According to one of the biggest surveys carried out in US, where data was taken from all across the globe, an average human being is likely to spend 4 years commuting to and from workplace, 3 years opening junk emails, and another 6 years in one or the other queue (whether online or physical), waiting for his or her turn. This accrues to a startling 13 years of your life!!
Now, assuming that an average individuals life span is 80 years, half of which (ie 40 years) goes in doing mandatory activities of life like sleeping etc, what it effectively means is that you are spending approximately 1/3rd of your life (13 out of available 40 productive years) in an absolutely unproductive manner. When I first heard this, I was shocked. Later on, I realized that this is not surprising at all. It has been a known fact since ages that success lies within knowing such finer aspects of life, which goes unnoticed by any average human being.
We learnt a great deal about success from such “smaller” things in life in one of our earlier posts – Big Things Will Happen By Doing Little Things Right
Given these startling facts, one of the simplest and yet the most powerful time management strategies that you can implement is to always carry your favorite book with you – whether it is a hard copy or a soft copy in your favorite palm top or MP3 player. While others are waiting in line or in traffic and complaining, you are hooked to the wisest knowledge available from across the globe and directly feeding your brain with the best of the ideas possible.
Abraham Lincoln once said:
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.
That is so true. Just imagine what kind of ideas books can give you. I have an habit of always keeping one book in my bag just for that extra unproductive time. I always have some MP3 audio books or motivational speeches in my mobile, which I listen to while commuting to and from office.
They already had a huge impact on my life. While I was going through my journey of financial freedom, I read 500+ books in less than 2 years (almost a book every day). I cannot explain you enough, the value this habit of book reading added to my journey. It is something difficult to explain but I can relate that these books helped in each phase of my journey starting from keeping my momentum going, to giving me new ideas, to even inspiring me to write a book of my own (From Rat Race to Financial Freedom). These repositories of wisdom helped me every time I was in a fix. Almost everything that I achieved in this journey is courtesy these books that I read. If you ever happen to visit my house, I would be delighted to show you a drawing room full of books. I still feel, I need more.
As goes a famous old saying:
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
Yet, I hardly see many people in the habit of reading good books after completing their formal education. On the other hand, all it takes is one great idea from a great book to transform your life or reshape your character. How successful you are in your life will not be determined by how hard you work but how great you think. And what can be a better source of ideas and thinking pattern than a book well written. The person you will be 5 years from now will be determined by two primary factors: the people you associate yourself with & the books you read.
I remember playing badminton when I was 10 years old. I was just an average player. But whenever I used to get a chance to play with someone who was superior (in badminton skills) to me, I would always come up with those special smashes and drop shots that would make myself feel proud of my game. What changed when playing with a more skilled player? I was the same, my knowledge about the game was the same. It is just that I was now involved with someone better than me. This involvement just uplifted my entire game. It is precisely the same thing that happens when you read books from the greatest minds all across the globe. You will see your thinking and idea generation capacity just gets a face lift, and you start rising to a whole new level of wisdom.
Many of the wisest and most knowledgeable greats of this planet are ready to share their depth of knowledge and experience with you, through their books. Why would you not seize this opportunity? It is all up to you to reach out to the next book in your nearest book store and make a difference to your own life.
Nothing can do what a book can do. Lifts you out of your life… to a whole new world, whole new perspective. A book is like a dream you’re borrowing from a friend.