Now that we understand that the storyteller is the most powerful person in the world, how can we use some of that same juice to expand our minds? By feeding stories (or information) to ourselves through daily reading. Whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, eBooks or physical media, newspapers or blogs, regular reading is a must to keep your brain (and your career) growing.
How Daily Reading Improves Communication
An extensive vocabulary goes a long way toward helping us communicate; a skill integral for any real estate agent. But language doesn’t come naturally to people. We’re taught it from a young age, and we expand upon it through daily reading.
Consistent reading doesn’t just expand our vocabulary. It gives it an important context that teaches interaction and interpretation. Stories will often present us with new words framed in dialogue and gestures that add nuance. Through these clues, we actually solve the mysteries of new vocabulary words using our brains.
In this way, reading gives us more than an expanded vocabulary. It teaches us clues and signals for effective communication. Studies support that those who choose to read on a consistent basis over watching TV of a non-educational nature display heightened verbal communication skills.
Reading to Broaden Your Mind
Think back to all the stories you’ve read over your life. You probably don’t remember the exact words. But chances are that you remember certain details as clear as day. Sometimes, books we’ve read feel like memories from our own lives. If you agree, you won’t be surprised to learn that reading triggers the same neurological responses in our brains as if we’re actually experiencing the events in the book. It’s one of the reasons reading is such a popular escape from daily life for people.
But daily reading doesn’t just consistently introduce your brain to new ideas and experiences. It can open your mind to one of the greatest strengths a real estate agent can develop: empathy. When you start to pick up the social cues of literary characters, you start to gain a deeper understanding of unfamiliar mental states. This was supported by a study published in Science.
Exercise for the Brain
While your brain isn’t a muscle, you can still make it more resilient through exercise. And one of the most popular ways to exercise your brain is… you guessed it… daily reading. Consistent reading has been shown to improve memory function. As if that weren’t reason enough to pick up that book you’ve been putting off, reading can also stave off the cognitive deadline that comes with aging. Hey, don’t just take our word for it… read the study published in Neurology. And don’t forget to thank us the next time you bump into a client you haven’t seen in five years but remember their kids’ names with no problem.
Daily reading can exercise your brain in other ways too. When you read educational material or literary works with careful analysis, you develop a multitude of cognitive functions according to research conducted by Stanford University. They also found that reading for pleasure can aid blood flow to different areas of the brain.
Daily Reading Develops Focus and Concentration
The linear nature of stories actually encourages our minds to think in sequence when we read regularly. This may not seem like much of a benefit at face value. Yet, thinking sequentially helps train our brains for improved focus and longer periods of unbroken concentration. Following cause and effect can be extremely helpful during the negotiation phase of virtually any transaction. And a longer attention span is fantastic all-around.
Using Reading as a Stress Reducer
It’s an understatement to say the life of a real estate agent is stressful. But that’s also part of the thrill. Still, you want to keep a handle on your anxiety, and daily reading is a convenient way you can do just that. In a 2009 study conducted at the University of Sussex, it was revealed that reading can reduce stress by as much as 68%! This isn’t an opinion but a measurable fact. When you read, your muscles release tension
Getting Into the Habit of Reading Everyday
With daily reading being the most vital of habits, what do you do if you just don’t feel inspired?
(1.) Identify a topic that interests you. If it exists, you can bet there’s been at least one book written about it.
(2.) Budget time each day that you can devote to reading. It could be an hour. It could be 10 minutes. But it needs to be prioritized.
(3.) At the close of every reading session, summarize what you read to reinforce your understanding of the material. You can do this verbally or in your head. But quickly jotting down your notes is even better if you have the time.
(4.) Apply what you learned in a meaningfully constructive way.
So the next time you say “I don’t have time to read”, ask yourself what you’re doing that’s more important? Make reading your priority. The next chapter in your real estate career demands it!