Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Some people you meet, and they go. Others you meet, and they stay with you forever. I am not one who enjoys listening to motivational talks. I have given several speeches personally over the years. And like all speakers, there is that feeling of hubris that ‘I know it all.’ It is a bad feeling as it invites us not to improve.
But this changed sometime back in 2007 on my very first trip to South Africa. In the hotel I had been booked, there was a bookshop. I entered and looked at the shelves. I saw a man on a cover of a book, with a caption “Tremendous Leadership” by Charlie ‘Tremendous Jones. I bought it and that is one of the best investments I have ever done. On the book cover below the author’s photo was a caption: “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” The book is filled with so many insights to share here. On the first page of the book is the quote “Leaders are readers.”
Now let’s face facts.
It is estimated that over 80% of Ugandans do not read any non-fictional book after their formal education. This means that eight out of every 10 Ugandans do not read books after graduating. Add the high levels of illiteracy in the country, you have over nine out of every 10 Ugandans ignorant. This means that if you read, you are an expert compared to the rest of the people just because they do not read.
One of the sure way to excel in your career is through reading books. I learnt a lot early in my career by reading books. I started with a collection of all laws of the Republic of Uganda, including the Constitution and reading it. Through reading I have learnt that majority of people buy books and just put them on display. They find pleasure in others seeing books on their shelves as if they have read them. You need to read a book, letter by letter, word by word from page to page.
I have found that having a book accountability partner is the best strategy to read and complete books. Your accountability partner who has read the book, asks five questions from the book which you must answer only if you have read the book fully. Because you are expected to reproduce exact words from different pages in the book, you are compelled to read it fully to find answers. This strategy has worked well for the executives under my mentorship program, who must make time to read and expand their thinking faculties.
This year, it is not just enough to buy a book. You must read each word on all the pages from start to finish. And as Charlie wrote in his powerful book, “Leaders are readers.” What kind of books are you reading? You don’t have to tell people the books you have read. Just start practicing the insights you have learnt from the books. Remember that there is no such thing as a bad book.
Bernabas M. Mugisa, Mr. Strategy, helps plant the seed of transformation. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com to transform your life today. No one is too good to be great. Are you?