What do you want to be an expert in? What do you want to be known for?
Zig Ziglar many times said if you spend an hour a day reading about a subject, within 5 years you will be one of the top in your chosen field.
This advice hits on a few key principles for your growth and development.
The first principle to growth is consistency. As Zig says, “an hour a day”. The same advice can be found in a wide range of cliches, like “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
With consistent action you are able to build upon an ever increasing knowledge base. By reading an hour a day, you’ll be adding knowledge to an ever expanding base. Simply by exposing your mind to the right ideas, you will be cultivating a fertile spot in your mind for those ideas to germinate and grow.
This process of consistently feeding your mind information and perspectives will help you deliver better results, faster.
To see the power of consistency in action, we can easily find examples of the wrong type of consistent action. Consistently not doing certain things. Consistently skipping the gym leads to a loss of physical muscle, and an increase in body weight. And while fitness is always an easy example to use, that principle of consistency is all around us.
Consistently reading will let those ideas flower, leading to industry renown, and eventually leading to people regarding you as an expert.
The second principle of success can be found through the focus on a specific subject matter.
By reading everything you can get your hands on in one specific area, you are able to expose yourself to many different viewpoints. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches helps you stand out again as an expert in your field. Rather than a single approach to all problems, expanding your knowledge in one subject area lets you bring forth the best solutions to any given problem.
This consistency in sticking to a subject matter is essential to becoming an expert. If instead you read one book each on many different subjects, you will no doubt be more entertaining at a party. But, if you want to be regarded as an expert, you need to go deep into one subject area.
For example, you wouldn’t ask an engineer for financial advice. Their circle of competence means they are best suited for construction and design inquiries. Years of study and reading has led to the engineer being uniquely qualified to handle engineering type problems.
Focus lets you build your own circle of competence, ultimately leading to you becoming an expert on problems that lie within that circle.
Become an Expert in No Time.
Consistency and focus. Those two principles will let you become an expert in any single subject matter in 5 years.
But how do you find the time to devote an hour every single day?
Here is where we can borrow another piece of advice from Brian Tracy. Turn your commute into a mobile classroom.
That 30 minutes each way we spend on a train? We could be reading a book instead of flipping to the sports stats on the daily newspaper. Stuck in traffic for another 50 minutes a day? Throw on an audio-book or a podcast and turn that trip into a learning experience.
Finding ways to increase our time spend learning without costing us any extra time is what Brian Tracy refers to as No Extra Time. This re-purposing of existing mindless activities that we are already doing helps us learn more with no extra time commitment.
If you spend an hour a day reading about a subject, within 5 years you will be one of the top in your chosen field. By applying the principles of consistency and focus, you too can become world-class in whatever you choose.
That world-class status is even easier to attain, if you re-purpose some of the other things you are already doing. Finding ways to add learning into things you already spend time doing helps you become an expert in no extra time.