This blog post is quite long so if you prefer, you can jump straight to other sections that interest you more. Enjoy!
JUMP TO SECTIONS:
- BENEFITS OF READING / REASONS TO READ
- STEPS TO GET STARTED (THE STEPS I TOOK)
- GETTING YOUR BOOKS (MY FAVOURITE PLACES TO GET BOOKS)
If you’re a lot like me, kinesthetic by nature, and easily bored, I’m sure you can relate that reading could possibly be one of the most boring things ever! However, ever since the start of this year, I have committed myself to the habit of reading.
If you have seen one of my previous blog post on the impossible list, you’d probably have noticed that one of my goals this year is to read a new book each month.
Though may not seem like a tough goal to achieve, (for some people) I went through 2017 trying to read as much as I could but ended up only finishing one book. (John Kavanagh’s ‘Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor, and Me’ – It’s a good book)
Nonetheless, it’s only mid of the third month of 2018 and I’m already about done on my third book. – On the right track to reaching my goal. As you may have already heard, reading is good for you. And after much research, I strongly concur with that statement.
But you may wonder, what exactly are the benefits of reading? And why did I commit to such a habit? I will share all these in this blog post.
Additionally, I will share with you what I’ve learned and how I used certain techniques to pick up reading based on my research and experiences.
BENEFITS OF READING/REASONS TO READ
1. Improves Concentration & Focus
Yes, reading does improve concentration and focus. Reading is like a form of exercise for your brain. And how is this so?
Reading a book either fiction or non-fiction requires your mind to be actively engaged with each sentence read. In the case of fiction, for you to understand or be immersed in the story, your brain has to be picturing each scene that happens. You need to use your imagination to place yourself in the character’s shoes to imagine the senses and emotions felt by the character – this requires your brain to be active.
And in the case of non-fiction, it similarly, requires your mind to be fully engaged to understand the concepts and facts presented in the book.
With that, we can see that without the active engagement of the brain, one is not able to read effectively. Thus, reading requires your full attention and participation. And the more you read, the more it improves your concentration and focus. (Improving productivity as well)
However, for someone who does not read regularly or have difficulty keeping their attention on a book, this presents the same problem. – How do you even start? Later on, in this blog post, I will dive more into the steps I took to start reading.
2. Improves Your English
Reading books expands your vocabulary over time allowing you to have a deeper understanding of the language.
For example, when you come across a complex word, for you to understand what the author wrote, you have to ‘google’ that word. Which then allows you to have a basic understanding of that new word thus, expanding your vocabulary bit by bit. (To really have that new word as part of your vocabulary arsenal, it’ll take a conscious effort to make it part of your speech and writing – Another discussion for another day.)
Furthermore, it also improves your communication skills as it teaches you how to present your ideas and thoughts in proper sentences so that others can understand you. I believe this is applicable to any other languages out there as well.
Therefore, reading improves your English over time. However, since I have only picked up reading recently, I have experienced this benefit only at a minimal amount so far as I think that the improvement of language will take time. And it’ll be even longer if someone does not put it into practice. But well, slow progress is still progress after all.
Does Reading Improve Your English?
3. Makes You Smarter & Wiser
This is without a doubt, the main reason you should pick up reading. Look at any successful person. More than 70% of them condones the habit of reading. There’s a reason why Warren Buffet (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway) spends 80% of his day reading. Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, Elon Musk. All of them read regularly.
This, in my opinion, is one of the main traits that separate the successful and unsuccessful people.
I believe, reading not only makes you smarter in your intellectual intelligence but also your emotional intelligence. These are the lessons that are not taught in school but are practical and will improve your life in all areas.
Still not convinced? Check out this speech from one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Tai Lopez.
Moreover, some of you may argue with me saying that acquiring knowledge does not only come in the form of books. As much as I agree with everyone, (since I’ve learned so much from video and audio content) I have to say, it really depends.
Certain videos are great in their explanation, concepts, and ideas. However, a book can hold a lot more information and possibly give a clearer understanding of these concepts. In short, reading could be better at depicting and explaining something compared to most video and audio content.
So, the best way of learning is to incorporate video, audio, and reading altogether. However, this is based on my own opinion after experimenting and researching for myself. I could be wrong so, do what’s best for you.
As long as we’re all improving ourselves!
Steps to get started (The steps I took)
1. Picking Your Type Of Book
When I say the type of book, I don’t mean the category of the book or whether it’s non-fiction or fiction. (We’ll get to that later) What I meant is, whether you’d prefer the traditional type of reading or an audiobook.
And the answer to that will be dependent on your preferences and learning styles. Personally, I’m a kinesthetic and visual learner followed by aural and finally reading/writing having the lowest score. (Based on a learning style test)
My learning style is not exactly the most optimal for reading, but that doesn’t stop me from doing so. With that, I do prefer the traditional type of reading compared to audiobooks.
However, on certain occasions, I do enjoy audiobooks more. So think of which way will be better suited for you. Or, you could try both ways and see which you like. (Maybe you may even use both methods. – Like myself)
Just to add on, if you are wondering, there’s actually no disadvantage of using audiobooks compared to the usual.
Additionally, I’ve just started using this new platform which breaks down the main lessons of different books and translates it into a video/audio format.
For someone like me who’s more visual, this is quite a game changer so I do recommend anyone who has trouble reading/still does not like to read, or tend to enjoy videos more, to check this platform out.
This platform is called Mentorbox (I will speak more about it later in this post)
With that said though, I personally will not use Mentorbox to replace reading but instead, use it to supplement my reading. Imagine how much you’d learn from having all these mediums together. (Books, videos & audio)
You can check out this article:
Is Listening To Audiobooks Really The Same As Reading?
2. Picking Your Type Of Book Pt. 2
After picking your way of reading, now, we will talk about the type of book to choose. Yes, I do mean fiction/non-fiction and the category of the book. For a start, I believe that it’s important to pick the book that best interests you so that you will not get bored as easily.
Additionally, picking your type of book is dependent on your goals of reading. For myself, I just generally enjoy learning so I read lesser on fiction books, but more on self-improvement, people skills, business, biographies etc.
In short, just pick the book that’ll interest/benefit you the most.
3. Starting small & Consistency
As mentioned earlier, for some of us, reading is not our favorite past time (at least in the beginning) so actually picking up this habit is tough. Nevertheless, picking up reading is the same as picking up any habit. Starting small and being consistent is key.
I personally started with audiobooks. (You can start with normal books also) And in the beginning, I did not prioritize reading as much. Which resulted in me not making time solely for reading. So the only time I would listen to my book was during my commute to school and back – instead of listening to music.
I only started out listening to my book for about 5 minutes a day. And gradually increased it over time to 10 minutes after 3 days, and 15 minutes after the next 5 days, and soon, it was my whole trip to school. I did this everyday to ensure that it became a habit.
Now that reading has become one of my favorite past times and habit, I’ve made it a point to craft out some time during my day just to read.
Hence, if any of you are having trouble reading, start small and gradually increase the time spent reading/pages read. Sooner or later, you won’t even realize you finish your first book and can’t wait to start on your next!
However, like I said, this habit will only be formed if you stay consistent.
This whole concept of starting small and staying consistent really helped me out a lot. And this technique could be applied to picking up other good habits as well! #majorkeyalert
4. Reading Faster (Additional Step)
Given that we do see the benefits of reading and have already applied the first 3 steps, it will be much more efficient if we were to work smarter through absorbing knowledge at a faster rate. This will allow us to read more books and free up more time to do other important things.
However, increasing your reading speed without losing comprehension of the content is no easy feat. I personally am working on this.
I’ve linked two videos below from Thomas Frank which will give us a greater insight into the science and provide practical ways we can apply to increase our reading speed (speed-reading).
Science Behind Increasing Your Reading Speed
5 Ways To Read Faster
Getting your books (My main sources):
I usually buy my books from Book Depository since they offer free shipping worldwide and have a wide range of books for me to choose from.
On top of free shipping, they quite often hold promotions and sales here and there. Literally, 80% of my books purchased are from them.
Book Depository is my main source for getting books.
Link: Book Depository
Audible from Amazon
When you talk about audiobooks, there’s only one way to go. Similiar to ‘Book Depository’, they provide a wide range of books as well. I’m a huge fan of Audible!
They also provide a membership plan where you can pay a base fee every month and receive a new book each month instead of purchasing a book individually – giving you more ways to pick up this new habit.
This is the new platform which I just started a membership with. Mentorbox provides a whole range of books in video format where they summarise and give you the main key points of the book helping you to learn the knowledge through the materials.
This platform is perfect for both readers and non-readers.
I personally love Mentorbox way of teaching as it supplements my reading with video, audio, and notes ensuring that I will remember and practically apply the main lessons learned.
Choose which platform works well for you.
To conclude, I believe reading is one of best habits we could all pick up. We are blessed to be living in this age where information is so easily accessible. Hence, let’s take advantage of this blessing and invest in ourselves to be the best version we can be. With that, I’d like to start a series called ‘Great Reads’ where I will give a brief summary of a book and takeaways from some of my favorite books. #stayhustling
“Those who seek knowledge are already more knowledgeable than those who think they are.”