High achievers, leaders, hustlers, goal diggers… we’re all just trying to do a little (okay a lot), disrupt industries, crush our competition (with a smile), build our companies, support our families, and show up like a boss every. damn. day. So, what’s the quickest way to come out on top (that doesn’t involve tearing everyone else down)? Personal development. Lead yourself first, grow yourself each day, become the very best you you can be. Rising tides raise all ships. It’s okay to be competitive and to get obsessed with being the best. The key is to take as many people along for the ride with you. That’s the real win.
Okay, so, we’ve got that out of the way. Free enterprise means there will be winners and losers. And if you win big, you can help the losers out. We good there? Good. So, do you want to be on the winning team? Do you want a 52 to 1 advantage over your competition? It’s simple. Read one book every week.
The average person reads 12 books a year. But you’re not average are you? CEOs read about 60 books a year. Do the math – that’s more than one a week! Whether you’re a CEO or not, develop a CEO mindset and you’ll be steps ahead of your competition next year. And just a quick note about your “competition”. Your competition may be a fellow intern angling for the one full-time slot at that Fortune 500 company, another applicant for grad school or a board position, or another candidate for that dream job you’re looking at. Competition is competition. How are you going to set yourself apart from everyone else?
Reading (or listening) to books and pouring knowledge into yourself is one of the most effective and fastest ways to gain a competitive advantage. Get consumed with it, make it your mission and your focus… get obsessed!
I’m not saying you need to sit down for 6 hours a week and read a book. Find pockets of time throughout your day. Listen to Audible while you’re driving, working out, folding laundry, grocery shopping, or getting ready for work in the morning. Those mindless/repetitive tasks are the perfect opportunity to get in some reading. And what I think most people forget is that a lot of audio books are only 5 hours long. Some even less! It doesn’t take that long to listen to one or even two a week! And if you’re training for an Ironman or marathon, like I am, you’ll get through 3 or 4 books a week! Just one more reason everyone should train for an Ironman. Just saying.
There are a couple of ways to maximize your time and effectiveness when listening to audio books. First, listen on 1.5X or even 2X speed (depending on the natural speed of the reader). People can think at a much faster rate then they speak. For example, we can speak at about 125 words per minute, but listen at 400 words per minute! Take advantage of that and crank up your Audible speed! Better yet, have the physical copy of the book in front of you while listening at 2X. You will take in and retain even more information that way
As you’re reading or listening to one of your books, make sure you are listening/reading with action in mind. Look for concepts or models that you want to implement into your life and test out. The key here is implementation. You don’t have to go implement the entire book each week (that would become a little unreasonable), but, there are probably one or two little things you’ll pick up that you could incorporate into your life. Do that.
And, of course, the best way to learn is by teaching others. As you are reading your book a week, absorb the info as if you are going to be teaching it to someone else. Bonus points if you actually go out and teach! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Share what you learned with your partner or kids, build your social media following by sharing what you learned on a live Facebook video, do a podcast, or simply send an email to your team. If you are doing this once a week can you imagine the amount of value you are bringing to yourself through your growth and learning, and then the value you are providing to others? Hell, you’ll be unstoppable.
January 1 is less than two weeks away. What are you going to read first? Need some recommendations? Below are my current favorites (and keep up to date with what I’m reading in real time over on Goodreads).
- Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Build a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s Perfection by Michael Singer
- Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens
- Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover
- Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
- The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling