As we’ve all heard, self-made millionaires do something unusual that the rest of us don’t – they read. On average self-made millionaires take 32 years to get rich, and without exception, they do so with a reading routine. Tom Corley, author of “Rich Habits” states, “You don’t have to do a lot. 15 to 20 minutes is all it takes to develop more knowledge, to build your knowledge-base and to improve yourself.” However, instead of reading fiction, millionaires are reading books in self-development and leadership. By reading daily, you’ve just situated yourself in the top 5% of the crowd.

Here’s a list of the types of books self-made millionaires read:

  • Career-related books.
  • How-to books.
  • History books.
  • Biographies of successful people.
  • Self-help books.
  • Health-related books.
  • Current events books.
  • Books on memory improvement and learning.
  • Psychology books.
  • Leadership books.
  • Science books.
  • Books that offer inspiration/help create a positive mental outlook.

Powerful leaders, as well as self-made millionaires, believe expanding your skill and knowledge base are key to your personal growth and success. Education, experience and enthusiasm are each sparks that ignite your success. If you want to build speed and momentum, you’ll need sustainable fuel in the form of lifelong learning.

The world is in a state of perpetual motion and change, and to stay abreast of the latest innovations and understand how to leverage them effectively, you’ll need to get curious and strive to continually expand your knowledge. Show me any successful person and I’ll show you someone who continually cultivates their mind and persistently looks for new ways to incorporate knowledge and its application in all that they do.

To be the best at anything, commit to being a lifelong learner

Consider the following strategies:

  1. Read challenging material.

Expanding your knowledge base isn’t necessarily about massive consumption of data, but more about enriching your knowledge. To enhance your understanding of your field, it’s important that you continue to seek out new and high-quality sources of information. You also need to be inspired to work outside your comfort zone. Entrepreneur and renowned life coach Tony Robbins is a voracious reader who has read well over 10,000 books and constantly expands his repertoire with high caliber daily reading.

Challenge yourself (remember 15-20 minutes)

It’s not always easy to find thought-provoking material, but the search is well worth it. Start researching the leading expert in the field that interests you and ask yourself what they have written, what they recommend reading, and who their colleagues are. Set a goal to read four or five solid articles every week and finish at least one book a month. After you’ve read something insightful, choose a key takeaway that you can immediately apply to your life. Not being able to turn theories into practice is a good sign that you’re reading the wrong material.

  1. Seek constructive feedback.

Condition yourself to seek honest feedback and encourage constructive criticism. Learning isn’t solely about the intake, it’s also about having someone to honestly open your eyes to what you may have missed being so close to your own work. Eric McGrath, of Driven For Life says, “Feedback is the breakfast of Champions.” So true.

We are all likely to get things wrong from time to time. We will assume things incorrectly. We will communicate in ways which are confusing. The only way to make sure we don’t continue making the same mistakes is to get feedback and get it often. Learn to accept it with grace.

  1. Learn so you can teach others.

All the knowledge you acquire not only helps you but assists others to realize their goals and potential. As you better yourself, it will hardly go unnoticed, so when asked about the secret of your success, you have the opportunity to share the resources that have helped you. Share that knowledge with an open hand. Be the rising tide that lifts all boats.

Richard Rusczyk, founder of Art of Problem Solving Inc. noted, “Teaching also forces you to communicate your thoughts clearly and precisely… but being heard is not enough. You must also be understood. Your ideas will never be more effective than your ability to make others comprehend them.”

Listen to understand, and speak to inspire.

If you aspire to be a lifelong learner who is motivated not only by your own success but by helping others, your goal should always be to create a dynamic culture that fosters continual learning and growth

Sit down with a good book as often as possible. If it inspires you, pass it along when you’re done.

More than any other time in history, the world is an unending reservoir of knowledge. It is literally at our fingertips; it is simply up to us to grab hold and take it in.

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