There are many people that are puzzled at how fast the months have already flown by. The month of March is here with us sitting squarely. Most of us had already set the goals that we had for the year. Some were a new resolve to get things done and others were goals that we set to improve on what we were already doing. It is not rare to find that we have fallen off the band wagon of reaching these very goals that we were so fervent about when the year began. As we continue on the personal development series I would like to bring this to your attention, the importance of reading a book. It might already be on your list of goals but if it’s not this is why you should add it:
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” This quote by record producer George Martin, aptly captures the value of reading.
When I started ardently reading anything and everything that I could get my hands on, it was not the result of a premeditation on the benefits of reading. I just found myself glued to pages of writing as one is glued to their favourite television channel. I was fascinated by the stories that lived in books. My young years were filled with turning pages day in day out.
I will share three benefits of reading from my personal experiences
The most magical benefit is that reading will take you to places that you have never been to. Theodore Roosevelt said that, I am a part of everything that I have read. I had never been to Spain until I read of love and other demons. A book about a cleric who does the unorthodox by falling in love with a girl who he was supposed to exorcise. Reading takes your mind on a journey, you traverse valleys you might never be able to in this finite life, and you weave yourself in the stories that live in others. Reading a book will take your breath away in more ways than you can possibly comprehend. It is only through reading that you can go to various places without moving.
The second benefit is that reading will grow your mental muscles. Sir Richard Steele said that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. When you consider New Year resolutions, physical exercise is among the most popular). Many people would like to either keep fit, lose some weight or build muscles; and would be more than pleased if their six packs emerged from hiding under abdominal fat. You might have noticed that a car that is parked gets flat tires and a dead battery; that is the same for our brains, when we do not use them they waste away. Reading a book strengthens your thinking capacity, when you engage the gears of your mind how you think about various issues deepens. Through reading you can easily learn a new skill or even become an expert in your field. In a world where everything is changing so fast you cannot afford to rely on old knowledge. Brian Tracy said, ‘If you read only one book per month that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely." We all want to be intelligent, in our thoughts and communication.
The third benefit is that reading will improve your world view. Stephen King said that books are a uniquely portable magic. Your perceptions are shaped by your environment, your interactions with people and your upbringing. Many of us will not be lucky enough to travel the world, but the only difference between you and the culture in Pakistan is a book by a Pakistan author. The closest you might ever get to meeting Richard Brandson is reading a book that he has written. In a world that is slowly becoming a global village and national boundaries are being blurred you cannot afford to be the person in the room that has a mind riddled with stereotypes as a result of ignorance. The world is moving at the speed of lightening, whole industries are getting disrupted by technology and different geopolitical issues which you will never learn of if you do not read.
As you have heard, reading has multiple benefits including growing your mental muscles, taking you to places you have never been to, and improving your world view. Every year I attempt to read the number of books that are my age, so this year I will be attempting to read 21 books and I have read 5 books so far. I urge you to read a book a month, and experience the benefits for yourself. Who will rise to this challenge?