You can’t believe everything you read. True statement. Here’s an even truer statement. You shouldn’t act on everything you read.

As a leader, reading is imperative. Reading engages your brain and sharpens your perspective. Reading is a great way to expand your awareness and knowledge. It’s about developing the ability to consider ideas that go beyond the scope of your own thinking.

Common Sense Before Book Sense

You’re never too young to read or too old. Reading something is better than reading nothing. From blogs to books, feeds to articles, online sources to print publications, short form or long form, reading is more about what interests you than what bores you.

There are two perspectives about reading that must be understood.

  1. Reading offers a distinct competitive advantage for leaders.
  2. Leaders who don’t read limit their capacity for growth.

This is about common sense more than it’s about book sense. It goes beyond the belief that knowledge is power. It’s about recognizing that the application of knowledge is where the real power of reading is discovered.

Seven insights about how I focus my reading:

  1. I read relentlessly.
  2. I read practically.
  3. I read beyond the boundaries of my preferences.
  4. I commit to reading something that expands my view every day.
  5. I set a goal for the number of books I want to read in a year. (This year that goal is 8).
  6. I don’t read about things that don’t interest me.
  7. I read with focus because I can’t, and shouldn’t, act on everything I read.

BTW –  Right now, I’m reading a book titled The American Entrepreneur by Willie Robertson. This is a book about the daring movers and shakers who dreamed big and risked everything to build better lives.

Thoughtstarter: Adapt, Adopt, Abandon

Reading requires focus because every idea read isn’t a call to action to change something within yourself or within your company. Sometimes reading is simply about…well… reading.

Let me encourage you to start reading if you’re not and keep reading if it’s already become a habit. Saying that you don’t read because you don’t like to read is about justification ahead of development. Think of it this way…

Would you want a surgeon to operate on you that hadn’t expanded their view both intellectually and experientially on surgical techniques and methods over the last 25 years?

Before you read, understand whether what you’re reading is more about your enjoyment or your education. Sometimes you won’t know until you’re done reading. Regardless, any reading expands your awareness.

When you read for insight and knowledge, ask yourself this question to help bring clarity to your reading.  “Should I adopt, adapt or abandon this idea?” Think of this like your reading filter.

When you choose to adopt an idea, it’s because it offers you something. It’s like a best practice that fulfills something you want and helps to generate a result. In the same way, it’s okay to acknowledge that someone else’s good idea doesn’t have to immediately become your best practice. It’s okay to recognize that what worked well for someone else may not be the best option for you, but you can adapt it to work for you. Perhaps most importantly, it’s okay to read something and realize that what worked for someone else won’t work for you and you can abandon the idea.

The most important thing to remember? Read.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.