Looking for Something To Do? Why Not Give Reading a Shot!
As I write this post, it’s snowing outside, thanks to the courtesy of winter storm Albert coming up the East coast. My town was fortunate to only get 12 to 16 inches. Some other areas of the state got over 24 inches. Due to my injury this past summer, I’m still recovering and medically forbidden from all strong twisting motions that may cause me to re-injure myself. What does that mean? It means I’m not allowed to shovel my own driveway and sidewalk so I’m letting some of the neighborhood kids earn a few dollars shoveling it for me (and no I don’t own a snowblower). In the meantime, I’m stuck at home unable to go out until my driveway is cleared. This made me think about what I can do with the little bit of time I have until my driveway is clear. “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine” is a saying that comes to mind. The first time I read it, I thought how profound yet simple. The funny thing is that I recognized it to be so true. Everyone has the same 168 hours in a week. What we get out of it depends a great deal on what we do with it. At the same time, it also depends on what we don’t do with it.
We all have the choice to choose what we do with our time to some extent of another. Whether it is taking care of our children, going to work, taking care of an errand, you name it we all have something we choose to do…even if it’s doing nothing at all.
What do you like to do when you find yourself with time on your hands?
Today I found myself looking at the choices of watching TV or an on demand movie, reading a book, or catching up on my emails. I decided to give myself some time reading a good book. I haven’t been able to do that in a few days and as I started reading, I began to see the images of the world that the book was describing and the story that was unfolding within its words. I read for a little bit, which for me with a good book is a few hours, and then put the book down after saving my place with a bookmark. Growing up so many of my friends despised reading and they did everything they could to avoid doing the reading assignments from school (Cliff Notes, Book Summary Reviews, etc.). Even as an adult I know so many people who would prefer not to read at all if they could help it. Of all things that a person can do to weaken the growth in their life, choosing not the read is probably one of the worst.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is for the body” – Sir Richard Steele
Reading can become addictive and a healthy addiction at that. The benefits that come from reading are always guaranteed and they always come to those who read, regardless of whether they are consciously aware of them or not. It doesn’t matter who you are and what it is that you’re reading, the benefits are always there, provided what you’re reading is not trash.
The most wonderful thing that reading offers is a view into another world. When you pick up a book and start reading it, you begin to lose yourself into it. Studies have proven that reading offers the mind a healthy escape from the everyday routines of life and allows us to recharge our brains a bit. Reading offers us a chance to see the world from someone else’s eyes, thus broadening our minds to other points of view and new possibilities. Reading is also a great imagination booster and it helps to give people a better sense of creativity. If you ever find yourself needing a new idea for a project at work or simply a fresh design for a new pillow cover, all you need to do is read. It doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily find the idea you’re looking for in what you’re reading, but the very act of reading allows the mind to wander into another mode of thinking allowing the creative reserves of your mind to flow. Reading has also been shown to help people with focus and concentration.
-Did you know that the average American only reads one book a year?
-And that 60% of average Americans only get through the first chapter?
-CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month.
Why am I saying this about reading? Because of all the things we can do to improve the quality of life, reading has to be the most inexpensive and also one of the most powerful ways to do it.
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders must be readers.” — Harry S. Truman
“The ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” — Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1964
“You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” — Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” — Confucius
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
I challenge every person who doesn’t read to try the following: For 7 days, plan out 10 to 15 minutes everyday to do nothing but read a book on something you’d like to know more about. Do it at the same time each day if you can. A simple way to choose a book to read is to go to a nearby Border’s or Barnes and Noble and choose a book from their best seller selection. These are usually not expensive and can be bought in paperback form (less expensive than hardcover). After 7 days, see if you notice anything different with the way your mind is. You may notice that you are more focused on certain things than you usually are or you may feel that you are accomplishing more than you’re use to accomplishing. Whatever you notice, I’m willing to wager that you’ll notice some form of positive benefit in your life just by taking a little bit of time each day to read.
What would you like to do better in your life? It’s a good chance that reading will help!