As I shared in this blog post, my father unexpected passed away. In the 10 days after his death, I reviewed many of his files and notes. Through reflection, I also surveyed many of the notes and articles that he would regularly mail to me on a variety of subjects, although mostly about investing, leadership and tax strategies.

Despite being 81, my father was extremely articulate about finance, business and sports. In addition, he played golf, tennis, or walked every day, and up to the last day of his passing, and he never missed a Saturday night mass.

How did he stay so sharp and active? Beyond the commitment to physical fitness, it came down to 2 specific habits.

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2 Powerful CRE Learning Tools

First, he was a voracious reader. He read about topics he both loved and wished to improve upon. He saturated himself with items related to personal finance, golf and travel. He read several financial magazines and a score of financial reports. He read the newspaper every day, he subscribed to – and read – various blogs. When he came across a page in a book or magazine that he found of great interest, he would simply tear it out; when he read a blog he wanted to share he would print it off. His office is full of piles of these articles, and each had one more item that is a must to actually learning what he read, and that brings us to the second habit.

Secondly, he took copious notes. Probably more impressive was his handwriting, which was originally honed early in his professional career when he was a draftsman, then architect before launching his construction consulting business. His penmanship evolved more to art than common scribe. Unfortunately, this is one characteristic I did not get from my dad. Research repeatedly shows that retention of reading something is far greater when you take notes. It really is not an issue of ever reviewing your notes, it’s the simply act of taking notes that reinforces the information into your memory.

It is more than likely that you will initially tell yourself “Rod, that’s nice, but he was retired, I don’t have time to read.” You would be wrong. The man was out of the house by 7:30 am on most days, and in bed by 10:00 pm, if not earlier. Second, there is nothing more important than self-improvement, for if you don’t improve, who the heck will you be able to compete?

Today, I challenge you to take 15 minutes and read something related to your business, some information that will make you smarter, that will provide you leverage to win that next opportunity. Do yourself a big favor, make sure you read with a pen in your hand and take some notes. Make this a habit and you to will be better positioned for a more fulfilling life.

The 2 most powerful CRE learning tools you don’t use
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