Reading is the gateway to vicariously learning lessons through others' experiences
I've loved to read ever since I was a young fella. I read all sorts of books, the newspaper, Reader's Digest.... pretty much anything I could get my hands on. My mom passed the love for reading on to me. Thanks Mom!
I started out reading fiction books, I suppose like most young readers do. I loved the stories from my fantastical heroes in books like Harry Potter, The Search for Wallace Whipple, The Hardy Boys, all sorts of Louis L'Amour books, The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the list could go on and on....
As I approached 19 years old I started reading more biographical and historical non-fiction books and I stopped reading so much fiction. I loved that these stories were from real life. I could relate a little better to them and find lessons that changed the way I thought or acted.
The more I read, the more I realized that many people have already been through what I'm going through, or at least something similar to what I'm going through. What did they do? Does that make sense for me to do? Why or why not? I realized I could have a Tribe of Mentors (a fantastic book by Tim Ferris) without ever having to meet any of them.
I could learn from historical figures and others whom I'd never get a chance to meet, let alone to sit down and pick their brains. What a delight to know that I could "hangout" with George Washington, John Wooden, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Coach K, and countless others by reading their books and studying their lives.
I love the following thought from former Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis:
"Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn't give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead."
What a statement! The power of reading and learning from others who have gone before is a true superpower. It will help you obtain more wisdom quicker than experience alone, thereby avoiding pitfalls that have swallowed up others before.
Hopefully we can all pick up a few more books, learn lessons from those who have walked the same halls we walk, and be better for our respective teams, ourselves, and for the world.