You start to read the sentence and you even grasp the first few words but then your mind trails off. So much to do today…Then you remember yourself and start to read again. This time you make it mid paragraph before your phone chimes. Someone has updated an Instagram photo of themselves on holiday. It looks great…Then they’re on WhatsApp wanting to talk chat about it but someone has just shared a video of the cutest kitten on Facebook and you have to check it out. Fast forward to two hours later, you’ve probably read a whole page but you couldn’t say what it was about. It’s happened to most, if not all of us, but it would do us all good to avoid being swallowed in this trend.
Stimulation of the mind
Most of the education systems in the world have made it such that people no longer feel any desire to read once they’re out of the classroom, which is tragic, because reading is one of the sure ways to exercise your brain muscle. Studies have found that cognitive stimulation through reading or completing puzzles slows or even prevents Dementia in old age. Reading keeps the mind active and thus, healthy.
Acquisition of knowledge
Reading is one of the most powerful tools of learning and there’s a world of books out there on virtually every subject you can think of. Top CEOs and other industry leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg will tell you that they read a new book every two weeks not only for their personal growth, but also to stay ahead in business. Some of the greatest tech companies such as Microsoft, Motorola, Dell and of course Yahoo have lost out on millions of dollars’ worth of opportunities and those that were once leaders are now followers. One of their greatest setbacks has been their shortcomings in knowledge acquisition and even though it’s not quite as simple as that, the point is that those who blink in business get left behind. It is ironic that people understand this and will read every business book out there whilst neglecting books on their work life, marriage and relationships and health.
Reading equips us with the knowledge and skills to cope in the workplace, better our interactions with others and even improve our health. Books are a primary way for experts and those who have come before us to share experiences and impart wisdom from which we can benefit. Not only do we acquire skills, but we’re also able to generate new ideas that may later become game changers to be passed onto future generations. Besides, a sharp vocabulary never hurt anyone, and you of course do not want to be the trending butt of bad grammar jokes on the internet.
Without reading, you can only live one life but with reading, you can live a thousand lives. Ardent readers know the joys derived from immersing yourself in a good book. You get to be the character you relate to, whether the protagonist or the antagonist (with little consequences) and get to meet all these other characters who can feel as real as life itself. You get to visit all these enchanting places and get a true and authentic peek into the writer’s mind and wild imaginations. In the fast paced world we live in where it is easy to feel like we’re getting left behind, escaping in a book is as good as a Hawaiian getaway, and we all need that.
All in all, much can be said about the benefits of reading but to drive the point home, I leave you with this quote from a character in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series.
A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.