If there was one key habit that could add two years to your life and didn’t include a gym membership, jog, or work out, how quickly would you sign up?
What if this same habit could reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s by 2.5 times?
More importantly, what if this same habit played a foundational role in being a great leader?
At this point, who would say no?
Yale University School of Public Health found those who read a chapter or two a day from a book (not newspapers or magazines) experienced a 20% survival benefit.
In a study being done on Alzheimer’s, those engaging in intellectual activities (of which reading is king) were 2.5 times less likely to get the disease.
It’s obvious reading has significant health benefits; but more importantly, the same activity that impacts your health also plays a dramatic role in growing your leadership.
For those of you who don’t enjoy reading, don’t jump ship on me just yet. The leadership habit that can add years to your life can also be fun.
Here are a few tips to improve your long-term health and leadership skills, and make it fun at the same time.
Read for pleasure.
If you hate reading, this sounds a little counterintuitive. So instead of taking a pass on reading, find reading that’s fun. I love fiction, and when I am on vacation, I consume fiction like a starving teenager at Golden Corral. Fiction is far and away the most popular genre and is always fun to read. So, I challenge you to chase out the fiction subjects and authors that make reading a pleasure.
Today a reader, tomorrow a leader. —W. Fusselman
Ask your friends.
One of my boys grew up with a love for sports yet didn’t really enjoy reading. But he connected to books about his favorite teams, players, and coaches. Now he’s put me onto some great sports books. So much so, they’re becoming some of my favorite type of leadership books to read. A friend put me onto a great military book that I would put in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Friends tend to like and enjoy similar things, so talk to your friends and find out what they love to read.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. —Joseph Addison
Ditch bad books.
There is a common belief that if we start a book, we need to finish it. I put this ‘old school’ thinking into the same category as needing to finish everything on my plate. If a book is taking every ounce of your willpower to pick it up, then put it back on the shelf. Recently there was a leadership book that came highly recommended. I bought it and immediately jumped in. Three chapters later I deleted it off my kindle; it was awful. Don’t force yourself to read terrible books when there are so many great books out there.
Comics are a gateway drug to literacy. —Art Spiegelman
Mix things up.
When you’re on a steady diet of the same kind of books, the desire to read can wane. So, when the desire to read feels like going to work on Monday morning, it’s time to change things up. For me, this means it’s time for fiction, sports, or military leadership books. I also have a few authors I love to read and reading anything they’ve written is a breath of fresh air. So, mix things up often.
Reading is essential to learning and leadership is intrinsically tied to learning. The bonus is reading will extend your life and leadership will make you a person people will follow.
Creating A Thirst For Leadership
What Leaders Read
The One Leadership Trait That Trumps All Others
Findings suggest that the benefits of reading books include a longer life in which to read them.
2.5 times less likely to get Alzheimer’s for those people that engage in intellectual activities.