When I was a child, I used to devour books, books and more books. :)
Then, when I got to college….I sort of decreased my reading frequency. By the time I had finished college, I read about 2-3 books a year and I wouldn't finish one or two of those either.
I had lost my reading habit.
In the last few months however, I have consciously created a reading habit again. I try to read about 2 books that truly interest me in a month. And that has made my life better! In fact, just this one habit of reading book after book regularly has had a such a big impact on my life that I thought I would share it here.
Here are four reasons why I think cultivating a reading habit (reading book after book after book) is a superb habit to have.
Reading keeps you in the company of amazing people. We all know that the people we hang out with influence our life a lot. Robin Sharma has even gone on to say:
|"Your life will begin to look a lot like the lives of the 10 people you interact with the most. Are you OK with that?"|
Reading gives us a chance to hang out with people we really consider to be amazing! Want to hang out with Barrack Obama? Read his book Dreams From My Father
. Want to hang out with world traveller, Chris Guillibeau? Read his book The $100 Startup
. You basically get access to some amazing thoughts of some amazing people when you read a good book. It's almost like sitting with the author in a cafe. Now ain't that cool?
2) Reading helps your thoughts expand in any direction you truly want. What is it in your life that you want to improve or change? What do you want to get better at? Relationships? If you read 10 books about relationships, you will have access to such a large number of healthy relationship thoughts. Without doubt, any good book on relationships will make you know so much more about relationships than you knew before. You will get many ideas to improve your relationships. You want to learn painting? Again read up 10 books on painting and your thoughts related to painting will expand and you will know so much more about it. If you want, you can now practically implement all those new ideas you've got and start painting! I wanted my thoughts related to personal growth and being truer and more honest with myself to expand. So I recently read a book by Robin Sharma called Discover Your Destiny
. The book was all about being true to oneself and I became even more encouraged to be true to myself.
If you want your thoughts in any one direction to expand, reading stuff related to that topic is a great idea.
Generally, in our daily lives, there is always a tendency to stagnate and get stuck up where we are. For example, you might initially learn a lot in your job but after some years, you may feel stuck up. Or your relationship may have this pattern. Reading - adds that "constant learning" element to your life. If you read books that teach you something or the other, well you are ALWAYS learning.
Imagine reading 2 books a month for 2 years. That's 48 books! If you read 48 books, most of which are teaching you something, how can you ever stagnate? If I read 48 books on personal growth, that will mean that I will myself learn so many things related to personal growth I may never have learnt without reading.
for example. I would never have learnt it without reading…
To keep learning, keep reading, I would say..
All relationships change you in some way, don't they? There is something in the other person that makes you learn about a part of you that you did not know about earlier. For example, your partner may respect his or her desires a lot. That may make you conscious of your own desires which you ignored before you were in the relationship.
Books are the same. The author can sometimes express something that you may not know existed. I am currently reading Marc Allen's book - The Type-Z Guide to Success
. In this book, the author asks a question, " What is the belief that is stopping you from achieving your dreams?" That made me think for the first time in my life, "what belief could be stopping me from my dreams?" I was startled when I actually detected such a belief! The author then went on to say how that belief could be changed.
The point is that without reading this book, I would never have realized that I had such a belief that was stopping me! It was when he author pointed out - 'are you thinking in this manner?' that I realized, yes I was indeed thinking in this manner.
Reading Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography
may make you wonder - is it possible to be so honest in real life? Am I really so honest? You may detect certain subtle lies that you tell in your daily life but never notice.
Reading can therefore, make you look deeper inside yourself and face parts of you that you have never faced.
Now obviously reading is an amazing habit to cultivate. But what can you do to form the reading habit? You may not be reading at all these days - so how do you suddenly start reading book after book? Here, these tips may help!
A book-list is a list of books you want to read. I am sure that at some time or the other, you must have thought, "Wow, that is a book I simply must read!" And then you might have forgotten about it. Create a document on your computer or make a list on paper. Include all the books that truly interest you. Keep adding to the list when you come across a must-read book.
Choose books in this list carefully: the books on this list must be the books you REALLY want to read! Amazon.com has this cool system where you can look inside a book, read its table of contents etc. Well, read reviews, look through the book and once you are sure that this is a book you HAVE to read, that is when you should add it to your book list.
The advantage of having a book-list is that you can always arrange for the next book on your list by the time this book is finished.
I have noticed that even though I am very interested in personal growth, I tend to get uninterested in reading when I read ONLY books on personal growth. All of us need some spice! I recently sandwiched Dan Brown between Robin Sharma and Marc Allen for example. Some mind blowing fiction that keeps you hooked helps encourage the reading habit and also provides the much needed "chilling out".
One habit that I had in college was that I used to start reading a book and then stop reading it after I had read about 50 pages or so. What I have now realized is that there are many amazing books, whose true worth comes forth only after you have read all of the book. Many times, especially in the case of non-fiction you will want to put down the book when it becomes sort of uninteresting. My experience is that if you keep going, you will reap good rewards.
Leaving a book unfinished can also become a habit if you allow it to become one. You will keep getting disinterested in books easily. That is one more reason why putting in some effort to finish a book is a good idea.
Of course, if this is how you feel for a long time when you're reading a book, you'd better NOT finish the book! :)
One big complaint many people have about reading is that they don't have the time to read. Of course everyone has the time!
There are times when you travel in trains. Or when you stand in queues. Or when you sit idle and look around. It's always nice to have a book available at such moments. I finished this book
in 14 days by reading for just 10 minutes everyday while I commuted to work. And it was fun. :)
I've just realized that I've been writing and writing since almost an hour. :) I've written a mini-book myself eh?
Well, in any case, I'll "call it a post" here and sign off.
Let me end with an excerpt from one of Roald Dahl's funny poems…
"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
Get more such updates right in your inbox
Go back from Why the Reading Habit is an Amazing Habit to More Random Musings
Go back from Why the Reading Habit is an Amazing Habit to personal-development-is-fun.com