If you catch me in a great mood, there’s a high likelihood it’s the result of 3 things coming together – a book in my hand, a starbucks outlet and a dark roast brewed coffee with milk and sugar added. (My definition of ‘life is good’!)
The habit of reading is one of the enduring joys of my life. I often tell my wife, much to her chagrin, that she’s my second wife. Before she erupts in rage, I reveal the name of the first…
To be sure, I was not always a voracious reader in school. It’s much later that I started picking up books to satiate my curiosity to learn more about certain ideas that appealed to me. Slowly, collecting and reading books became a habit. As I discovered the influence of reading on my thought and life, I decided to become more intentional about this ritual.
Today, books are an inseparable part of my scheme of things. And now, I am plotting and scheming to inculcate the love of books in my 4 year old daughter as she grows up.
Here’s why a consistent, reading habit is important:
- Reading broadens and deepens your thought.
- Reading expands your toolset: Abraham Maslow said, if you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Don’t be limited. Get more tools. Reading can help.
- Reading opens up the world of possibilities for you. You don’t know what you don’t know. Books are by far the best antidote to the ‘frog in a well’ syndrome.
- Reading conditions the 80,000 thoughts you have. Most of your thoughts of today are a re-hash of the ones you have had yesterday, or the day before. To get new ones, your mind needs to be fed new ideas.
- Reading improves focus, attention and capacity for sustained deep reflection: You knew that as a child. Now, science is producing newer and stronger evidence in favor.
- Reading improves memory and brain function. Apparently, it also slows down aging. But you don’t have to wait to be a senior citizen in order to benefit from reading.
- Reading is a great stress-buster. It increases your happiness quotient.
- Reading makes you a better conversationalist. Reading makes you interested and interesting.
- Reading makes you curious. Reading helps you appreciate the world better.
- Reading greatly increases your imagination and creativity.
- Reading makes you a better writer.
In this beautiful blogpost from Michael Hyatt, he clearly explains why reading is such an essential must-do to become a better leader. You can also find some scientific evidence to the advantages of reading.
Then, why is it that people find it so hard to pick up some reading material and get through it.
Why don’t they read? Probably because:
- They simply don’t know the value
- They lack a learner’s mentality: they either think they know it all, or rely too much on their own experience.
- They “don’t have time”.
- They cannot sustain their focus and energy for a long time.
- They never considered developing this habit.
Here’s what I find amazing about reading:
- Often, it’s not what you read that influences you. It’s what your mind creates while you are reading that’s shapes you.
- You could read the same book twice and derive entirely new value and insights each time. Because you have changed in the interim. So, you see the content with different eyes.
- If I give you a picture, you will see the image I gave you. Whereas, if I give you a word, phrase or paragraph, you could possibly see 10 different images. Each one could see and feel different things from the same words.
So, now that I have hopefully convinced you to ditch your TV and pick up a book, in the Part II, I will share – How to develop this habit
– How and why to build a home library.