I love books. Naturally, since you’re reading this and improving your learning, we probably share this same sentiment. Let’s think about books in more detail for a moment because reading is an important healthy growth habit.
It takes perhaps ten years of experience, minimum, to be able to write a detailed book on a particular subject. That’s ten years of learning, success, trial and error, hindsight and reflection, condensed down into a book that you can consume within just a few hours. It’s mind blowing.
So, if you were to read one book every week, that’s fifty two a year, you’re consuming 520 years of experience in a single year. Talk about ROI.
Now if you delve into the habits of those professionals at the very top of their fields, you’ll usually find that they have at least two regular habits in common:
- They practice some sort of mindfulness, such as meditation.
- They never stop learning, and are usually voracious readers.
You may well be a slow reader, or perhaps the very idea of picking up a book sends you to sleep, but don’t panic.
This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the insight and undoubtable gains to your business and life you can achieve by reading books. Because, you don’t even have to pick them up and read them yourself any more.
There are multiple formats available for consumption in the modern age, the classic physical copy of course, for some that can’t be beaten. But, there’s also the ebook, or indeed audiobooks, where you don’t have to read a single word, because someone else will do it for you.
You’ll even find books that have been broken down into articles, training courses, podcasts, webinars or videos for you to consume in the way that fits around your lifestyle and way of learning.
When it comes to personal growth, it shouldn’t only be you that strives for continual learning. You should spur on this way of thinking across your workforce.
I encourage my staff to take at least two working hours each week for personal development, asking only that they match that personal development in their free time.
For example, if they are reading a book that will help them gain insight into a particular skill, and they read one hour during their work time, they’ll also read for one hour in their personal time.
That’s four hours a week, sixteen hours a month, one hundred and ninety two hours a year — more than eight solid days per year, just for personal development.
I’ll, of course, make sure to help guide them in their personal development, to make suggestions about which areas of learning to focus on, often closely linked to their job role. Though, this doesn’t always have to be the case explicitly.
If you also encourage training that improves them as a person, providing a life skill that will benefit them in whatever they choose to do in the future, then that benefits you as an employer as well as a human being — so bonus points to you!
As an example, I recently sent two books to one of my employees, one on the power of copywriting, the other on how to better manage time. Now by utilizing this self learning to strengthen her copywriting and time management skills, she benefits in life — as these are skills she will carry with her — and the business benefits by her increased performance in these areas. It’s a win win!
Her learning can then be condensed and passed down to other employees and so on, so the learning doesn’t stop with just one employee, knowledge and skills will spread between colleagues in the workforce.
Now you might say that you or your employees just don’t have the time in your business, but learning should never be optional in your personal growth.
Things will always get in the way, that’s a given. Treat a book written by any one of the great minds in the same way. The insight you will gain is well worth the small amount of time you invest each week, so schedule personal development time into your schedule, and stick to it.
Encourage your team to do the same. If you’re prone to distraction, perhaps schedule yours first thing in the morning so you aren’t able to be touched by the day’s events.
Consider the tasks you do daily, the skills you and your team utilize. Identify where there’s room for improvement (and there always is) and where there’s opportunity to implement new skills that could help you.
Now take a look at the resources out there, whether they be books or training courses, and get to it! Your happiness comes down to your commitment to personal growth.
Photo Credit: @diskander on Unsplash