Even a goldfish beats a millennial when it comes to attention spans. With a mere 6 seconds attention span, everything is a distraction to us millennials and when it comes to books, it’s even worse.
Who would want to sit down and read a book? We think it’s boring, time-consuming and we simply can’t focus on it. Why should we in the first place? We have Blinkist and Audible to solve the problems for us.
Except… those applications won’t give you the depth of knowledge that reading a book will give you. Having the same information as your peers will make you act the same way, make the same decisions and enjoy life in full mediocrity.
Different results require different actions and the first checkpoint is to acquire deep knowledge which we will, later on, turn into real-life wisdom.
1. Focus on one thing (book) for a long period of time
Remember the days when you could sit down and study for 2 hours straight with no distractions? Me neither.
Joke aside, with the small attention span today, the ability to maintain focus on a single thing has become one of the most valuable skills in the market. Tasks of the future will require deep concentration and focus on a single thing with years of expertise – something an AI will hardly manage to do. So for us to maintain our jobs in the future and thrive in them, we need to learn how to focus. Cal Newport in his book Deep Work expands on this topic quite well
I was also falling asleep while reading the first couple of books but guess what? All of that soon faded away and what was left was the ability to focus on a single matter for hours and hours. That’s how I read 43 books in the last year alone.
Your boss will be grateful for this skill, but you will benefit from it even more. That’s because you will gain 20 years of experts experience in just a couple of hours which brings us to the second point.
2. Gain 20 years of knowledge through books
When you take a business book and read about a person who:
- struggled for 5 years,
- built a product,
- failed at launch,
- learned from the failure,
- restarted again,
- had a mediocre launch,
- gained noodle-profitability,
- got better at sales,
- better at marketing,
- scaled the business
- and is now, after 20 years of experience, living a $7 million mansion with recurring, six-figure payments dripping in the account every month, you actually gained 20 years of experience in building a business in just 5 hours that it took you to read the book.
When you put that on a scale of usability, you understand the power books have. Every single problem that you face today, someone else in this world has been facing in the past and has managed to solve the problem. And guess what? If you Google it, you will for sure find at least one book on that topic which exactly solves your problem.
You want a bigger salary? Thousands of books about negotiation.
You want to start your own business but don’t know where to start? Thousands of books about entrepreneurship.
You want to start a lifestyle blog? Thousands of books about that.
Want to learn a new habit? Thousands of books about that.
And the best thing is that you acquire in-depth knowledge because you learn from experts. You skip the mistakes they did, trim down the time it takes to succeed and become a walking wisdom tank. Which brings us to the third point.
There is a book by Austin Kleon called Steal Like an Artist. He says that if you steal from one, you are a thief but if you steal from many, you are simply researching.
And once you get into books, you will soon figure out that most of the fundamentals are all the same and that most people just add their flavor to that which is mostly based on stories.
But the best thing is that you learn how to tell the stories because you, right now, have examples of that through the past. Stories are effective ways of persuading people into certain actions, thoughts, and beliefs.
Got a leadership problem? Tell them the story of Ernest Shackleton.
People want to quit because it’s hard? Tell them the story about Victor Frankl.
You have a hard-headed family member who can’t look at the other side? Tell him the story about Brené Brown.
In fact, every single case above can be exchanged by a different story that drives the same point home.
The leadership problem can be solved by a story about Alan Mulally, the quitting problem can be solved by a story about Kyle Maynard, the hard-headed family member problem can be solved by a story about Desmond Tutu.
All you have to do is pick up a book and start reading.
In case you have problems with establishing a reading habit, I would urge you to head over to growthabits.com and check out my system for growing life-long habits.