By: EARL HEARD, CEO and Founder
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
According to recent research, only seven out of 10 American adults have read a book within the past year, whether in whole or in part. I wish this number was 10 out of 10 adults, and not just one book per year but several titles, including fiction and nonfiction. Why? I was fortunate enough to learn the value of a book and the importance of reading early on in life. When I was in school at Istrouma Senior High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1959, the school newspaper ran an article that explained the value of a book and, more importantly, reading. The story asked, “What person could sit down and explain anything to someone with the clarity of a book? What person is as patient as a book, which explains a matter as many times as a reader’s eyes desire to rescan the lines of its pages?”
Personally, three sentences I always love to hear people say are “I am a Christian,” “My family life is great” and “I love to read.” Studies have shown the most successful people read an average of two to three hours per day. It’s said reading is a first step for many things, which builds more solid stairs to climb to achieve something great. Reading is an excellent activity for exposing yourself to new ideas, self-improvement, gaining experiences from other people, and boosting your imagination and creativity. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A man is known by the books he reads.” I believe this to be true, but I also believe everything we read, watch and listen to makes us who we are.
We’re all taught early on how reading is crucial to our development, growth and education. If you fell behind with your reading skills while in school, you were placed in the “remedial” reading class. If you read a certain number of books in a school year, you received a reward or prize. As adults, there’s no one to watch over us to encourage continuous learning and reading. It can be difficult to read, whether it’s in the form of a book, magazine or newspaper, because of our hectic schedules at work and home. But it is up to us to make time, continue to read and, in a greater sense, continue to learn.
Just as doctors, lawyers and accountants must have ongoing training, we must all be continuously learning throughout our everyday lives. Whether it’s reading a book or magazine, watching a documentary, visiting a museum or traveling somewhere new, it’s important to have that passion and joy for learning. Here at BIC Alliance, one of our cornerstones of success is trying to instill in everyone both a joy for reading and a passion for learning. In fact, we felt so strongly about continuous learning, we included 80 of our best lessons in BIC Media Solutions’ book, “Earl’s Pearls,” which is available for complimentary download at www.BICMediaSolutions.com.
Another reason we have to continue to learn, particularly in the 21st century, is the speed of change. The speed of change in today’s technology is one way to look at the importance of continuous learning. For example, social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn didn’t exist a few years ago. Now they’re some of the most popular social media sites, and they’re being used in every industry and to conduct sales.
Whether you’re a small-sized local contractor or a global billion-dollar oil and gas company, hiring individuals who maintain a passion for learning is a must. A passion for learning can make a person great. And as the author Jim Collins wrote in his book, “Good to Great,” “Greatness is not primarily a function of circumstance, but largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”
I recommend joining trade and industry organizations that encourage learning the most current information and sharing ideas. I also recommend not only reading BIC Magazine and other important educational or inspirational materials but also tabbing articles and sharing them with others. Whether it is reading, on-the-job training or watching educational/inspirational TV and films, by dedicating yourself to continuous learning, you can get ahead in every aspect of your life. All it takes is a little commitment. Remember, the more you learn, the more you earn.
For more information about the importance of reading and continuous learning, visit www.BICMediaSolutions.com or call (800) 460-4242.