The one piece of advice that is common when coming from successful people is to read more. They dedicate their knowledge about their specific fields to reading.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
– Frederick Douglas
If you want to learn about anything, read.
If you want to grow, read.
If you want to polish your skills, read.
If you want to sharpen your mind, read.
Reading isn’t limited to only books. With the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. You don’t even have to go out to get a newspaper or magazine; everything is online. Why not make the most of it. Reading – books, newspapers, magazines, poems, stories, blogs, articles – anything counts.
With so much to read, one question that I usually come across is how to find time to read. Now, this is one of the questions that you can answer the best because you know your schedule better than anyone else. Like everything else you do, you need to find time to read.
How to find time for reading
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”
– Roald Dahl
Look at your schedule, find the time that you spend watching TV, shows, YouTube videos, Netflix. Reserve half of that time for reading. Calculate the time it takes to commute (if you use public transport) and reserve it for reading. Find the days you have appointments that have a little waiting time, take a book along.
The point here is to read in the little time gaps you get. If you can’t find out a few hours space to dedicate to reading, sprinkle it in between your commitments.
Better yet, you have to make reading your priority, you need to find time for it. If you really want to do something, saying you don’t have time means you don’t really want to do it. Because when you really want to, you find the time.
Why should you base reading goals on your reading speed?
If you want to set a routine then being realistic about it is the best way to go. Just because Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day, doesn’t mean you have to. Take inspiration from things and tweak it according to your situation, following others down to the T can actually ruin the whole thing for you.
Find out how many pages you can read on an average, or how many words per minute. Staples (the popular office supply chain) has a test you can take to find out how fast you read. They collected reading speed data as part of their advertising campaign for selling e-readers. The speed reading tool used for the campaign is available online to try.
Use the speed reading tool, take the test, and see how fast you can read.
The test also asks questions based on the passage you read to see if you actually comprehend what you read. Just reading fast means nothing if you can’t actually retain the information.
According to the data on how fast other demographics read against yours, which can be seen after you answer the question, the average adult reads 300 words per minute.
Here are the demographics shown on the Staples graph-
- Third-grade students – 150 words per minute
- Eight grade students – 250 words per minute
- Average college student – 450 words per minute
- Average “high-level executives” – 575 words per minute
- Average college professor – 675 words per minute
- Speed readers – 1,500 words per minute
- World speed reading champion – 4,700 words per minute
If you are not a regular reader, chances are you will fall between eight grade students and average college student, that is, 250 to 450. People who never read, easily fall under the eight grade students mark.
This isn’t to judge your reading speed as slow or anything. You just need to know this so that you can make a realistic timetable for your reading.
What kind of reading is best for you?
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.”
– Mortimer J. Adler
There are four types of reading that are used by most of us.
1. Scanning – Scanning means looking for only specific information while reading, like using keywords.
Examples of this are: searching for a name in a phonebook, searching for your favorite soup on the menu.
2. Skimming – Skimming is the opposite of scanning, here you gather the main idea of the text, then you look for information or lines to back up the general idea of the text. This is used to read more in less time.
Examples of this are: reading other people’s reviews while buying products, reviewing your notes before an examination.
3. Intensive Reading – This is one of the most time-consuming reading techniques because it is used to retain information for the long term, so you read every word carefully.
Examples of this are: reading legal documents, reading business proposals, non-fiction works.
4. Extensive Reading – Extensive reading is the technique used when you read for pleasure. You choose your material, your pace, and the way you comprehend. This helps you read for fun while helping you improve your writing, better your vocabulary, and increase your comprehension power.
Examples of this are: Fiction, poetry, fun articles.
Now that you know the main kinds of reading we do depending on different material and different situations, you need to figure out what are you aiming for. If you are looking to read more, then you surely are aiming for intensive or extensive reading.
Intensive Reading works best for non-fiction because you want to actually use the information in real life, make lifestyle changes based on what you read, and apply your knowledge obtained from reading. For this, you need to remember what you read and grasp the concepts entirely.
To get the most out of a book, what you can do is make notes as you go. Use highlighters to highlight the paragraphs that you find important, use sticky notes to write your thoughts, scribble in the margins, use tons of page markers. Writing a review of the book, once you are done, also helps. When you come back to the book in the future, you will be able to recall information based on your takeaways from the book.
Extensive reading works best for fiction is because you aren’t reading to retain information. You are reading for entertainment, for fun, to just enjoy. This is one of the most popular hobbies and the reason why fiction sells.
Fiction has important lessons to teach too, but those are mostly life lessons hidden away in the story. Although this is done for fun, you actually improve your reading, writing, vocabulary, and comprehension skills, which is why you are always suggested to pick up reading as a hobby.
Why do you want to read more?
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”
– Mortimer J. Adler
People thinking about reading more boils down to two things: reading faster, and reading lots. A combination of both is every book lover’s dream. When both are incorporated simultaneously, it can boost your reading routine to another level. Both of the things, when done alone on their own, have their benefits too.
Reading more can mean different things for different people:
- Having more time to read
- Reading faster/ Speed reading
- Reading more books
- Finishing all the books started but never finished
- And so on
Tips for reading more
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
I would suggest taking a speed reading class to pick up some things, but apart from that, here are some techniques you can use.
- Listen to audiobooks – People who have difficulty reading can start by listening to audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks means you do not have to take time out of your routine apart to do it, you can listen to it while doing other things. Many people have started realizing how beneficial it is.
You can listen to audiobooks while cleaning your home, doing laundry, cooking, commuting, taking a walk, going to the gym, etc. Even by incorporating it in your daily routine you actually get to listen to a lot more than having to take time out to read.
- Adopt a new way – If you really have no time to read, say you work two jobs and are thinking of starting your own business. You would obviously want to learn all you can. There’s where you have to think outside the box.
You can listen to reviews by people who have read a particular book you want to read and get the summary. Most of the time, people give their opinion with the review so it sort of takes away the privilege of forming your own opinion. So if that doesn’t bother you then go for it. Listen to 3-4 people whose opinions you value.
If you are really short on time, then use a service like Blinkist, which has summaries of almost all the popular non-fiction books and are adding more daily. I have a premium subscription of Blinkist and make it a point to read at least one summary each day. And this is apart from the reading I do on a daily basis. Blinkist basically helps me decide which books I want to read by reading a 15-minute summary of that book. The best part is that these summaries are available in text as well as audio format. This changes the way we consume books.
- Take up reading challenges – Reading challenges motivate everyone, if you would like accountability for your challenges, then join reading groups. Goodreads and Facebook have reading groups that support each other to reach their reading goals. There are various reading challenges that run on YouTube and Instagram that you can participate in. There are also yearly challenges you can participate in, keeping track of the books you read based on the genre, publication, author, and so on. You can find my yearly challenge on Goodreads here.
- Use a pen as a pointer – Remember how we were always told to read with our fingers pointing at the words when we were kids, it’s the same thing. This technique makes sure to keep your eyes directed at the sentence you are reading and also doesn’t let you lose your place in the paragraph.
- Buy an e-reader – An e-reader like Kindle means you don’t have to carry a bulky book any place you go. If you are not into the book you are reading, you can quickly change the book. There are tons of free books. You can get any book you want, no matter where you are. The books cost you less in terms of money as well as the time required to get a physical book. This gives you no other reason not to read. For the record, I use a Kindle Paperwhite.
- Make time to read – Saying I don’t have time just won’t do if you really want to incorporate reading into your routine. You have to give up some other hobby to fit reading in, or you just would have to find time to do both.
Reading more depends as much on your decision as it does on a mixture of all of these tips. If you decide that no matter what, you are going to find time for reading, then you have half the battle won already.
“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.”
– David Levithan
Some classes you can take to learn how to speed read and comprehend what you are reading-
7 Things You Have To Give Up If You Want To Be Successful
Personal habits are a critical factor when it comes to being successful in life. No one has ever reached great heights by possessing unhealthy habits. If such a person does become rich or famous, he/she will fail to sustain their position for a long time.
This article is for someone who wants to be successful in life but is not able to do so because of some of their habits and behaviors. I am guessing you already know your life goal. Once you are aware of your unconscious behaviors, you can do something to get rid of them. And then you will be free to design a roadmap that will take you to your goal.
There is a clear distinction between the way a wealthy person lives his/her life and a poor person goes through life. The difference is not in their intelligence or knowledge, but it is in their daily habits. As Robert Kiyosaki–the author of the best selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad— famously said: “A person can be highly educated, professionally successful, and financially illiterate.” You must know how finance works if you want to be successful.
Here are some things you will have to give up if you want to be successful in life.
1. Making excuses all the time
Most people are always waiting for others to give them direction in life. They blame others if things don’t go their way. Making excuses will never lead you to the path of success. Because, instead of taking action, you are choosing to do nothing. As Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood rightly said: “What you put into life is what you get out of it.”
The number one thing that stops you from going for what you want is the negative thinking pattern that makes you feel like you are not good enough. So, why should you even try?
Taking responsibility for your life is the quickest way to stop making excuses. It means being aware of the consequences of your actions. So, next time when you make a mistake, don’t blame others, take responsibility and learn from it.
2. Looking for a magic pill
“Slow and steady wins the race.”
The magic pill solution is very prevalent in today’s society. People are very much inclined towards fast and effortless ways to achieve things. The best example of a magic pill is the 5-minutes abs commercial. The 5-minutes abs promise that you will get rock-hard abs within two weeks of using their product. This might sound quite enticing to someone who is overweight and lazy.
But the long term effects of these quick-fix solutions are negative. Furthermore, most of the quick-fix solutions available in the market don’t even work. For instance, it takes at least a couple of years of hard work in the gym to get fully fit and have the physique that you want.
Along with that, you also have to eat and sleep well. Knowing this fact, it is ridiculous to think that a 5-minute abs program will help you achieve similar results. So, stop looking for easy solutions if you want to be successful in life.
3. Fear of failure
Fear of failure stops people from trying things out. It is also the number one obstacle that keeps people from becoming financially independent. In reality, failure is supposed to expose our weakness, so that we can work on them and eliminate them eventually.
Ego is our false sense of self. We create a mental picture of our best self. Your ego protects itself by creating a delusional fear inside your head. Don’t let your ego win. It just wants you to stay the way you are. Moreover, your ego also gets threatened by any major change in your life. To be successful, you will need to evaluate your life and make systematic changes to it.
4. Seeking approval from others
We are hardwired to seek approval from anyone who might seem like they have more authority than us. This survival strategy was useful in the prehistoric period. But in today’s world, seeking approval and validation from others will stop you from being free and unrestrained.
Not being good enough is another reason people seek approval from others. Everyone who is at the top of their field once had to start from the bottom and work their way up. Instead of owning up to our shortcomings and learning to live with them, we seek validation from others.
5. Unhealthy habits that stop you from progressing
Your habits are indicators of the quality of your life. Good habits lead to success, happiness, and spiritual well being. Along with forming good habits, it is equally important to become conscious of our bad habits.
Binge eating, not getting enough exercise, not reading books, watching too much television and not sleeping enough are a few common unhealthy habits people have. If you have any of these bad habits, do not try to force yourself to do the right thing. Instead, replace the old habit with a new one.
Your brain will not comply with you when you are trying to get rid of a bad or unhealthy habit. It gets habituated to the old patterns and wants to do what it is used to doing. So, when you replace an old habit with a new one, you get the same amount of dopamine rush in your brain that the old habit provided. But this time you are doing something constructive with keeping your long term wellbeing in mind.
6. Procrastinating and waiting for the right moment
Procrastination is a habit that gets triggered by stress in your life. It’s your way of taking a break from a hectic life. But like every other habit, it can be broken too. All you have to do is be aware of what your stress responses are and how you are currently dealing with the problems in your life.
Are you drinking too much alcohol, binge-watching television shows, or overeating? Once you know what activity you are indulging in to avoid work or whatever it is that you’re running away from, you can consciously stop yourself from doing it. Over time, you will break the pattern of avoidance and begin to focus on your desired activity.
7. Toxic people in your life
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Your close friends and other people you spend time with, determine how much success you will achieve in life. Surrounding yourself with positive and like-minded people is one of the quickest ways to succeed in life. When you spend time with people who are miserable or unhappy in life, you slowly begin to get affected by their toxicity. Toxic people are everywhere, so you need to keep your eyes and ears open to protect yourself from them.
People stay in toxic relationships because they think it’s benefiting them somehow. For instance, one might choose to work for an organization that pays well but doesn’t treat their employees properly. In this scenario, you sure become financially secure but what about your spiritual and emotional wellbeing? In a toxic relationship, there is always a major compromise. So, evaluate the people in your life and get rid of anyone who might be hurting your chances of success.
7 YouTube Channels You Must Watch If You Want More From Life
People spend hours and hours watching funny cat videos and other viral content on YouTube. And don’t get me wrong. It is important to watch relaxing pet videos online, but it’s more important to consume content that will help you grow as a person. In this post, I have chosen a few Youtube channels that made a profound impact on my life.
Categories like self-help, self-actualization, entrepreneurship, and relationships are the best when it comes to gaining tons of knowledge. Some of the channels on this list post long videos that last for more than an hour and others are short, quick tip clips. In my opinion, both are equally valuable. So, don’t miss out on any of these YouTube channels.
Following are 7 YouTube channels you must watch if you want more from life.
TED conferences are a gold mine for young people wanting to learn and grow. Their slogan “ideas worth spreading” perfectly describes what they do as an organization. TED conferences LLC was created by Richard Saul Wurman in the year 1984. More than three decades later, it is now one of the most respected and treasured platforms for budding entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, and artists.
They post all their conferences on their YouTube channel. All content they post is totally free of cost. They post videos under categories like productivity, pseudo-science, astronomy, medical science, self-improvement, etc. Almost all of their videos have high quality and easy-to-understand content.
The major event is held once a year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Vancouver Convention Center. In this event, each speaker gives an 18-minute speech in the most entertaining and ingenious way. To give you a headstart, these are the 11 must-see TED talks of all time. I hope you learn a lot from them.
2. Lewis Howes
Lewis Howes has created one of the best YouTube channels for people looking for podcasts related to self-development and entrepreneurship. His podcast is called School of Greatness. Lewis had a troubled childhood. He was bullied, picked last in sports, and had unhealthy relationships with his peers. His misfortune inspired him to become a great professional athlete and now a successful entrepreneur.
On his YouTube channel, he interviews successful athletes, authors, artists, and business owners. Tony Robbins and Mark Manson are among the recent guests on his show. Only a few years ago, Lewis was financially broke and had to sleep on his sister’s couch. With hard work and determination, he is now one of the best mentors in the United States. He makes an impact on people’s lives through his podcasts, videos, books, online courses, and live events.
Evan Carmichael is a Canadian entrepreneur who created and sold a biotech software company at the tender age of 19. A couple of years later, he became a venture capitalist, helping people raise millions of dollars and making their dreams come true.
His entrepreneurial journey began when he was a kid. He sold art and baseball cards and held garage sales. But he took his first big leap when he was in university. He and his two friends built a biotech software company which went on to become very successful. Since then, Evan has been an entrepreneur and is now helping young people learn about it.
With over 1.8 million subscribers, Evan’s YouTube channel is one of the most popular in the entrepreneurship category. Check out his channel to learn more about his outlook on business and life.
Joe Rogan, the host, and creator of PowerfulJRE is also a successful stand-up comedian, mixed martial arts(MMA) color commentator, and a businessman. PowerfulJRE is the name of his YouTube channel. It has been the number one podcast on the internet for many years. Renowned personalities like Elon Musk and Neil Degrasse Tyson have been featured on his show.
The best thing about the Joe Rogan podcast is its format. It’s very simple and authentic. His guests share their stories and experiences with total spontaneity and honesty. For a listener, these stories can be inspirational and can trigger them to do great things in life. Joe is also a fitness and self-improvement junky. His main message to listeners is to do what they love and live a life full of adventure.
5. Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is the author of best-selling book 4-Hour Workweek, a self-help and time management book. He is also known as a life hacker as he won the 165 lb weight class at the 1999 USAWKF national Sanshou (Chinese kickboxing). He won the competition by tactically pushing the opponent fighter out of the ring. His strategy was so unexpected that the opponents had no answer to it. He also dehydrated himself before the weigh-in and rehydrated just before the match to gain an unfair advantage over the fighters.
Tim specializes in long-form content. On his YouTube channel, he posts podcast and quick tip videos. The podcasts last between 60-90 minutes. From start-ups to exotic teas, Tim talks on topics that he is passionate about.
6. Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a non-profit organization founded by Salman Khan in 2008. It is California-based and was created with the sole purpose of educating and training people across the world. On its website, you will find thousands of lectures and tutorials in almost all categories.
Khan Academy also has a YouTube channel where they post similar content. Its math courses are very popular among school kids. However, there has been some criticism of its general science and computer science sections. Some people reportedly find them difficult to understand and follow.
The Khan Academy YouTube channel has over 4.8 million subscribers. So, don’t miss out on the original and groundbreaking information Khan Academy has to provide.
7. Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is the author of the bestselling self-help book “Awaken The Giant Within”. He is also a world-renowned motivational speaker and business coach. Tony started his coaching career in his early 20s. Working along with Jim Rohn, he learned the ropes of the self-help industry.
On his YouTube channel, he posts motivational speeches and short clips of him changing people’s lives. In one instance, he cured a young man’s stuttering problem within seven minutes. The man couldn’t speak correctly for 30 years, and here he was, talking as if he never stuttered in his life. Tony knows how to inspire and motivate people. From time to time, everyone needs motivation. Subscribe to his channel to learn more about Tony’s life.
I hope you liked this list of Youtube channels that can potentially change your life. Some of these channels are so good that it is difficult to miss even a single video they post. But you can cherry-pick videos from other channels. For instance, I don’t listen to every podcast Tim Ferriss or Joe Rogan posts. I listen only when I can relate to the topic.
7 Qualities that Make You a Winner
Everyone wants to be a winner but does everyone have what needs to be one. We might not possess a lot of things from the time we cry for the first time, but with time we learn through teachings and experiences. Some skills are worth having just to survive, and some are needed to succeed.
Being a winner comes from within. The more you work on yourself, the more you will learn how to use yourself in the most efficient manner. To be a winner, you need a winner mindset, which doesn’t come from doubting yourself. Here are 7 qualities you need to be a winner in your life and business.
This is probably one of the most underrated and difficult quality to posses because it is not a skill you can have from birth. You might be raised with discipline, but self-discipline is something winners acquire through hard work and application.
It is not easy to change long acquired hurting habits, neither is it easy to ignore the constant distraction life keeps on throwing at you, but winners conquer this, way before actually becoming successful at their craft.
2. Not afraid to fail
Fear of failing is a common phenomenon; even the perennial winners go through this. What do they do differently you ask? Well, they fail. Failing early can be great for your life and career; it teaches you what not to do and how to handle difficult situations and when you need to take up responsibility.
People who have got it wrong many times and persist possibly know a lot more than people who had natural talents. Former United States Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy summed it up nicely by saying, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Fear, in general, makes us doubt ourselves, but as Jack Canfield righty said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
“Persist, persist, and persist” is what we are told by the greats of every field. It is a given really; every man on the quest for success knows that he needs to persist in order to get what he wants. What stops us then? What makes us not follow this, simple yet difficult to execute, strategy?
Well, you can blame it on the impatience and restlessness of the human mind. Keeping on hoping for different things if something doesn’t work out and giving up when we see even a slight chance of our hard work going to waste comes naturally to most of us. Fighting this urge is necessary to achieve big and it is certainly not easy. Winners master to persist. It is a cliche that we can only see the glitters and confetti when someone has achieved great heights but rarely can anyone fathom the hard work put in to get there.
4. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone has weaknesses, and the sooner you identify and acknowledge them, the better. What defines a winner is their unmatched mental strength to know what they can do better than most people and where they lack behind. They plan their battles knowing about themselves; they maximize their strengths and minimize the impact that their weaknesses have on their craft.
Winners keep on improving themselves and believe every day is a learning process and every person they meet can be a teacher. Japanese author Susaku Endo puts it into perspective by saying, “Every weakness contains within itself a strength.”
6. Belief in your dreams
As the old saying goes, “You need to believe in your own dreams for others to start believing.” This is a fundamental mindset of an achiever. When no one believes in you, everyone writes you off; it’s you who has to believe in your own potential. No one can know you better than yourself.
In a lot of competitive sports when there is a clear underdog, experts usually say that matches are won and lost in the head and not on the field. Some extract pleasure out of having themselves against the wall and some drop their weapons. If you give your best even while knowing there are better chances of the opposition winning you have a slim chance of getting over the line, although, if you give up in your mind, there are no chances of you winning.
7. A never-say-die attitude
Failure is a part of life, it is a cliche, but how someone copes with it defines how they move ahead in life. Failure can be heartbreaking and can make you give up your dreams, but that is where most people leave the race.
Winners pull themselves through the hard times and learn from their mistakes, getting stronger with every mistake. A mistake is nothing but one way that doesn’t work, and if you know that well you won’t make that mistake over again. Winners never give up, their calmness under pressure and temperament ride them through the rough patches. How you deal with it is important.
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