going to bet that you are.
As always thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or sign up to get my weekly blog delivered directly to your inbox.
Have a fantastic week.