This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Reading expands your vocabulary, opens your mind to new pathways, and drives inspiration and innovation. And just like eating healthy or working out, its effects are most meaningful when we do it consistently.
When we’re children, we learn new vocabulary through the stories our parents read aloud to us at night. And though the books we read in adulthood may be a bit more sophisticated, their purpose is essentially the same. By reading every day, we are introduced to new vocabulary, including words that may label something we have already been doing (such as the “lean startup movement” I mentioned) or have long been curious about. The more vocabulary we learn, the better our communication will be, allowing us to easily network and engage with our coworkers.
You can pass these lessons on to your team, too. Emphasize learning and create a shared lexicon by offering to buy certain books for team members and shipping them directly to their homes. Using books on specific topics of interest is a great way to create a shared understanding of your goals without spending hours telling each person individually.
Communicating effectively is a crucial skill for all leaders, and reading is one of the most effective ways to expand your Rolodex of communication skills.
A reader is always willing to open their mind to the ideas of others — otherwise, they wouldn’t read. And this same openness is present in those with a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is one of the first things I look for when hiring new employees. I am almost always going to hire a person who may know less about the job but displays a willingness to grow, learn and put in the work over a more experienced but pompous candidate. Reading inherently fosters a growth mindset. You are exposed to new ideas and new ways of doing things with every book you pick up — some you will agree with, and some you may not. Regardless, what matters is that we stay humble and open to the fact that there will always be people who know more than us about a particular topic or, at the very least, have a new perspective on it.
Furthermore, when we read, our unconscious mind naturally chews on the material we put in our brain, even when we aren’t actively reading or even thinking about the content itself. Once we get into the growth-based mindset and are feeding our minds with new and exciting information, our brains take off, leading to creative problem-solving and far-reaching growth.
Reading can bring us back to that childlike sense of discovery and inspiration — the belief that superheroes just might be real, Santa Claus does exist and magic is possible. Regardless of where you stand on superheroes, inspiration and imagination are key to business, spurring creativity and facilitating progress toward our goals. And when we’re searching for inspiration, there is no better place to look than a book.
When we read about how someone has persevered through personal struggle, we are inspired to continue on ourselves. Or, when a CEO details their rise to the top, we may gain new insight into how to solve problems in our own business. There is nothing new under the sun, and if there is something you are working on or struggling with, the chances are that someone else has struggled with it, too — they may have even written a whole book about it. By reading about how others have gone about paths similar to our own, we may even be able to avoid costly mistakes down the line.
Whether you are growing a business, building a team or product, or developing a new skill, reading is a great way to unlock ideas and build excitement about the potential for you or your team to accomplish your goals.
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