We live in a world that fragments our attention. Push notifications are constantly alerting us to emails, social media mentions, news headlines, app updates, etc. and it can be hard to catch a minute you can truly call your own. And while it’s nice to be up-to-date, these constant distractions aren’t very beneficial for our brains. In a noisy world, where can you find calm and focus? The answer is surprisingly simple: read.
When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on your instant noodle packet?
If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out.
Reading has a significant number of benefits, and here’re some benefits of reading to get you to start reading.
1. Concentration Abilities and Focus
Reading, much like running or listening to music, can be a form of meditation. Even more, by reading regularly, you develop better abilities to focus and concentrate.
With all the distractions nowadays, people have really big problems with focusing and concentrating. Don’t be one of them.
The higher your power to concentrate, the better the position you’re in. You can more easily complete demanding tasks, you can work and create in the flow state for hours, and more easily set priorities in life.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.
3. Vocabulary Expansion
This goes with the above benefit: Knowledge
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.
Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.
4. Better Writing Skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary:
Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.
In the same way that musicians influence one another and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
5. Better Analytical Skills
It’s not only your imagination and creative abilities that are stimulated by reading. Your analytical skills can also be improved. Every (non-fiction) book has a body of knowledge that’s structured in a specific way.
If, before reading a book, you analyze how the book is structured and why that is so, why the author decided to structure knowledge in such a way, it helps stimulate your analytical skills a lot; especially after you do that with hundreds of books. You learn how to structure things quickly and logically.
An even better method is to make a mindmap of the most important ideas after reading a book; or join online forums and discuss the book with others and defend a certain view on what the author meant with specific ideas, and so on. You know, you get out what you put in.
6. It’s a Way to Connect With Other People
The easiest way to connect with other people is through common interests. A book is a great common interest for starting a new friendship.
You have hundreds of pages to discuss. All you have to do is to be proactive enough and reach out to people.
Online forums, online book clubs, real life book clubs, there are numerous ways of connecting with new people all over the world, exchanging views and making new friendships.
Make sure you reach out to people after reading every book. Take a step further. That’s what will make you successful in life.
Well, and if you feel lonely and need some company, book characters are always good to hang out with.
You’re never alone when you’re reading a book. – Susan Wiggs
7. More Money
By being more educated, a better communicator and having better analytical and creative skills, you gain the ability to earn more money. Don’t you want to earn more money? Well if you do, then read more.
8. It’s (almost) Free
If you compare how much it takes to write a book to how much a book costs, the price of the book is ridiculously low.
Next to that, if you don’t want to spend money on books, you have libraries. So reading costs you nothing, except your time investment; and by reading, you’re investing into yourself, which is the best possible investment.
The best things in life are for free. Reading is one of them. Just try it.
HOW TO BECOME FOND OF READING
If you consistently do a thing, you develop a habit. It may be hard at the beginning but with time, your taste, values and preferences change.
You can start to love things that bring a better quality of life in the long term. The easiest way to develop a new habit is to develop morning or evening routines. And routines slowly turn to habits, where you need no effort to do an activity.
Read a few pages when you wake up or when you go to sleep (reading is part of my morning kick-off routine). Start with a topic that interests you the most.
And go straight to the best knowledge. Don’t read things for mental masturbation and entertainment (“10 potatoes that look like Brad Pitt” and “15 different ways to fart”). That doesn’t count. Read quality books. Quality fiction and non-fiction.
Build yourself a supportive environment. Put some books on your shelf and the night table. Use an app to measure how much you read. Join Goodreads. Find a reading buddy. Set a reminder that it’s time to read. Timebox reading time in your calendar.
And the most important fact: you must have a powerful why. You must know what you want to get out of reading.
Does it relax you, stimulates your imagination, do you want to grow and improve in life, be more successful, smarter or whatever. Even if I didn’t like reading, my why was so powerful that I had no problem sticking to my set routine and meeting my daily goals.
READING METRICS YOU SHOULD FOLLOW
Interestingly, most people have a problem admitting that they don’t read at all or read very little.
I guess you come up as more intelligent if you lie to yourself and others that you read a lot. It’s one of the brain bugs.
Make sure you don’t have this brain bug. You don’t want to only appear intelligent and fake intelligence; you want to actually be intelligent and smart.
Thus it may make sense to follow some basic metrics for how much you read in a specific period, and you should also set some limits (minimums) to make sure you do meet your daily, weekly and monthly goals.
You don’t want to only appear intelligent and fake intelligence; you want to actually be intelligent and smart.
Here are a few reading metrics you can follow:
- How many books (and other texts) do you read per month (aim for 2 – 4)
- How much you read per day (aim for 20 – 40 pages per day, but read at least 1 page no matter what)
- How fast you can read (you can take a test online)
- How long you can read without losing concentration (aim for 1h+ and you can also test your maximum abilities, for example try to read a book in one day)
- Reading comprehension and vocabulary
And a few additional metrics:
- How many books you discuss with other people (kids, spouse, friends, business partners,)
- How many mindmaps did you make based on the books you read
- The number of new things you learned and applied in real life (you can do that when you have self-reflection time and decide what you’ll start doing, stop doing and continue doing)
- How much new knowledge you shared with others (social media, in your own book, lecturing,)
- How many new people you meet and how many new friendships you made where a book was the icebreaker.
I hope I convinced you why you should read every day.