Reading Breeds Success

“I wish I had more time to read.”

Do you find yourself saying the above? I definitely do. It seems that when I make the time to pick up an article, a book, anything, I become engrossed in it and can’t put it down. Though conversations and interactions have the power of being enlightened, nothing pushes my analytical buttons like reading a well developed argument. But I have to remind myself to make time to do it. Too often, when I get home from a long day at work, I want to just “shut off my brain”. But the reality is that reading is like exercise for the brain, it reenergizes it.

In his blog post entitled The Most Important Thing You Can Do…, Mitch Joel explains how some of the most successful people he encounters are avid readers, and even writers. I particularly appreciate when Mitch shares the following observation:

The majority of newspaper and magazine articles are probably right on the edge of valuable reading, but the guts of reading that will truly make you smart and successful comes from the high brow stuff. The books, periodicals and longer thought/research pieces.

Mitch goes on to write:

The depth, the journey, the time alone that allows your own brain to wander and think is a critical part of where creativity and originality come from.

Kudos Mitch! I truly relate to this statement and feel too many people become satisfied with surface knowledge of things and neglect to dig deeper. Granted, we cannot be experts in every field, but specifically in our professional field, we must ensure that we include quality pieces in our reading diet.

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This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Getting Ideas Off the Ground

In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about how one must work at becoming successful, presenting Doug Belshaw’s reflections. Rosabeth Moss Kanter made a post along the same lines that presents five powers that successfully get ideas of the ground, which are:

  1. Showing up: the importance of being there in person.
  2. Speaking up: the framing the debate and articulating the consensus.
  3. Teaming up: the importance of partners, teams and communities.
  4. Looking up: the importance of seeing the picture, articulating setting strong values and setting sights high.
  5. Not giving up: the importance of persevering and being optimistic.

I can personally speak to the importance of these five powers. The first power, in particular, is an important one to remind ourselves of. In this era of digital communication and Web conferencing, there is nothing like being face to face with someone to foster strong relationship building.

The blogger concludes by reminding us that:

Achieving goals is always a matter of hard work, and success is never guaranteed.

And of course, as W.C. Fields put it:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Every effort brought forward, every attempt is a learning opportunity and valuable experience.

Reference:

Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Successful People Work at Being Successful

Doug Belshaw wrote a great reflection piece yesterday on the qualities of being successful.

Talent doesn’t make you successful because talent is just a word which sums up three different character traits. These can all be developed; they’re not ‘innate’.

People who are successful tend to be:

  1. Confident
  2. Tenacious
  3. Articulate

I quite like Doug’s perspective as it suggests that if someone applies themselves, they have the capacity to be successful. I compare this perspective the Roman Philosopher Seneca’s quote:

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Equally as powerful is a quote from motivational speaker Bob Nelson:

The biggest mistake in life is to think that you work for someone else. True, you may have a boss and you may collect a paycheck from a company but ultimately, you are the master of your own destiny. You decide what potential you reach in your career and what you will eventually accomplish in your life.

The bottom line is that people aren’t just successful or lucky, but rather they work at it.

Reference:

Initially published on Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today