I have never been a reader before this. I always thought I was the movie-watching guy rather than the book-reading kind. I always thought I did not have enough patience to sit through a whole book! This was so deeply wired in my head that I did not even try reading a lot of books. A classic example of not going out of the comfort zone because of self-stated facts!
My brother on the other hand is an avid reader. He has been reading for a very long time. He has seen me struggle to try to complete a book. So at the start of this year, he told me a way I can read more without feeling like it's too much. He told me to take out 1 hour of the day to do nothing but reading. I laughed! "1 hour? I am already wishing there were 48 hours in a day and you are asking me to take out 1 whole hour for something without which I was doing just fine? Not happening!". He was kinda expecting that reaction from me. He told me to try it for a week. If it doesn't work I am allowed to leave it. I was reading a book called "The innovators" back then. I had been reading that book for almost 4 months.
I had like 100 pages left from that book. I was expecting with my schedule in a day I will be able to complete it in the next 2-3 weeks. But when I started reading for one hour a day, I finished the rest of the book in the next 3 days, and by the end of the week, I was about to finish the second book. Well, I was reading for an hour so it was obvious that I would read more. But something even more surprising happened that week!
My productivity actually increased. I saw newfound confidence in myself. I felt that my routine was more meaningful. How? I'll explain!
What exactly happened!
The Flow state
When we do any work for a longer period of time without any interruptions, we enter something called a flow state, where we absorb better and remember more of what we read. This is not just for reading but for any activity. I am currently reading more about this phenomenon in the book called "Deep Work". I will write more in detail about this once I finish reading the book.
Satisfaction of learning something new
This is the main reason behind the routine feeling more meaningful. It's not important how much I actually incorporate the book in my life. It's about being aware of the knowledge. Each book I read becomes an opportunity for me to make myself even better and satisfied in my life. I personally like reading self-help books because I am aware that the problems that I face are not really that unique. The answers are out there, I just need to be proactive and find them. These books are where I find those answers.
Escape from reality
Any avid reader would relate to this statement. While you read a book, you completely forget that you are reading words off of a page. I was really surprised to feel something like that while reading for an hour in the first few days. I always thought of reading as a conscious activity. But once you start reading, after a while it basically you thinking! I found this experience very close to meditation. That little escape from reality helps reduce stress and anxiety!
That feeling of achievement when finishing a book!
There is nothing like that feeling, I ain't kidding! That dopamine hit when you finish a book is just amazing! (What is dopamine?) The special thing about this feeling is that the satisfaction is of high magnitude. You haven't just finished something, but you did something that made you learn, you just did an activity that is said to be a good habit and most importantly you had fun! The last point is paramount! It's very important to read about a topic that you personally enjoy because even I have a hard time reading books when it has to do with a topic I don't particularly enjoy.
I know a lot of us don't start doing things because we have this fixed mindset about what we can and cannot do. As humans, I feel we should always try! That's the best we can do. Be proactive in the choice you make. What seems like a small thing right now can compound into something a lot bigger in the future! So I hope this blog helped you understand the benefits of reading for a longer period of time! I have read a total of 4 books in the last two months alone! currently on my 5th book. Something I could never imagine myself doing a few months back. Now I can very well say, I am an avid reader!
I hope this helped you in some way! If a movie buff like me can sit and read 4 books in 2 months, I am sure anyone can! Find your reason to read books! My reason is self-development. If you like reading fiction, read that! It's an even better form of escape!
I'll see you next week! Happy reading!