There is more treasure in books than all pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. -Walt Disney-

Continuing education is a must for everybody, regardless of your ambitions. The people who get the most out of life are not those who settle into cosy routines and accept expected outcomes. The people we look to and consider successful, whether in business or as a human being, are those whose curiosity and willingness to learn are never dampened.

One of the greatest bits of business advice I ever received was to make reading a habit. That doesn’t seem like business advice on its face, especially if you are the type who gravitates more towards cheap romance novels, but I assure you there are numerous benefits to taking the time to read each day.

Not only will your vocabulary and command of language improve, but you will improve your cognitive ability and neuron health. Keeping your mind active and engaged is one way to stave off brain drain. We all know people who struggle to adapt to new routines, process new information and master new technologies. Reading helps to maintain your neuroplasticity, which is a fancy way of saying, it makes it easy for your brain to learn new things. So, if you want to look like a whiz in front of your boss, make it a point to pick up a book every day.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. -Dr. Seuss-

You never know where the next new idea will come from. Make it a habit to read something about your industry every day. Staying aware of current trends in your industry is one way that you can maintain control of the direction of your career. Business and financial publications release interviews with leaders and trendsetters in every major industry. Take the time to educate yourself about where the industry is going, as well as what skills, habits, and characteristics make you an ideal candidate for your dream job.

The idea that fast reading is good reading is a twentieth-century weed, springing out of the stony farmland cultivated by the computer manufacturers. -Susan Wise Bauer-

Our lives are full of competing screens. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, and television demand our attention every minute of the day. Many people don’t even get out of bed before checking their phone for notifications, email, or news. The result is that our attention spans are incredibly short. Learning to completely focus on one thing, consuming it slowly and in depth, is a skill that many people lack. It is also a skill that is necessary to master any craft. Whether you are reading a print book or an e-book, focusing on one thing for an extended period helps to train the mind and increase focus.

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. -Lemony Snicket-

A common characteristic of successful people is that they have a mastery mindset. Whatever it is that they pursue, they pursue it until they master it. They continue to perfect their craft, whether it be cooking or accounting, updating their knowledge and learning new techniques. An active reading habit is part of that mastery. Have you ever heard of a serious scholar who wasn’t invested in his books?

As you move into the labour market and begin to develop habits for success, make sure that a regular reading habit is one of them. Your brain and your bank account will thank you later.

Written by Jameka Neil