THE INC. LIFE

All Great Minds Have This 1 Habit In Common

And you need to read to discovery why it’s necessary

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BY Matthew Jones - 11 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Surrounded by voyeuristic screens and engulfed by never-ending stimulation, our brains are undergoing transformation. Modern life offers many advantages, not the least of which involves the technology that provides us with opportunities that our ancestors couldn't imagine. Unfortunately, the need to feel constantly connected to the digital realm negatively impacts several areas of our lives.

Unlike the older generations that had more peace and quiet, we are always plugged in, and that makes our habits more important than ever. It's much easier to get lost in social comparisons and overindulge in eye candy on Instagram than it is to force yourself to do something uncomfortable that will ultimately add value to your life.

As a life coach and licensed therapist, I help my clients follow their intuition. I give them permission to do the behaviors that will bring them the greatest amount of fulfillment and personal success, which often involve less time on social media and more time passionately pursuing other interests. Studying the behaviors of leaders in diverse fields, while earning my doctorate in clinical psychology, has taught me that all pioneers have one thing in common.

All great minds read.

Yes, every single intelligent person that has a lasting impact reads. It doesn't matter if they're in script-writing or neuroscience, the people that change industry standards are the ones that read books.

Not only do each of the all-time greats across industries read--they do so on a consistent basis.

Instead of spending time getting caught up in Facebook drama or taking selfies on Snapchat, the real difference-makers have their noses in books. They are broadening their intellectual horizons, gaining energy, and allowing their minds down time from the overwhelming stimulation of society. And science supports the value of flipping pages.

Studies show that reading not only increases your verbal intelligence, but can also improve scores on your overall intelligence and boost your memory. Other research shows that reading can help you relax by reducing stress as much as 68 percent, which is one reason that the Mayo Clinic, in a different study, concludes that reading (a physical book, not a screen) helps people fall asleep each night. However, don't think that reading short articles online are enough.

The most brilliant individuals--the people who truly make a lasting impact on the world--don't just read regularly, they also read for depth.

For someone passionate about the field of psychology, for example, reading popular self-help books isn't enough--they need to read Freud. Dedicated writers can't just read the current best sellers, they need to study the classics to refine their craft and expose themselves to literary possibilities they haven't seen before.

People that change entire industries challenge themselves when they read. They know that struggling to parse more difficult content, although laborious, is the only way to raise their ceiling. Most people spend their time reading candy articles and popular books. What they fail to realize is that doing so may keep their imagination active, but it won't take them to the next level of personal and professional excellence.

The only way that you can change the world is by transforming the way you think about reality. The tried-and-true way to gain access to other unique perspectives is to read books on a consistent basis that force you to grow--emotionally and intellectually--in ways you never thought were possible.

So, put down your tablet, phone, and close your computer. Tell Netflix and HBO to wait--I promise that the flashy screens and endless entertainment will be there tomorrow. Give yourself time and space to get lost in a book, and reconnect to your values.

Read on a consistent basis, and read for depth. It'll make you a more intelligent person and a better professional.