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Habits

How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

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How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

“Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding.”

-Bill Gates

This post is for you if you are someone who struggles to pick up a book -or finds yourself distracted after reading a few pages. A lot of people wonder how to read more and get more out of books. But they fail to address the basic obstacles that stop them from doing so.

Successful people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have spent their entire life learning and figuring out numerous ways to find solutions to problems faced by humanity. There are thousands of people out there with a similar level of success in their respective fields. These people have squeezed their hard-earned knowledge and turned it into books, digital products, and podcasts. It will be criminal not to take advantage of these resources available to us at such nominal prices.

Read further if you want to learn how to read more and make the best of the time you spend reading. Here, I have listed 4 proven methods to help you read more.

1. Put reading in your daily schedule

How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

When you write something down on a piece of paper, it becomes official. By adding this habit to your list of things to do, you are more likely to take it seriously. Most successful people start their day by reading newspapers and magazines related to their field. In fact, this is the best way to prep yourself up for the day ahead.  

Morning is the best time to read for people interested in self-help and personal development. It is great to consume motivational and inspirational content at the start of the day. By doing so, you can implement the lessons you have learned in real life throughout the day. This is the reason successful people spend more than an hour reading books early in the morning. Everyone needs a dose of motivation every now and then.  

American businessman and investor Mark Cuban reads for 3 hours every day. He attributes his reading habit to his success in business and life. Reading gives him confidence and assurance to deal with any problem that comes his way. Of course, not everyone is going to have 3 hours every day just for reading. For the average person, even half an hour is a good start.

2. Read about your passions

How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

By reading about your passions, you can fuel your mind to succeed professionally. Some people find it difficult to finish a book or get bored after reading just a few pages. Reading about something you like is the best way to avoid feeling fatigued. By doing so, you can go on reading for hours and won’t feel tired.  

Finding your passion is not easy. What if you don’t yet know what you like? It’s true that passion is not something that can be found in books. But reading gets your creative juices flowing and helps you unpack the hidden potential within.

You also gain more confidence and attain an air of certainty by reading about your passions. Confidence is very important in every area of your life. In my opinion, it comes from knowing the right way of doing things and having done it several times. In conclusion, if you are curious about how to read more, start by reading about your passions.

3. Choose the right environment

How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

Libraries and reading halls are ideal places for people who can’t read in loud noisy places. Because you are required to put your phones on silent, as to not disturb yourself and others, you truly can read distraction free. If your home is a place with not much noise or distraction then that’s the perfect place for you to read in. If you can create a tiny reading nook in your home, then you will find yourself returning to the reading spot often. This is one of the reasons why people create comfortable reading corners in their homes.

That being said, many people who are just starting out their reading journey find their home environment too distracting, especially when there are people around always. If that is the case with you, then you can go to reading halls and libraries. If you don’t have access to places like those, then cafes work great too. There are cafes everywhere, so it is convenient for many. Just make sure that you don’t visit during rush hours. Our goal here is to find a peaceful environment. Rush hours will make it difficult for you to concentrate on your reading.

If you are unable to find a quiet place to read, there are things you can do to avoid getting distracted. If there is a lot of noise in your surroundings, just use earplugs or noise canceling headphones. They can easily cancel out 20-30 dB of noise. I use Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Best money I ever spent.

To avoid getting interrupted by your roommate or a family member, you can put up a “Do not disturb sign” on your door. There are many ways to create the ideal reading place. So don’t let distractions like external noise or other people around be an excuse.    

4. Switch to audiobooks

How To Read More: 4 Proven Methods To Succeed

Sometimes we put off reading the books on our reading list due to a shortage of time. Not everyone can put aside 30-40 minutes a day for reading. Some of you might be working more than one job or losing a lot of time in the daily commute to work. This can cause tiredness; which is a big obstacle in picking up a book and being able to read it mindfully.

With audiobooks, you will be able to consume more content than you would from a paperback or ebook. You also feel deeply connected to the content because of the human touch. Hence, a better learning experience.

Another benefit of audiobooks is that you can listen to them while commuting to work. Most people spend at least two hours every day commuting. You can easily finish 4-5 books per month. Moreover, listening requires less focus and concentration than reading. So, you don’t have to worry about fatigue. So, just put on the headphones and enjoy the content.

So, if you are still wondering how to read more, download this mobile app called Audible. You own all the books you purchase, even if you decide to unsubscribe later. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about return policy. If you don’t like any book, just swap it for another; that too for free.

I hope these methods on how to read more will provide a boost to your personal development journey. I feel like, the biggest takeaway from this article is to read about your passions. Most of us are told what to read by social media or friends. But ideally, our goals and desires should lead us to the kind of books we read.

Habits

Why Too Many Self Help Books are Bad for You

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Self Help

Since you’re reading this article on this blog, you probably have a keen interest in self-betterment. You’re the kind of person who has a constant hunger to grow, develop personality and achieve great things. You probably have a full shelf of self-help books at home, and reach for a new one in airport book stores. 

Let’s take a moment to congratulate yourself on this. Not many people, definitely not the vast majority of people are genuinely interested in self-growth. However, like any good thing in life, there is a flip-side to immersing yourself in self-help content. It can severely impact the way you see yourself, and the world around you; sometimes for the worse.

The Heroes

It’s fairly common to read a self-help book and start valorising the writer. The requisite to write a self-help book or a how-to guide is often being successful first so that you then have the ‘right’ to preach to other people. That’s why many “successful people” write memoirs or how-to guides to spill their secrets and let others know how they made it. 

A byproduct of this is the audience begins to automatically consume everything that the writer tells them as the gospel truth. We don’t doubt the credibility of someone who’s made it big. We don’t ask for much scientific backing when these successful persons tell us their life story: one anecdote is enough. 

Of course, in any field of scientific research, a single anecdote is never considered to be scientific evidence alone. This is simply because one person can never be an unbiased narrator of their own experiences. We can’t weigh their words against those of others; verify their methods with a control group. 

This is not to suggest that all writers of self-help books are getting away with lying or false information just because no one’s cross-checking (although that could be the occasional case). 

The few people who are successful in their fields and occupy positions in the public sphere undoubtedly have more experience than you and me. However, even they cannot hundred per cent explain the reasons for their success. It is generally a number of factors that act together, right connections, right timing, right pre-dispositions combined with the person’s efforts that bring them success. 

For example, if a successful entrepreneur writes about how he built his own business empire, he could give you 10 methods, or tips and tricks that he followed to stay motivated and increase his productivity. What he cannot guarantee is that this will work for everyone. He also cannot guarantee that those 10 exact methods are what caused his success.

There are many self-help books that are abundant with real-life examples, scientific studies, and academic research. These are also, coincidentally the type of books where the author relies less on his own experience as the source of his advice. These are not just more useful books to read, they also are much more informative and entertaining than their monologue counterparts. 

Survivorship Bias

One of the other side effects of surrounding yourself with lots of self-help content is that you become prey to the survivorship bias. This means that you continually consume stories and experiences of many people that have succeeded. Once we start following ‘successes’, we begin to see them everywhere. 

Social media has a hand to play in this as well. Popular social media platforms have algorithms that create echo-chambers where you only see the kind of content that you like. So if you’re only reading about positive and uplifting self-betterment content, chances are you never come across stories about failures. 

This can make you feel that there is an enormous amount of people that are succeeding and doing what you want to do. The spotlight is on the 1%, while ignoring the other 99% in the shadow. 

You might wonder why this is a problem. Isn’t focusing on the positive success stories making it more likely that you will also be successful yourself?

Surprisingly, it’s not. It can be the real reason why it’s so hard to succeed, because you can follow all the hacks, tips and tricks, and methods that you read in self-help books and still have unique challenges to overcome. This is because you’re ignoring the data from the vast masses of people that tried the very same methods and failed. 

You must be thinking: well, I should be focusing on failure stories? That’s depressing!

No, you don’t! For one, they are difficult to find. Simply knowing the information about how often someone succeeds to the level that you want to can be your tool. 

For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, you should know that simply getting published has a 1% success rate while a best-selling author is probably closer to 0.001%.

This is not to discourage you from chasing your dreams, but only to help you bring a dose of reality into your pursuit of success. 

Final Words

Knowing that the advice you read in a self-help book is from a person part of the 1% rather than the 99% can stop you from being frustrated. Many people follow the methods and techniques suggested in these books and then expect instant success. 

So if you’re waking up at 5 AM for three months in a row now, and wondering why you’re not a millionaire yet: the story was never that simple! 

Congratulations to your brand new good habit, and pursuit of self-betterment, but know that there is a long way to go before we discover a complete formula for success

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Habits

The Science Behind Forming Habits that Last

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If you’ve ever tried to form a habit, someone’s probably given you the advice that it takes only 21 days to do so. 

The 21-day rule claims that one must only perform an activity every day, for 21 days, until it automatically becomes a habit and the person no longer has to put in the effort to do the activity.

And, if you’ve ever tried to test out this rule: you likely found that it doesn’t really work. 

Unfortunately, there are many more factors that come into play when considering why some habit formation happens in less time than others. 

I was told by a school teacher that it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days for it to become a lifestyle. During the lockdown, I tried to make it a practice to meditate every day for 10 minutes to meditate. I eagerly awaited the 21-day mark, expecting some kind of magical transformation to take place as soon as I awoke. 

There was nothing different about the 21st day (or the 3 months after that), and I didn’t experience any time-bound results. 

Where the 21-Day Rule Comes from

Interestingly, the 21-Day Rule isn’t so much a rule as it’s a misinterpreted observation. A plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz wrote a well-acclaimed book about human behavior. 

In his career, he noticed that it always took a minimum of 21 days for one of his patients to mentally adjust to the physical change in their body. He proposed that any sort of mental image adjustment requires a minimum of 21 days from this data. 

Now while this could be useful data for mental image adjustments, habit formation encompasses many more factors than that. 

Here are scientifically-backed factors that influence how strong your newly formed habit is and how long it will last.

How Big or Small it is

If your habit is something challenging to do, it will take a lot of willpower for you to drastically change your everyday routine to accommodate it. 

For example, if you work a 10hour shift and still want to workout at the gym for an hour a day, knowing it sacrifices your recreation time: chances are that this habit will be really difficult to form and sustain.

A small habit like making your bed, washing the dishes before you go to bed at night, or even self-affirmations in the morning: are all habits that can fit into a schedule without you having to sacrifice much. 

Starting with small habits makes it easier since you don’t need a lot of motivation to perform them. 

How Important the Habit is to your Self Image

Some habits we’re trying to form are more important to us than others. If you strongly believe that this habit will help you become the person you’re destined to be, you’re going to attach more value to carrying it out every day!

How Many Days you Skip

We’re often under the impression that all your progress will come crashing down if you skip a day. Thankfully, it’s been proven that even if you miss a day, there are no long-term effects on the habit formation itself. But it’s recommended that you never skip more than one day at a time.

How You Remind Yourself

When reminding yourself to perform the activity you’re trying to convert to a habit, it’s critical to piggyback off other existing habits. That means if you already have a habit of doing yoga and want to get into a habit of meditating, make sure that you meditate right after your yoga practice. One habit helps the other.

How Sustainable Your Pace is

If you’re working on forming a habit that needs to be built up over time, you need to make sure this pace is feasible for your current lifestyle. You know your life best, and if you know you’re going to have a significant life event and get busier soon, don’t have unrealistic expectations from your new habit!

Good luck!

40% of our day-to-day life is made out of habits. Forming a new habit can very realistically transform your entire life. I’m glad you’re on this journey to maximize your potential, and I’m sure you can do it!

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Habits

How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?

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book read

Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?

Why should you read daily?

  • To gain knowledge

Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.

  • To improve your vocabulary

Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.

  • To have a make-believe world

The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.

  • To become more attentive

Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.

  • To reduce stress

Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person. 

Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.

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