Reading is comparable to exercise. Most business owners and successful designers know that they should exercise and read more than they do currently. Easier said than done. It’s difficult to make the time for both. When you come home from the showroom, most likely you are tired and hungry and not motivated to go for a run or pick up a book. Let’s make the case for reconsidering. In his five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that most don’t watch television. Instead, 86% claimed they read and more than 63% said they listened to audio books on their daily commute.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and many other self-made billionaires are avid readers. In a New York Times interview, Gates related that one of the chief ways he learns is to read. How can you create the time to follow the examples of many of the world’s most successful people? Consider the five-hour rule. It’s straightforward and easily implemented. Spend one hour each day reading.
The concept of spending at least an hour a day learning may date back to Colonial America, and Ben Franklin who would wake up early in the morning to read and write. Franklin set goals and tracked his progress, creating clubs for artisans and tradesmen who would gather to help improve their skill set and lot in life, not dissimilar to BKBG's Peer Groups and Shareholder Council.
Elon Musk claims that reading taught him how to build rockets that lead to the establishment of SpaceX.
To make it easier for you to follow the five-hour rule, start with small chunks, maybe 20 to 30 minutes a day reading and/or reflecting on the day’s activities and thinking about lessons learned if any or about the bigger picture. Reflecting on the past allows you to capitalize on lessons learned from mistakes and build on successes.
To get started, schedule time in your calendar for reading, reflecting or thinking and ask yourself simple questions such as how can this information that I just read help my business or what are the key points that the author is conveying.
Experiment with what you read and learned is the final piece of the five-hour rule puzzle. If Franklin did not experiment flying kites in rainstorms, would he have ever discovered electricity? We have Gmail because Google allows its team members to spend 20% of their time experimenting or pursuing new ideas.
In Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, University of Pennsylvania Professor Adam Grant advised to take a scientific approach to innovation, experiment and learning. Most scientific experiments fail, but from those failures comes knowledge that is leveraged to create successes.