Why we should read more… and it’s not what you think

At school I hated reading… really, it felt like it was a waste of time. Why when I could watch the same story in the form of a movie. Learn the same information in the form of a documentary and just spend that time doing things that I actually like doing.

The strange thing though, was that as I left school and I entered the world, I realized that I didn’t really know that much. Sure, I did relatively well at school and got good grades. But the wealth of information that lay outside the confines of the lecture rooms was vast and extensive.

I enjoy reading. Mostly non-fiction, but I have come to learn that there is a very good place for fiction books too. Here are some of my thoughts on why we should be reading more.

Reading teaches us to focus our attention more

In a day and age where everything is available at the click of a button, we have become lazy and need more and more ways to keep our attention. Because of the wealth of information and availability of information, we are being fought over by advertisers and businesses to gain that attention.

We’ve become more easily distracted. Unable to stick the path or keep focus on the task at hand.

Reading tunnels our thoughts and attention to the words right in front of us. Reading is a skill of focus that gets better the more we do it.

Reading builds our imagination

When we watch a movie, there is very little room for our imagination. We are fed exactly what information we need. This can be helpful sometimes, as we can eliminate room for error. For example, in a business presentation or important meeting. The less we need to draw conclusions, the more accurate the message.

But when it comes to solving problems, we need our imagination. We need to consider different possibilities and ways of thinking of something.

Reading fast tracks learning new skills

While we do have tonnes of information in multimedia format available to us (video, audio, etc.), reading is another way in which we can process information.

If you look at the availability of written word on a specific topic, it will overshadow the amount of other formats available. Go to Youtube and click in a topic. Check how many videos you find. Now go to Amazon and click in the same topic. How much more deeper is the wealth of information available?

Reading helps us understand the world better

The way that a lot of today’s available information works, is based on the recency of it. More recent and more relevant information to today, is more readily available to us then say, information about what was happening a month, a year, or a decade ago.

The world we live in today must be viewed in context to how we got here. That’s at least if you’d like to better understand the events that we see unfolding in front of our eyes.

Reading helps us understand other people’s view of the world

The map that we have of the world is unique to us. How we view the world is very different to others. Sure, some of us can agree on certain things, but in essence we live in the world, looking through our own eyes of it.

By reading, we can briefly look at the world through the eyes of someone else. The more eyes through which we can see the world, the more colorful we can start to see it. We start to expand our own view of the world.

Reading allows us time to deduce one’s own conclusions

So much of the information we are exposed to, runs in real time. The conversations we have, the news broadcasts on TV, the advertisements on radio and the sales person on the phone. All of these happen second by second. Mostly, we don’t get much time to stop and think about the information we are presented with. We are forced to either accept or deny that information without much in-depth consideration.

Reading gives us time to evaluate the information we are receiving. To think about it, ponder on it, weight up the pros and cons. Measure it against other thoughts or beliefs we may have.

Reading can get us into the heads of the most successful people in the world

There’s a saying that you are the combination of the top 5 people you spend your time with. Depending on your current situation and the expectations you have for yourself in life, this may be a dis-heartening thought.

By reading, you can tap into the minds of the most successful people in any field or arena of thinking in the world.

Here’s my quick guide to evaluating a book’s “read-worthiness”

I mostly only consider books that have been recommended. Either directly by someone that I know, or at least by someone that I look up to (think person on the top of their field in which I’d like to know more about).

Then I’d read the synopsis at the back of the book. This gives me an idea of what to expect. I would also read a bit about the author. Their background, etc. This gives me context in which the book is written.

Then I’d go to the front and look at the table of contents. This gives an idea of how the information is spread out and presented. What areas are focused on and what key take aways to expect. Then I’d briefly flip to a chapter or two that caught my attention and read a paragraph or so. This gives me a sense of the writing style of the author.

If after all of that, I’m keen to know more, then I know I have something worth reading.

So go out there and read more. Put the TV off, PC away, the tablet down and close your Facebook page. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day. The benefits are so much more than you can imagine.


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About The Author

Neil Scholtz

Neil Scholtz is a certified Personal Trainer turned CrossFit coach. He has competed at the CrossFit Games and coached athletes that have competed at the CrossFit Games, but that's not his main focus. Most of his time is spent consulting or coaching individuals to improve their lives through fitness. He has worked with over 1000 individuals from various walks of life. Tailoring solutions to their lifestyle needs.

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