The Importance of Reading: A Habit of Learning
Humans are an intelligent species, and we exchange information about anything and everything through various mediums. Whether the content is simply entertaining or informative, we are ultimately learning and experiencing something new, all the time. We are limited, unfortunately. We simply don’t have enough time and energy to experience the world in its entirety first hand. The next best thing is our ability to learn from the environment, through second-hand experience. Essentially, this is the ability to learn from the experience of others and acquire them as our own.
Reading is one such method of absorbing valuable information. It’s quite fascinating to consider that reading words off a page can allow you to better comprehend the world and yourself. Reading also has the potential to inspire you and emotionally relate with the experience of others. For instance, one of the inspirations that lead to the creation of this blog was Stephen R. Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking personal development.
I myself have read many books and other resources that taught me how to get this blog up and running. In fact, I am continually reading more to better the blogging experience for myself and others. Aside from this, I enjoy reading about other topics that allow me to explore further interests and expand my knowledge base. It is a great habit to cultivate. Regularly supplying your brain with new ideas will allow it to be more active. This helps to exercise the neural pathways in the brain that have many benefits. These include developing creativity, the ability to learn quickly and efficiently, a greater level of focus and clarity of thoughts. As with most things in life, the “use it or lose it” principle applies. Your brain should be exercised and kept active, and reading is a great way to achieve that.
There are of course countless resources to pick from, on countless different topics and genres. I prefer to read non-fiction books that I find both interesting and informative, however, others will prefer only fiction. And there is no issue in reading both. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you read. Ideally, you will become engaged with whatever you choose to read.
If you’re not much of a reader, initially you may find difficulty in focusing for longer periods of time (hopefully you’ve made it this far). You may even become sleepy after a short while of reading, this happened a lot to me at first. Don’t let this discourage you, it will take time to develop the focus to read.
Alongside this you will develop reading comprehension at greater speeds. If you want to develop the skill of “speed reading”, I recommend Julia Lee’s Extreme Speed Reading E-Book. It’s a pretty straight forward guide. Very easy to follow and has definitely helped me speed up my reading. If you are an avid reader like myself, it’s a good idea to develop the skill of speed reading, it saves a lot of hours that can be spent doing other important activities throughout your day.
Keep in mind however, too much of anything is a bad thing. Reading too much tends to achieve the infamous “brain overload”, which is essentially an excess of information that isn’t effectively “used” in any way. Particularly if you are reading books that influence you to take action, then take action. The reading itself helps to guide you towards a desirable experience, by eliminating menial mistakes previously experienced by others who had less of a guideline. At the end of the day, you must take the necessary actions to truly internalize the “lesson” behind the information you have read. For instance, you can read all you want about how to ride a bike, and may be adequately prepared in what to expect, however, you will not never develop the actual skill without doing it.
Given the great abundance of information all around, it is impossible to absorb it all, let alone apply it. Moderation is key. I typically read anywhere between 1-3 books per week depending on their size and my weekly schedule. A good way to develop this habit is to simply read every day. Set aside a time each day to read, and commit to it. Eventually you will naturally feel inclined to learn something new and sit down for a good read.
Become slightly wiser, and gain more experiences, every single day. Embrace knowledge.