And Winston Churchill.
And Vince Flynn’s fictitious American Assassin, Mitch Rapp.
These are just a few of the wonderful characters I’ve got to know by averaging 100 pages of reading every single day in 2017.
At the beginning of every year, I used to set a “reading challenge” goal for myself.
First it was 50 books in a year. Then 55.
Every year I found myself scrambling during the final weeks of the year to finish my books.
This year I tried something different: A 100-page-a-day manifesto.
It’s September 5 and I’ve already completed 60 books.
So, beyond simply reading, how does it make me a better entrepreneur?
Forces Me to be an Early Bird.
The only time I really have available to read is early in the morning.
So, I wake up at around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. to read.
No checking email. No logging on to any device.
I read. I escape. I enjoy.
By the time I’m done reading 100 pages, I’ve finished my coffee.
I’ve awoken my brain.
And then I’m ready to start working … from a “running” start.
It Sets the Tone for the Day
Reading 100 pages every single day is like making your bed.
It’s a small accomplishment, but sets the tone.
As Admiral William H. McRaven, former commander of U.S. Special Operations said in a commencement speech (and now a book) to University of Texas grads:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
It Plays to my Strengths
Take a look at the descriptions of each of these strengths to see what I mean:
Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Context: People who are especially talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.
Intellection: People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions … It’s very likely that you derive much personal pleasure from reading.
Given these strengths, it’s pretty obvious why I enjoy reading history, biographies, and management and leadership books.
By utilizing my strengths every single day, I keep my mind sharp and engaged.
According to Gallup (who runs the StrengthsFinder program), people who know their talents and have the opportunity to use them at work are 6 times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and 3 times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.
Further, people who use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity.
Technically, by reading early in the morning, I’m utilizing my strengths before (and not during) work, but in getting the day started off right, I stay engaged for the entire work day.
Instead of waking up dreading the work day, I get up energized and excited to read something new.
Do you have any habits that help energize your work day?
Please let me know in the comments!