I have enjoyed reading as far back as I can remember. I grew up as an only child and was one of those geeky kids who read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trillogy before he was 10.

So when I heard motivational speakers say things like “Leaders are Readers” it was easy for me to buy in. I would think to myself, “See. I love to read.Therefore I must be a leader.”

Well that logic is fundamentally flawed. And what about the folks out there who really don’t much like reading? Can they ever be successful?

I don’t think it is likely

While it is true that there are some exceptional and very successful folks out there who are not in the habit of reading, for the rest of us reading may be our one and only ticket out of the vast masses of mediocrity and into success.

Here’s why:

Changing our Thinking

If we are not yet at the level of success that we desire to be, whether it is across the board or just in one area of our lives, it is simply because our thought patterns are different from those that bring our desired success. Success starts in our thoughts. And I don’t mean that if we wish for success then it will naturally follow.

What I’m saying is that our thought patterns, what we think, determines what we do and how we react to any given set of circumstances. And those actions (and reactions) will determine the level of success we achieve in every area of our lives.

Why is it that one person can be born into abject poverty completely disadvantaged and become a very wealthy successful person while someone else can be born into wealth and privilege and squander their time deep in the masses of mediocrity?

The answer is not their circumstances. Because many disadvantaged folks never rise and many of the privileged classes rise even higher.

And if our success was determined by our circumstances then why is it that so many lottery winners end up going broke even after winning millions?

The answer is in our thinking. If we change our circumstances without changing our thinking then we will eventually get back to almost the exact same circumstances we had before the change.

That is why simply changing your job will not necessarily bring you the success you crave. And why second marriages have an even higher failure rate than first marriages. You can change the pasture, but unless you change the cow you will still get the same milk.

So how does this idea of our thinking determining our success tie into reading?

Reading for Change

In order to change our thinking to more successful patterns we have to expose ourselves to those new thought patterns somehow. Reading is one of the most common and simplest ways to get that exposure.

Can’t I just get a tape or watch a movie?

It is true that there is a ton of good stuff recorded out there. But because of the difference in the natures of the various media, you will get far more detailed information via reading than from the other sources. Have you ever seen a movie that was based on a book? They leave a lot out, don’t they?

The same is true for audio books. Most of them are abridged. That way they play better when listened to. The bottom line is we communicate slightly differently when we talk than when we write. Written communication can often times convey thought changing ideas far better than other methods.

As evidence I’ll hold up the Bible. If there was a better way to convey thought changing ideas than the written word, then why would God himself choose to use a second rate method to convey the deep ideas of the universe by bringing it all together in a book?

I’ll give you another example. John Maxwell is a guy who has devoted his life to teaching successful leadership principles. He speaks to hundreds of thousands of people every year. He has authored over 30 books. He is very successful in his own right. Here are a couple quotes from just one of his books, Today Matters

“I am continually reading books on leadership and communication. Every month I try to read one excellent book in its entirety and skim through a second one that may not have as much content.”

Gather Good Input: I’ve always been a collector of ideas. I do a lot of reading and I continually file the ideas and quotes I find.”

I remember a public service campaign when I was a kid there was a campaign that ran a lot of TV commercials. The tag line still sticks in my brain: RIF – Reading Is Fundamental. Every one of those ads conveyed that, without reading, disadvantaged kids would have a much lower opportunity to break free of their poverty.

SuccessCREEations Library

Since SuccessCREEations is all about sharing ideas tips and strategies to improve our success, I have set up a Library section with links over on the left side bar. Over time I will add books that I have read that I feel make a contribution to one of the four areas that we are focusing on here.

That way you will have some recommended resources written by people with far more expertise than I’ve got. On each book’s review page you can see why I think it is worth reading and what I’ve gotten from it. You can even go to Amazon.com just by clicking on a link on that review page, get your own copy and be on your way to improving your own thought processes.

In the interest of disclosure, Amazon.com will give me a few cents of every purchase made by folks who click through my library to their site. If the idea of me getting a few cents for recommending something that will increase your success offends you – then change your thinking!

No. Seriously. If that idea really offends you then go to Amazon.com without clicking the link on the book review page, search for the book on your own and buy it anyway. The point is for each of us to grow. Get the book and read it. Use whatever method you feel most comfortable with.

Then, as your own thinking improves, so will your success.

Besides I’m really not worried about the money. It will come back to me one way or another. There is another success principle about planting and harvesting. But that is a topic for a whole other post.

Enjoy!

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