Today, I want to discuss why it’s vital for you to read as well as provide solutions that will help you find time to read.
6 Reasons Reading Is Important
Reading is the act of identifying and processing written words aloud or silently. Through reading, we can gain new insights, expand our perspective, and develop our critical thinking.
Although reading can be dull, time-consuming, and a hassle, there are multiple benefits to taking a few hours a week to read. Some of the benefits include:
1. Reading Expands Your Perspective And Deepens Your Wisdom
As an individual, I have lived a unique life. Through no fault of my own, my experience limits my perspective. There are certain people and ideas I haven’t come into contact with or can readily understand.
However, by reading the works of others, whether through articles, nonfiction, or fiction, I can expand my understanding of many topics and ideas.
The expansion of perspective works well for political and philosophical differences. Reading nonfictional books about the abuses of the meat industry, for example, can help me better understand why individuals want to be vegetarian. Further, reading slave books help me better comprehend the horrors of slavery, which increases my gratitude for the social progress humanity has made.
By broadening your perspective, you’ll develop empathy, compassion, patience, gratitude, and a whole host of other positive attributes. These attributes will enable you to live a better, more mindful life.
2. Reading delivers practical and specialized knowledge to your life
Reading expands your practical and specialized knowledge. For example, by reading a random assortment of books and articles I’ve learned a great deal about farming, the comic book history, Latin words, phrases, and their histories, how to properly hold a baby, great exercise techniques, and much more. All this random knowledge has served me from time to time even though I don’t specialize in any of it.
3, Reading is enjoyable, engaging, and fun
It can be hard to imagine, but reading can be a fun and engaging experience. Walking around and reading a book can be a lot more fun than watching yet another NetFlix show.
Lastly, the best way to make reading enjoyable is to find topics that interest you. Later on in this post, I will go into further detail as to how to find your niche.
4. Reading helps develop your imagination and abstract thinking
Reading forces you to absorb the words on the page and create the images in your head. For example, if you’re reading fiction and see a description of a city, you have to imagine the “steely skyscrapers” and the “rusted foundations.” Additionally, you have to process the metaphors and similes such as “the skyscrapers reached for the sky like the feeble pleas of desperate people.” All this takes imagination and empathy because you need to process the tone and scene the author is trying to paint.
However, this imagination applies to nonfiction as well. Let’s say you’re reading a book about economics. You cannot lazily process advanced concepts such as supply and demand, marginal growth, or absolute advantage. You need focus and imagination to understand abstract concepts. And you can only develop this ability through reading.
5. Reading can be calming and enriching for the soul
Reading is a rather lowkey, relaxing experience (depending on the book). Unlike many other ways of entertaining oneself, such as playing a violent game or a sport, reading can be soothing and allow you to sit back and engage with the words. This calming effect can enrich your soul and enable you to take a break from the hectics of the day-to-day.
6. Reading provides practical benefits such as memory and communication improvements
Reading has been shown to improve mental abilities such as communication, memory, and more. Through reading, your mind will become sharper and more capable. Additionally, you’ll develop your fortitude, persistence, and other mental skills as well as emotional control and willpower.
Other modes of entertainment, such as lazily consuming YouTube videos, won’t strengthen your mental abilities. Why? Because your brain is a muscle and challenged when faced with new and difficult information. Yet another Let’s Play from a game you’ve already played is not engaging. Nor is watching a makeup video. Or binging on a NetFlix series that seeks to entertain you instead of teaching you meaningful skills you have to remember.
Lastly, reading matures and expands your vocabulary, which can help when communicating with others.
The 3 Ways To Ensure You Read More
Despite the plethora of benefits, not many people are into reading. I understand why. Reading can be tedious as well as time-consuming. Additionally, there are other, more engaging activities to do, such as play games or watch movies. Finally, reading can be too active for the brain, and if you’ve just finished a hard day at work, the prospect of reading seems tiring and undesirable.
On the other hand, reading takes a lot of time. Reading a book, even a small book, can be an investment, especially if you have responsibilities such as children or a demanding job.
However, through proper time management, active research, and fair rewards, you can find the willpower and time needed to be an expert reader.
Spend Your Time Wisely
“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire” – Seneca
If you’re better at regulating your time and being active in your goals, you’ll find the time to read.
As always, we start from the very top. What are your life goals? By understanding what the purpose of your life is, you can develop the long-term and short-term goals that will ensure you’re not wasting time. Read my goal series posts to learn more about setting goals and building the life you want.
Once you have your goals, start keeping track of what you’re doing with your day. Don’t judge yourself; focus on being an honest, objective observer. Once you do this for a week, start judging. What are you wasting time on? What actions are serving your life purposes?
Once you answer these questions, start cutting. Cut out the wasteful things: get off the phone, stop consuming garbage media, etc. Focus on maximizing your time by cutting out the fat.
When you have your goals set, your activities tracked, and the wasted time cut, you can start replacing this free time with reading. Additionally, understand when you get a chance to read and what that environment looks like. For example, you may not be able to read a large book on the train on the way to work. However, you can easily read a large assortment of quality books and articles online – for free. Use your smartphone for productive expanses of your mind instead of wasting potential.
Remove time-wasters, and you will find more time to read without much trouble or hassle.
Find Topics That Keep You Hooked
Next, find out what you love to consume. People usually hate reading because they approach it like school. You’re out of school and free: read what you want.
You have control over your fate. Find the books and topics that interest you by reflecting. Do you like video games? Read about video games, how they’re made, and what’s involved. Do you like YouTube videos? Read about videographers, what’s involved in making a video, and what are the best video equipment.
Additionally, avoid reading from people who have no skin in the game. For example, I don’t read game reviewers or critics. They don’t make games, barely have any notion of what’s involved, and their opinion doesn’t expand my understanding of the industry I hope to be a part of. I’m better off reading news from actual insiders and game developers so that I can develop an understanding of gaming.
When you find something you like, read the facts, books, and articles that keep you engaged. Never read from the second-handers or critics. Only engage with experts and those with meaningful, useful knowledge. This way, you’ll grow as an individual.
Reward Your Efforts
Reading is tough, so reward yourself. Never read without the expectation of an award. I give myself some game time when I finish a book. By gifting my efforts, I acknowledge the importance of reading and the energy I’m placing towards actively improving my wellbeing.
Don’t purposely read things you’re not interested in just to increase the feeling of a challenge. Don’t read Shakespeare so you can go through a problem and feel like you “suffered.” Pursuing this path will only decrease your desire to learn.
Lastly, read what you love, but invest in expanding your perspective to grow as an individual. Read history you’re interested in or biographies of people you admire. However, stay engaged and always reward what you’re doing.
Never Stop Reading
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave” – Frederick Douglass
Reading will expand your mind and improve your abilities as an individual. When we don’t read, we lose the capacity for meaningful and worthwhile change.
I urge you to find the topics that appeal to you. Reflect on what you love to do and read everything you can about your chosen passion. Occasionally, read books you’re not entirely familiar with to improve your perspective and understanding of the world.
Never stop reading and always seek to expand your mind.
- Here are a few reading lists
- What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
- What’s one book you’ve always wanted to read? Why haven’t you read it? What would it take to give you the time and willpower to read it?
- What do you love and find interesting? What would you like to learn about this chosen topic? Which books are available about this topic?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.