10 reading habits that separate successful people from everyone else

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Successful people are often a rare breed, aren’t they?

In a world dominated by distractions and short attention spans, if you’re one of the few who’ve managed to cultivate good reading habits, you might often feel misunderstood.

Most people might think you’re boring or old-fashioned when you’d rather curl up with a good book than binge-watch the latest Netflix series.

Indeed, you’ve probably been labelled a “bookworm” or “nerd” more times than you can count.

Sound familiar?

If it does, then keep reading because we’re about to dive into the 10 reading habits that separate successful people from everyone else.

1) You prioritize reading

A clear indicator that you’re on the path to success is your commitment to reading.

You find a unique joy in immersing yourself in a good book, more so than in any other pastime. This is because reading fuels your mind, providing you with knowledge and insights that other activities simply can’t.

Unfortunately, your dedication to reading can sometimes be misinterpreted as being boring or unsociable.

But let’s get this straight – there’s nothing dull about expanding your horizons and feeding your mind.

2) You’re an early bird reader

Another reading habit that sets successful people apart is their propensity to read early in the morning.

You’ve probably heard that the early bird catches the worm, right? Well, in my case, the early bird catches the book.

For me, nothing quite beats the quiet solitude of the early morning, with my cup of coffee in one hand and a book in another. It’s serene, peaceful and allows me to start my day on a positive note.

In fact, I’ve found that reading in the morning sets the tone for the rest of my day. It fuels my creativity, broadens my perspective and provides me with fresh ideas that I can apply throughout my day.

3) You read widely and diversely

One habit that truly separates successful readers from the rest is their willingness to read across a wide variety of genres and topics.

You see, when you only stick to one type of book, be it romance novels or business books, you’re limiting your world view. It’s like living in a bubble, unaware of the multitude of perspectives that exist out there.

In contrast, successful readers understand the value in exploring different genres. 

An example? Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is known to have read from a vast array of genres, from biographies to science fiction. It’s been said that his understanding of rockets is primarily self-taught – a feat he achieved by devouring books on the subject.

4) You take notes while reading

An often overlooked reading habit that successful people have is note-taking.

When you come across valuable insights or thought-provoking ideas, you don’t just skim over them. Instead, you make a point to jot them down, underlining key points, highlighting important passages or even scribbling notes in the margins of the book.

Writing while reading helps in better understanding and remembering the content.

Of course, this might make you look like an overzealous student to some. But in reality, it’s a practice that’s aimed at maximizing the benefits of reading.

5) You’re not afraid to abandon a book

Here’s the raw truth that successful readers understand: not every book is worth your time, and that’s okay.

You may feel a sense of obligation to finish every book you start, but successful readers know that this is not always the best approach.

There’s no denying that every book has its own merit. But if a book doesn’t resonate with you, if it doesn’t provide value or simply fails to hold your interest, it’s perfectly fine to set it aside.

6) You’re patient with challenging books

Successful readers have a special trait: they are patient, especially when it comes to tackling challenging books.

We’ve all been there. You start a book full of enthusiasm, only to find it’s more complex or dense than you expected. It’s in these moments that patience becomes your greatest ally.

You understand that not every book is a breezy read. Some books require more time, more focus, and sometimes, multiple readings to fully grasp their essence. And that’s perfectly okay.

Some might view this as a waste of time or an unnecessary struggle. But you know better. You see the value in slowly digesting complex ideas and perspectives, even if it takes a bit longer.

7) You always have a book on hand

One habit that successful readers all share is this: they’re always prepared with a good book.

Whether it’s a physical book tucked away in their bag or an e-book on their phone, they’re never caught without something to read. Long queues, waiting rooms, or unexpected delays – these are all perfect opportunities to dive into a book.

Now, this might seem a bit excessive to some. After all, who carries a book around everywhere?

But if you’re a true reader, you’ll get it.

You always have a book on hand because you never want to miss a chance to read. It’s not just about filling time, it’s about making the most of your time.

8) You’re not afraid to reread books

Here’s a fun fact about successful readers: they don’t mind revisiting their favorite books.

Sure, with so many books and so little time, the idea of rereading might seem counterintuitive. But successful readers know there’s a certain charm to it.

Each time you revisit a book, you discover something new. Maybe it’s a detail you overlooked, an insight you didn’t catch the first time or simply a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Some might call this repetitive or even boring. 

But let’s be honest – there’s something incredibly comforting about returning to a book you love. It’s like catching up with an old friend or visiting a favorite vacation spot.

9) You’re disciplined about your reading time

Let’s cut to the chase: successful readers are disciplined. They don’t just wait for the mood to strike or for a free slot in their schedule to open up. They make time to read.

Reading isn’t something you squeeze in when everything else is done. It’s not an afterthought or a luxury. It’s a priority.

Sure, life gets busy. There are chores to do, emails to answer, shows to watch. But here’s the hard truth: if you want to read more, you need to treat it like any other important task in your life.

10) You read for growth, not just entertainment

The most crucial habit that separates successful readers from the rest is this: they read for growth.

While reading can certainly be a source of amusement, successful readers see it as much more than that. They view each book as an opportunity to learn something new, to challenge their beliefs, and to gain a deeper understanding of the world.

This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a fun, light-hearted novel now and then. But they also appreciate books that make them think, question and reflect.

And that’s the real magic of reading. It’s not just a pastime – it’s a journey of continuous learning and growth. 

Final thoughts

Navigating the world as a successful reader can sometimes feel like a solitary journey. You might be called a bookworm, old-fashioned, or even boring, but that’s just because society often fails to appreciate the beauty of a well-read mind.

So if you’re a reader who’s often misunderstood, take heart—there’s a wealth of knowledge and wisdom inside of you that they can’t fathom.

Remember, reading is not just a hobby—it’s a journey of continual learning, exploration and growth. And as a successful reader, you’re always ready for the next chapter. 

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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