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Leaders are Learners

Recently my daughter and I were at the airport together and stopped in the newsstand to get something to read on our flight. As we faced the wall of women’s magazines about weight, health, fashion, relationships and gossip, my daughter said, “I don’t want these magazines, they just make me feel bad.” So we turned to another section, where she picked out an issue of Scientific American and I chose Wired.

During the flight, we both read both magazines, and it occurred to me that our society expects women not to want to learn science and technology. Part of the reason we cannot get enough girls to take math and science in school is that we program girls from a young age to not be interested in those topics.

Instead, too many women’s magazines focus on unrealistic expectations we cannot live up to, so even though we’re programmed (and marketed) to want to read those publications, they end up making us feel bad.

By contrast, as I read from Scientific American (about the octopus) and Wired (about the successful online game Candy Crush), I felt uplifted by learning new information and ideas, and became more aware of the world around me. Both magazines were fascinating to me, and in fact we became subscribers.

We should all choose reading materials that add to rather than detract from our self-worth. Leaders, in particular, can read books, magazines, newspapers and blogs as a way to get information on completely different areas as a way to broaden their horizons and perspectives. Not just that, it increases their capacity for makes for much more interesting, vibrant and varied topics of conversation.

Leaders who read participate in a cycle of continuous learning and curiosity, break out of their comfort zones, and find new levels of success.

What is something you will read this week that will expand your horizons and give you new insights into an old problem? How will this broaden your mind?

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