What blogs do entrepreneurs read every day

The 5-hour rule: How daily reading leads us to success

Switch off and put your feet up after a hard day's work, everyone is allowed. There are just those days when our vigor is only enough for eating, Netflix and sleeping. However, not every working day should end there. If you strive for success in your professional life, it is unfortunately essential to use part of your free time for self-improvement. At least that's what the most successful people in the world do.

Books pave the way to success

Admittedly, reading actually improves our lives is not a new finding. A five-year study found that 86 percent of the 200 self-made millionaires surveyed would read. The canon of literature does not only include entertaining works, but also specialist literature for personal further education. That's why Choncé Maddox, an expert in productivity, advises:

It's no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to read two or more books per month. Read blogs, news sites, fiction and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge.

But many people find it difficult to find time to read between work and personal life. At first glance, a thick book can seem daunting. But the goal shouldn't be to devour the tome in two days. There is usually always a little time to read, for example on the way to work by public transport, before going to bed or on the toilet. In addition, the most successful people in the world show that they can do it themselves: Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Jack Ma are all diligent readers. Barack Obama even claims that books helped him get through the presidency, and Bill Gates says that reading is his most effective learning tool since childhood. But how do these people create space in their busy schedules?

The 5-hour rule makes it possible

Michael Simmons, founder of Empact, was the first to introduce the simple concept. It's about using one hour a day, or five hours a week, for conscious further training. Simmons traces the principle back to Benjamin Franklin:

Throughout Ben Franklin’s adult life, he consistently invested roughly an hour a day in deliberate learning. I call this Franklin’s five-hour rule: one hour a day on every weekday.

Franklin's training included reading and writing on a daily basis. He even wrote guides on how to get success and fortune through hard work. His daily rituals also included self-reflection and meeting a club of hand-picked people who also wanted to improve themselves and the community in which they lived. But you don't have to be as ambitious as Benjamin Franklin to implement the 5-hour rule. The concept can be divided into three steps:

1. Reading

We have now understood how important reading is for personal and professional success. But first you have to overcome yourself. The best way to do this is to start with 20 to 30 minutes a day and then work your way up to an hour. Auditory learners can also use audio books, which can also be used on the way to work or in waiting rooms. And that's exactly how Elon Musk learned how to build rockets, for example by reading. At least in the beginning. Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma also says, “Reading can give you a good head start; this is often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, readers are more likely to know other industries ‘strategies and tactics."

2. Reflect

But the daily hour does not have to be used entirely for reading. (Self-) reflection is just as important. This can be done on a mental level or in the form of a diary. It is only important that you try to record successes and especially failures and analyze why you failed. This is the only way to do better in the future. It is recommended to focus on two to three questions a day. If you refer to the previously read reading, you can ask how the theory can be applied to your own company. Or you use a previous project to think about what you can take away from it and what should have been different.

3. Experiment

Experiments bring us and our society forward. It is not necessary to reinvent the entire corporate or life structure, but to test what suits you. New tools for self-improvement, for example keeping a sleep diary or ways to waste less time, can be tried out with little effort. And experimenting in your own company doesn't have to be time-consuming and complicated. One can simply try to make small changes in the daily routines. In the end, you just have to reflect on whether the new method is effective or complicates everything. Jack Ma also recommends that what you read is always tested on real scenarios.

After reading a book about collaboration and teamwork, you could take on new volunteer work to put that knowledge to use.

So working on yourself every day is not as difficult as most people might think. And the success of the business people mentioned here should be proof enough that the 5-hour rule deserves a chance. If the concept doesn't fit into your own life after all, then you have learned something new for yourself.


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