One Powerful Habit Your Future Self Will Thank You For By Dr. Raza Hussain, MD

One Powerful Habit Your Future Self Will Thank You For

I’ll give you a hint… look at the image below.

One Powerful Habit Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Hmmm….what could this habit be? It’s not goat yoga, making coffee at home to save a few bucks, watching Saved By The Bell reruns, or waking up at 4 am everyday to be super productive.

Powerful Habit, It’s READING.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have always loved books, but was always bad about finishing the books I would start. Then at age 31, I magically started to read some of the books collecting dust on my bookshelf. Then it was the snowball effect. I have read over 1,000 books in the past 10 years. I started with physical books and then switched to audiobooks. Audible is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Why Read?-Benefits of Reading

  • It opens up your mind and enhances your awareness of how the world works…and your place in it…and how you can make your mark
  • Makes you realize how much you really don’t know about anything
  • It helps you generate ideas to do more with your life-make more money, develop your potential, enhance your creativity, build a career, nurture relationships
  • Makes you the most interesting person in the room
  • You can annoy your significant other with all of the new things you’re learning
  • You can come up with an idea to change the world
  • You become a new and better version of yourself every 6 to 12 months

The average U.S. life expectancy is around 78.7 years. When you really think about it that isn’t much time. When you factor in sleep, eating, work, Netflix, and the rabbit hole of the internet it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

In this current world where everyone is barraged by the news, 3 tips for this, productivity hacks for that, YouTube videos, Hulu, and social media…your attention becomes a currency…a very scarce currency. You have to be very strategic and diligent about what you do with your “free” time.

How to Find Hidden Time to Read

There’s “hidden” time throughout the day to read. When you’re sitting in a doctor’s office. In line at the grocery store. Commuting to work. In the bathroom. At the gym on the treadmill. While you’re cleaning. I prefer Audible because you can speed up books to 2X or faster and finish a book in a few hours. You’ll get used to the speed pretty quickly. I make it a priority to “read” or rather listen to one audiobook per day. When I tell people that it blows their mind. They always say, “How do you find the time for that?!”

I’ve listened to over 700 audiobooks and will continue to do this for the rest of my life.

“Never begrudge the money you spend on your own education.”

— Jim Rohn

I love this quote by Jim Rohn because if you’re serious about improving your life with books it can get pricey. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years on physical books and audiobooks. It was worth every penny. You also don’t have to spend a dime since good ole Andrew Carnegie helped to fulfill his own dream of funding libraries all over the country.

What Should You Read

I prefer nonfiction audiobooks and like to leave my fiction entertainment to Netflix. But you do you. If you love reading Harry Potter books or anything by Stephen King then go for it. I started reading self help pioneers like Jim Rohn and Bob Proctor. Then it just snowballed from there. Now there are all kinds of thought leaders out there in whatever you want.

You should read books from different genres. James Altucher has this concept called “idea sex” where you take two different ideas and combine them into something brand new. When you read lots of different books from different genres you can come up with your next business idea.

How to Read a Book

I look for 1 big idea in every book. Maybe 2 big ideas tops that represent the book as a whole. So if you read 1,000 books that’s maybe 2,000 new ideas you can come across! Think what you could do with that knowledge and those ideas. If you combine ideas like James Altucher talks about the sky is the limit in what you can create.

Read for as little or as long as you can. Consistency is what matters. When reading a physical book the retention rate is roughly 10% and it’s roughly 20% when listening to an audiobook. So if there’s a book that really resonates with you it will benefit you to read it again and again.

Conclusion

In this distracted world we live in, READING is hands down the most “bang for your buck” activity you can do. Yes I know there is intermittent fasting, journaling, meditation, blah blah blah. If you make a habit out of reading you will never be the same again. We only have a finite amount of time on this planet and I’m more aware of how I use my time each day. I don’t let a single day go by now without reading or learning something new. Now go make your future self proud and start reading.

Raza Hussain, MD

Addiction Medicine Physician. Author. Featured in Shape Magazine. Currently, in Nashville, TN.