By: Tina Baiter
A few years ago I embarked on a career change. I had negotiated a salaried position as part of the change with an assumed 40 hour work week. Shortly after starting, I was assigned a book to read. I remember thinking at the time, “If I have to read this book for work, I’m going to do it on company time.”
In my second month of employment, I was assigned yet another book to read. I remember thinking, “Perhaps I should have negotiated a higher pay rate because having to spend $20 a month on books is really cutting into my salary. If these people think I need to read all these books for their company, they need to pay for them. I can’t afford this.”
My perspective at the time was very closed minded. Like most people my age (26 then), I had not read many books since leaving college. Books were for the classroom. And like most people my age, I thought I worked for a company owned by someone else. I would give them 40 hours of my time in exchange for a paycheck, and the other 128 hours a week were for me to spend in leisure.
Thank goodness my perspective changed. I wish I could say my perspective changed sooner than it did because I would be much further ahead in life – six months further to be exact. By the sixth book assignment, I started wanting to read the books because I noticed something inside me growing and changing. I also picked up on a handy little tip – if you read 10 pages a day, you can easily finish a book in a month and not really miss a moment of time. Now, I usually read one to three chapters a day, but reading 10 pages a day was a great starting point for me.
I also no longer look at books as an expense. Instead, I find they are one of the greatest investments I can make in my future. I’ve also learned I can build my book library fairly cheaply by shopping in the bargain book section at my local book store or at my local library’s monthly book sale. Another really neat trick I have found is that many books can be read in almost their entirety for free on-line via Google Books. In other words, I no longer allow other people to use the excuse, “I can’t afford to buy a book,” when I suggest they start reading more.
This month, I am reading out of three different books. Two of the books focus on how to become better at sharing your message on the internet. They are books I have been reading out of for the last four months. It has taken me a while to get through them for two reasons: (1) they are both well over 1,000 pages each and (2) I am taking time to implement the lessons I learn in each chapter. The time I have spent reading from these two books over the last few months has garnered me more knowledge about sales and marketing than I ever learned in college. The ironic part, I never would have read the books if I had not developed a good reading habit thanks to a great boss.
The third book I am “reading” this month is actually an audio book series by Tony Robbins. I have already listened to 3 audio books as part of this series, and the month is only halfway through. Because I spend a great deal of time traveling in my car, I have found that listening to audio books is a great way to get in my “monthly” reading and expand my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to sing along to the radio every now and then. But my perspective on entertainment has changed. While listening to the radio can be fun and relaxing, it really doesn’t help me grow as a person. Listening to the audio books actually makes my time in the car feel productive.
Productivity and continually knowledge are keys to success. It has been said, “The only difference between the person you are today and the person you’ll become, is the books you read and the people you surround yourself with.” What books are you reading? If you don’t have a good answer to that question, then I suggest you pick-up a book today and get a good answer.