Reading – Day 9

30-Day Writing Challenge

For the first 21 years of my life, I avoided reading books like the plague. It wasn’t until after college that I read my first book cover to cover… My parents never pushed me to read because I excelled at math. I personally felt I was too slow at reading, which prevented me from picking it up as a hobby or way of learning. 

This all changed when I finished college… I decided to give this whole reading thing a shot and instead of reading what others recommended I pursued what interested me. 

That’s the trick… To read what excites you, not what others recommend as high quality or classics. Over time I began to enjoy reading, but more interestingly I built a love for non-fiction. 

After 21 years of never reading a book, I completed 60+ books in my first year out of school… Reading completely changed my perspective on the world. 

I’m not saying to only read books or to take pride in finishing books, but I would recommend having books be your primary source of information. I envision books as being the author’s many years of knowledge, hard work, and meticulous curation of the information that matters into a few hundred pages. 

Reading consistently brings many benefits, here are a few I’ve uncovered… 

  1. Extended focus – It’s harder today to stay focused for long periods of time than it has ever been. This lack of focus is thanks to the internet, specifically the status-seeking games we all play on social media. Building up your ability to focus is the same as building up your ability to run long-distance, it’s a muscle. The more you train your ability to focus on a single object (e.g. books) the stronger your attention becomes. I originally started out reading 10 minutes a day and over a few years, with many failures in-between I’ve been able to get up to 2 hours. By immersing myself in a single topic, I’ve felt calmer throughout my days due to reading acting as a meditative practice. 
  2. Mentors – Having multiple people that inspire and offer you guidance through hard times is important… But when looking for “real life” mentors we’re limited to who’s alive… When using books as mentors, we gain access to every person that’s ever taken the time to write down their thoughts.  
  3. Perspective – As I mentioned before, books have completely changed my perspective on the world. I’m honestly a different person – Every book I read changes my perspective a little more, some books are more impactful than others, but there’s still change. The perspective shifts are never limited to a single area and tend to be intellectual, emotional, and psychological. 

Reading is hard, trust me I understand… But the more you do it, the more you’ll grow to like it. 

Remember… Start with books you enjoy, never finish a book you’re not getting anything from, and slowly move towards more challenging books.