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Why Every Man, Woman, and Child Should Get in the Habit of Reading

By: Brian Kim - October 21, 2006

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Reading. I can’t say enough good things about reading. The sad thing about it is that some adults stop reading because they dislike it so much. I suspect the reason why is because they’ve been negatively conditioned to it during their time at school because they were forced to read books they disliked and had no interest in.

Reading is feasting for the mind. A rich platter to choose from, to embrace, to savor, to shape our thoughts, change our perceptions, and take us down mental journeys we’ve never dreamed of going down before.

If you haven’t already picked up the habit of reading daily, I urge you to do so. The only requirement is to read that which interests you. Science fiction? Go right ahead. Mystery, thriller, they are all yours for the taking. Romance? Sure why not? The important thing about reading what interests you is that it will get you back to associating pleasure with reading.

Once you have linked up reading as something you enjoy, I recommend you use that new found association to read all you can about investing in yourself. What I mean by that is learning all you can to get the most out of your mind and body.

Your mind is a Lamborghini and those who refuse to learn how to operate it are doomed to live life in the parking lot while others who have read the various manuals around them will have learned to shift gears and accelerate and move that much closer to the achievement of their dreams. They have learned how to steer to avoid potential obstacles on the road, when to brake when making the turn, and when to accelerate to maximize gain. They have learned how to take care of the engine so as to not put the wrong substances in, substances such as negative thinking, TV, media, other people’s worthless opinions, etc. They understand the importance of maintaining their engine that they protect it at all costs.

There is a ton of information out there to help you do exactly that. Yet, people refuse to take advantage of it. It’s like people try to dig a hole in cement with chopsticks, when they have a shovel right by them, along with a jackhammer, and a bulldozer to boot. Why not pick them up and use them?

Once you do that, guess what? You realize the true power of reading. Once you read books on how to invest in yourself and apply what you learn, that makes you want to read more because you see the good results, which will in turn make you want to read even more and you start to enter in a favorable cycle that’ll result in who knows what. You’ll love reading so much that because you do it so often, you read faster so you’re able to read more books in less time. You’re able to pick out the main ideas and supporting arguments quickly. You learn to speed read, to skim through books to see if they are worthy of your time.

Like any skill, repetition will make you a master of it. You don’t need any special techniques, you don’t need step by step instructions on how to be a good reader, you don’t need a reading tutor, you just need to love reading. That’s why I suggested you first read what interests you. Once that love of reading has been grown inside of you, you will naturally want to spend time doing it. We all know that people who love doing an activity become experts at it. The ones who have no natural talent for basketball, but out of pure love for the game have became excellent at it, simply because they devote so much time practicing it. Love of an activity leads to repetition of it which leads to mastery. The sky’s the limit when you begin to do this. If you’re interested in a subject, say cooking and read all about it, you become an expert at it because you’ve literally read what many experts have to say about it. People who write have distilled all their knowledge and experience over the years and have condensed it for you to consume. Read a lot of those books and you will have gained literally hundreds of years of knowledge and experience in weeks. If that is not one of the best investments you can make in life, I don’t know what is. Forget the 401k, the stocks, the bonds, what your broker has to say. Read to invest in yourself. You could probably make more money by reading to invest in yourself than in all your other investment vehicles combined.

Reading allows you to make connections, to see things in a different light, to exercise that brain of yours to think creatively, which all contribute to great ideas. By reading, you feed your brain information from multiple perspectives and your brain starts to put everything you’ve learned in a big pot and simmers it to produce something that can potentially help you solve any problem you face.

It's also the best fodder for imagination. By reading, you’re able to practice your muscles of visualization because when we read, we think in pictures in our head. A bright red convertible with a beautiful blond woman inside. Does reading that fragment not conjurer up that image in your head? By reading, you strengthen your visualization muscles which will help you big time, because you and I know just how powerful visualization can be. Reading actively engages you while TV does not. TV makes the pictures for you so your brain doesn’t have to. That’s why your brain shuts off while watching TV. No thinking involved because the work is already being done FOR you.

Workout your brain like you would any other muscle in your body. Feed it. Exercise it. Watch it grow. It is by far your most valuable asset. More valuable than all your possessions combined, for those who have lost everything they had were able to get it all back and then some, solely because of their minds and their minds alone. It all starts in the mind so why not fully engage the mind by habitually reading instead of numbing it by watching TV. Strengthen the mind and you’ll find the rest of your life would be strengthened as well.

The best time to get in the habit of reading is when you are young. As a child, I loved going to the library. I would check out grocery bags full of books, I kid you not. I would have to make several trips from my desk to the counter and I would get strange looks from librarians and patrons alike, but I didn't care. I loved to read and if you can instill this habit in your child when they're young, you will have certainly given them an edge in life.

One of the posters in the discussion forums declared that her sole purpose is to turn each child on this earth into a bookworm. She does this by sending them a personalized letter to encourage children to read along with an easy craft project, a reading encouragement pencil, and a fun suprise. Every child likes to get mail in their own name and when you get encouragement to read a book in a personalized letter along with fun stuff in a time where TV, video games and the Internet are taking time away from reading, I’m all for it. If you know of any parents who would like this idea, please tell them about her site. I think it’s a great way to get kids to read. You can reach Lisa Roberson's site at http://www.myveryownmail.com/

Reading can change our lives. One book may be all it takes. Heck, even one really great article may be all it takes as well. Reading allows us to see the knowledge, experience and viewpoints of those outside of us and if we are wise to consolidate that and use that to our advantage, we would have multiplied our wisdom by a hundredfold. I shudder to think where my life would be had I not developed a love for reading

I understand that this article is not as cleanly organized as others and it’s simply because the sheer number of reasons and benefits of why one should read are so staggering that I’m at a loss of where to begin to organize those ideas and reasons. I don’t think any article or book for that matter can convey the full benefits of reading habitually. This article is just scratching the surface of the benefits of reading. Reading is my passion and this is just me venting, to urge those of you who have not made a habit of reading daily, to do so and start reaping the long term benefits.

Reading by far is one of THE best ways to invest in yourself so do not delay. Pick up that book. Pick up whatever book interests you and see where the journey takes you. Less TV, more ideas, greater plans, more results, the life you want, it’s all there for the taking and it all starts with you reading.

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3 Responses to “Why Every Man, Woman, and Child Should Get in the Habit of Reading”

  1. Randel Says:

    Brain,

    I am curious to hear what you think about Einstein’s quote:

    “Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Randel,

    Thanks for the interesting quote. I don’t know exactly what Einstein meant by that quote so I won’t be able to comment on it.

  3. Reader Success Story: If You Met Her 10 Years Ago, You Would’ve Thought She Was On a Sad and Painful Path of Despair » The Definitive Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

    […] I moved away from therapists telling me I’m an insomniac or have OCD or ADD and taking anti-depressants, painkillers and sleeping pills and began meditating, researching and reading more. I exposed myself to things I never had before. I found you searching “how to have more confidence” and believe reading the article about “going out by yourself once in a while” inspired me to do so and contributed to my amazing comfort level I have now around any person or group of people. I meet “strangers” all the time who are connected to my big network in the strangest ways and end up helping with a lot of my “problems”…. or I have solutions to theirs. Any and all of your articles on getting started with exercise or saving money when I’ve been slacking gets me back in the gym or back on track with my finances. I have read and love all of your articles and could write a novel about how they’ve all helped me, but I think it was a combination of everything and the timing when I read each one that really all added up to being a perfect support system for me. When I wasn’t doing well, it inspired me to make change. When I was on top of my game, it only made my “offense” that much stronger. […]

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