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If You Want to Lead, You Need to Read

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A common habit that extraordinary achievers, leaders, and CEOs seem to share is the habit of reading regularly. They find time to read books despite being busy with their regular activities and tasks. Bill Gates admits, “I had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.” Reading makes leaders. And reading makes people smart and wise. It makes them more aware and better equipped to achieve their goals and objectives. Here are innumerable advantages associated with reading. 

  • It engages your mind constructively. It keeps your mind away from troubles and takes you to an imaginative world.
  • It decreases your stress and provides you peace of mind. It removes negative thoughts from your mind and replaces them with positive thoughts. 
  • You update your knowledge, skills, and abilities. You get inspired by the books. They help you become a complete individual by equipping you with several qualities, traits, and practices. 
  • Reading is an active mental process that improves your concentration and focus. It improves memory, vocabulary, discipline, and creativity. It builds mental associations, improves reasoning skills, and enhances conceptual skills.
  • It helps you understand the realities of life and become pragmatic. It helps you explore uncharted paths. It opens the window to the outside world. You get respected by your community and society.

Stephen King touched the right chord when he said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” You can learn by yourself with little investment. Precisely, books provide you with self-motivation and help you dream big.

Research suggests that reading can work as a serious stress-buster. A 2009 study by Sussex University researchers showed that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68 percent. “It doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” 

Here are some tips to make reading a lifetime habit

  • Read the newspaper every day. 
  • Read blogs, online magazines, and journals in your area of interest. 
  • Discuss what you read with your peers. Their knowledge and information will push you to verify and know more, and you will end up reading more.
  • Carry a book whenever you travel.  Else you have the app to download e-books which are accessible over mobile.
  • Start with 30 minutes a day, to be dedicated to reading. During those 30 minutes do not do anything else. Switch off anything that might distract. Read and analyze what you have read. Form an opinion.
  • Avoid reading just for the sake of reading because you may end up developing an aversion to reading forever.  Hence, read books in your area of interest.  
  • Think of a situation when you have read a book till about a few decent pages. 

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

I am a bookworm

I have read quite a few books during my lifetime. I was a book reviewer for the Human Resource Management International Digest of an Emerald journal and received many books to review. I get lots of books from eminent international thought leaders. I read and post reviews on Amazon. I purchase many books and read. Additionally, I read a lot of online content. Reading is a daily activity for me. There is not a single day in my life when I slept without reading and writing.  Whenever I commute I carry a book with me to read and use my time. I am a passionate reader with a heart to share my knowledge with others. 

I always remember the best thing about traveling is to help myself with a book. Whenever there is enough time to board the train, I would stand at a book stall in the railway station and surf through the book titles. The same happened when I had to take a flight. The in-flight time is dedicated to reading. I had the practice of stopping by the road whenever I spotted books being sold on the footpaths in India. I have loved books since childhood.

Reading the newspaper is an old habit for me. Although there is a shift to digital newspapers currently, I still enjoy reading print editions.  It keeps me updated with current developments globally. I also read the news online regularly.

Over to you!

Reading books can change your life. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi was inspired by several books including John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. He borrowed his principles from this book. Most successful leaders from history are voracious readers. Leaders including Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt read books widely. Research shows that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month. Research further shows that successful entrepreneurs read for an average of 2.6 hours per day. It is obvious that leaders are readers and reading helps them excel.

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

Success Advice

Can Organic Marketing on Facebook Be Effective in 2022?

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As another cat video is served to me in my Reels on Facebook, I am beginning to wonder if this platform can still serve to attract clients to my coaching business. And as the wondering turns into worrying, I feel a pressing need to make some vital changes to what worked for my solopreneur business for half a decade. (more…)

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How to Leverage Your Leadership Style for Business Success

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When we hear that leaders should operate within their zone(s) of genius, it’s easy to think that this only applies to tasks that they excel at. Whilst this is true, the piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is the positive correlation between a leader’s zone of genius and their leadership style. (more…)

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5 Simple Habits to Live A Less Chaotic, Happier Life

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Many of us spend our daily lives searching for happiness. We jump from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to spark a sense of joy and purpose.

But it’s hard pursuing happiness. After all, life is full of frustration and can put a stopper to our feel-good days.

And it’s challenging to be happy when we are juggling the responsibilities of everyday life like work and relationships. While achieving happiness is arduous, it’s not impossible. Try out these 5 habits to enjoy life more and be happier.

1. Walk in Nature

Spending time in nature has always improved my mood. Taking a walk around my neighborhood park, surrounded by trees and vegetation, I enter a peaceful state of mind.

The worries previously weighing on my mind are suddenly lifted, and I feel an indescribable sense of joy.

Taking just 20 minutes out of my day to get a fresh breath of air is extremely relaxing. 

In our work culture that favors busyness, there is little room for calmness. We associate a busy schedule with how successful we are, which isn’t entirely true at all.

In fact, it might be a disaster in the making. All that stress and anxiety bottled up without an outlet—the outcome is obvious.

So getting in touch with nature is my go-to way of maintaining a proper work-life balance. It makes me energized and ready to blast through the rest of my day with optimism.

2. Smile More Often

I make it a habit to smile every day; they aren’t fake smiles but genuine ones. And they have become a regular part of my life.

What am I smiling at, exactly? It can be the night sky covered with shining stars, like fine quicksand. Or, it can be the flowers sprouting new leaves in spring.

I embrace everything with open arms. Even when I have a rainy day, I don’t let it ruin my momentum.

Regardless of what happens, a simple smile can brighten my day; and best yet, it’s completely free.

At some point, everyone can have a stressful day and feel burned out. So put up a smile. Even if you’re not a positive person, take a firm stance against negativity. Your daily life will surely burst with joy.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

3. Find Your Passion

Many people dive headfirst into a day job that doesn’t interest them. They do it just for the money, which only makes them more miserable.

People who aren’t attached to their work will find difficulty achieving happiness. They live in a gray and stale world devoid of positivity.

Listen to your heart. Ask yourself: What makes me feel enthusiastic and excited? This is a time to discover your hopes and dreams.

You have endless opportunities in this world. Start a business. Volunteer at a charity drive. Figure out your reason why.

Personally, I used to turn to real estate to earn dependable rental income. But there was no sense of fulfillment. That feeling soon reached a tipping point, which pushed me to re-prioritize everything.

I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Combining my interest in business and self-improvement, I pursued my passion for blogging. And I can’t be any happier about it.

Everyone needs something that keeps their life meaningful. It can be a source of light that helps us walk in the right direction.

So having goals and dreams makes us genuinely happy. Without them, it will be a long, treacherous journey.

4. Practice Gratitude

Some days we may not feel a shred of gratitude. We are overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of life where we seek perfection, one that is only full of success and wins.

However, that will only put you further away from happiness.

Take the time every day to pause and appreciate something in your life. What I find helpful is sitting down with a pen and paper.

I start with “I am grateful for…” It can be the appreciation for my afternoon cup of herbal tea. It can be the clear blue sky on a sunny day.

This routine sets up a support system that reinforces positive emotions. It reminds me that there are many things I’ve experienced in life and even more things that I’m grateful for.

Even if I have a bad day, I try my best to be grateful and encourage lasting joy.

So appreciate everything that enters your life—all the good and bad. You will see your mood elevate to an entirely new level.

5. Create Memories With Loved Ones

It can be tempting to focus all our time and energy on reaching valued goals. We say, “I’ll take it easy and spend time with loved ones after I’m successful.”

But what if that time never comes? What if, at some point, your loved ones are suddenly gone?

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Prioritize your loved ones today, not next year. After all, you wouldn’t want to leave any room for regret.

The cherished memories you make now will be a spark of joy. They can even be a source of motivation when shooting for goals.

As social creatures, sharing stories, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and fulfilled.

Living a solitary life is not for everyone. Although having some alone time is perfectly fine, you should still make memorable experiences with those close to you. They will be cherished within your heart for as long as you live.

The quest for lasting happiness can be daunting at times. We spend much of our time searching for it, almost giving up along the way.

But you need to see the bright side. Living a better and happier life isn’t a far-fetched dream; it’s within reach. Remember that happiness can come from the small habits and things you do daily.

If you want to lead the life you truly want, practice these 5 habits and be consistent every day. Don’t give up halfway. Once you do so, there will be nothing stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest.

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Success Advice

Avoid These 12 Mistakes on the Way to Success

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One day when I was writing an interesting article my wife asked me, “Why did you achieve success so late, during the late forties?  Did you ever find out the reasons for your late success?” The question was an interesting one as I seldom thought about why I achieved success so late in my life until then. I thought about this for a while; here are the reasons that come to my mind: (more…)

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