Entrepreneurs are an interesting bunch. For most of us, we’re embarking on a journey that’s fairly unique. There’s not a lot of overlap between different start-up experiences; everyone has different hurdles to jump over and barriers to break through. We may face similar issues, but, in different ways.
Since there isn’t a cut and dry outline for every type of business or start-up, entrepreneurs need to be constantly learning and adapting. This goes hand-in-hand with an obsession many of the top minds in business experience: getting better.
The business world is full of life-hacks, productivity-boosters, and other buzzwords that simply equal, ‘getting better, getting more optimized.’ If you want to succeed and thrive in this incredibly competitive atmosphere; you have to one-up the other guys.
So how do you get started? How do you get into the obsession of optimizing yourself and becoming an entrepreneurial powerhouse?
First, we’ll save the isolation tanks and ice baths for later (I did say this becomes an obsession). For now, let’s start with an incredibly easy exercise that is scientifically proven to be mind-blowingly beneficial. And that’s reading.
Reading an actual book every day is one of the most beneficial things anyone can do for their mind. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and business owners that want to stay one step ahead of the competition. But what are some other reasons you should start reading at least some of a book every day?
The road traveled by an entrepreneur is seldom a care-free and casual experience. Building a business is like becoming a top performing athlete; constantly working to become better. This usually leads to a lot of stress for many entrepreneurs.
This is just one area where throwing a little fiction into your reading rotation can really pay off. Every now and then the most beneficial thing we can do for ourselves, or our businesses, and everyone around us is to just step away for a moment.
Temporarily getting swept away in a story, even for a short period, will help you relax and melt away tensions. This leads to a fresh mind when you’re ready to get back to that frustrating obstacle.
Strengthen Analytical Thinking
Good books demand your full attention. There can be a lot going on and all this does is exercise your brain’s ability to analyze everything going on in a situation.
For a quick example (and homework if you’d like), try reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Reading this book is like forcing your mind through a CrossFit competition. For starters, there’s an incredible number of events going on and a huge cast of characters through the story itself. But, to top it off, part of the reading experience is that you are constantly flipping to the back of the book to read one of the hundreds of pages of footnotes.
The need for strong analytical skills is strong. If you don’t have them yet, this could be a step in helping you hone that particular skillset.
Develop Greater Focus
Focus is something most of humanity is experiencing a struggle with at the moment. While instant access to all kinds of different information is definitely a good thing; it can backfire on us in a couple ways.
We are becoming conditioned to keep some attention on our social media, check for emails, making sure notifications aren’t silent on our phones; doing all of this while trying to get some real work done.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is read for a little while in the morning to start your day. You don’t need to wake up 3 hours earlier to insure you put “the good part” of a book away before breakfast. 15-30 minutes of reading in the morning will reap some amazing benefits for your work day. People who read before work generally find themselves having an easier time focusing on the tasks at-hand and just getting them done.
Stimulate Your Mind
Newton’s first law of motion (or inertia) is: An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion.
This concept has been applied to several different areas of life, not just physics. For aging people, the more active they are (or stay) usually has a direct influence on how they age.
The same can be said for our minds. Or, the infinitely simplified “use it or lose it”. Reading regularly keeps your brain going to the gym every day and off the Jazzy when it goes to get groceries. There are even studies that show reading (as well as other mentally stimulating activities like playing Go) can slow the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
These are just a fistful of reasons you should add reading a book to your daily routine as an entrepreneur. You’ll also become more knowledgeable, build a stronger vocabulary and become a better writer! These are all things every entrepreneur should be pursuing if they want to be at the top of their game.