I read my first book, Think and Grow Rich, at the age of 26. Reading and studying that book changed my life so dramatically that I’ve read every day since.
People often ask about my study habits, so I’m sharing my process with you today. Before I get into it, however, I want to share two things with you that explain my unconventional approach to reading.
If You Study to Remember…
I want to share a quote from a book titled College Sense: What College And High School Advisors Don’t Tell You About College. The author is unknown, but the quote reads, “If you study to remember, you will forget. If you study to understand, you will remember.”
Here’s why those statements are important…
Education isn’t about hammering information in. It is a process of drawing the very best out of ourselves. The word, education, comes from the Latin word, Educo, which means educe, develop, or draw from within.
So, if you study only to remember—and that’s what most people do—you will forget. But if you study to understand, you will remember because understanding creates awareness. You create a consciousness that you will never lose.
333 North Michigan
Studying to understand was driven into my mind back in 1966 on one of the most memorable days of my life.
You see, I was a very fortunate young guy that day—I had managed to get a full hour to interview Earl Nightingale.
I was pretty nervous when I arrived at Earl’s office on North Michigan Avenue because I had been studying his work for a long time, and my life had changed because of it.
Fortunately, as Earl and I talked, I began to loosen up. At some point, I noticed a wooden stand on his desk, and I asked him what it was.
Earl said it was a book holder to keep a book open at a specific place.
“Isn’t that kind of awkward for turning the pages?” I asked.
“I don’t change the page.”
I was confused.
“You don’t change the page?” I asked.
Earl said, “Bob, you know that repetition is required to change your behavior. You have to put an idea in your subconscious mind over and over and over again. So, I pick an idea on a page that I want, and I read it until I find myself doing it.”
I’ve been using a book holder ever since.
Read Something Every Day
But I don’t just read a book; I really study it.
It’s not unusual for me to read the same paragraph a thousand times or the same page every day for months. Not long ago, for instance, I had a book on my desk that was open to a page where I read the same two paragraphs every day for six to eight months.
Because I know it’s essential to read to understand and apply, not to remember like I would if I were studying for a test.
So, here are my study habits:
1. Find a book that can teach you to be, do, or have something you really want.
2. Study it every day. (I study early in the morning, usually for about an hour.)
3. Read it slowly to try to understand the truth of what the author meant.
4. When you come across an idea that attracts or intrigues you, read it over and over (day after day, week after week, month after month), even if you’ve memorized it.
5. When you can apply what you’ve been reading (the idea is planted in your subconscious mind), move on to the next paragraph or page and repeat the process
Study Leads to Success
You know, I used to blame my circumstances of not making much money on the fact that I didn’t have a formal education or business experience. But once I started studying, I discovered it had nothing to do with either one of those things and everything to do with my self-image.
Don’t let a lack of awareness keep you from excelling in life. You can find EVERYTHING you could ever want to know in personal development books that interest you.
As you’re studying, keep this in mind …
You already have everything you need to succeed locked up inside you. Reading and studying draw out and develop what’s already within. It empowers you to be your best self by developing more of your untapped potential.
To your success,