You may be asking yourself why you should read 52 books?
What benefits will it have in my life?
Well in this blog post I’ll cover that topic. Some of the reasons will be simple, and some will be things that you may not have thought of. If you are struggling with lifestyle changes, you can make to enable yourself to read 52 books or just more in general see my first blog post on “11 Ways to Read 52 Books.” This current post focuses solely on the benefits that reading can have in your life.
1. Knowledge – This one is pretty simple, the more you read the more knowledge you acquire. I’m not saying that every book your read will impart life changing knowledge but generally you can find some bit of information that you can use in your life from reading a book. The book does not have to be non-fiction to give you that source of knowledge. Fiction books can give you knowledge by placing you in someone’s life and allowing you to undergo experiences through another set of eyes. I’m not a huge fan of fiction but every time I read a Stephen King book, I learn something new and he takes my mind on a journey to unusual places where my mind does not normally venture. I recently read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and if you are interested in anthropology and human history this is a book for you. The knowledge that I gained about human history and the origins of our current lives is extraordinary. It’s a 450 pages book packed with knowledge that everyone should read.
2. Mindfulness – You may be asking yourself how reading can give you mindfulness in your life? Usually, if someone is asking me how to obtain mindfulness in your life, I would tell them to mediate for 10 minutes every day, preferably in the morning but this doesn’t work for everyone. Reading can be another way to focus your thoughts and be completely present in the moment. When you are reading practice focusing your mind complete on your task at hand, try not to let it stray to other areas. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, your mind naturally drifts to areas where you don’t want it to go. Although if you can master this skill, it can have major benefits in your life.
3. Improve your decision making – This one somewhat ties knowledge and mindfulness together. The more knowledge you have about subjects and the sounder understanding on history you have the better decisions you will make. Also, the more you are present in your life and not allowing your worries and anxiety determine your decisions and actions, the more rational decisions you will make. That’s not saying you have to read self-help and history books to help you make better decisions. Autobiographies and fiction can assist you in making better decisions as well, by allowing you to look into someone’s life through their eyes. A great work of fiction may provide you a perspective that changes your life for the better and improves your decision making by seeing someone else walk through certain doors first. Fiction in addition produces empathy, which allows you to understand and deal with others, in turn allowing you to make better decisions.
4. Empathy – This was touched on in the previous note on “Improving your decision making” but I feel like it deserves its own section to expand on a bit more. Every time you allow yourself to look at a situation through a different perspective; it increases your empathy. This is essentially what reading is you are acquiring knowledge through someone else’s perspective. Which, in turn, increases your empathy towards others because you are seeing life through a different set of eyes. When you are seeing life though someone else’s eyes it lets you be more compassionate towards others because you can understand where others are coming from. The person that cut you off in traffic may just be a self-centered asshole, but he also might be a person rushing to the hospital. Allowing yourself to remain calm in those everyday situations and empathize with people is something you can learn from reading.
5. Self-awareness – Reading is one of the easiest ways to become in tune with who you are as a person. Reading allows you to research many different topics and in turn this allows you to make informed opinions on these topics or issues. This isn’t me saying that reading Facebook articles is the same as reading a well-researched book it’s not even close. A lot of the things you click on Facebook is pure click-bate to direct traffic to a particular website and does nothing but reaffirm your current view. What I am saying here is that by reading books of good authors it allows you to see topics through different perspectives. Even if you don’t agree with the authors particular opinion or viewpoint, it allows you to inform your own opinion in an enhanced way. Not everyone has to believe the same things and the more diversity of opinions we have as a society the better we are for it but reading can allow you to become self-aware of your opinions. You are not going to agree with everything you read but reading does aid you in becoming self-aware and maybe being more self-aware can help you develop knowledgeable opinions. In turn this may allow you to enjoy better discussions with people in a knowledgeable, mindful, and empathic way. Everything ties together!
6. Enlightenment – People spend their whole lives searching for enlightenment, spending days in mediation just to have a chance to achieve this. Buddhist monks devote their lives to silence and mediation and only after years of completing this do they achieve this allusive enlightenment. I believe through books you may be capable of achieving enlightenment. In its simplest form enlightenment is being fulfilled with your life and being present in the moment. Sounds like the easiest thing in the world but most people, especially in this increasing digital world, they live their lives in constant worry and anxiety. Through reading you may be able to gain a perspective and fulfillment of your life that you never achieved before. I’m not saying that living your life in a book will grant you fulfillment in life, what I am saying is by seeing different perspectives it adds an element in your life to allow for fulfillment to take place. I touched on mindfulness before in point 3 but by allowing yourself to control your thoughts through reading. You may also be able to achieve mindfulness in your everyday life.
7. Getting yourself away from the digital world – This one is pretty self-explanatory. In our increasing digital world that isn’t going to change, unless some major global break down happens, it is important to disconnect from time to time. Reading can provide you that break from your devices that you require. Experts say you shouldn’t look at any devices with bright lights an hour before you sleep, reading can help you get that separation and improve your sleep patterns. There are days where I like to be device, screen free and not worry about what is happening on my phone. Reading aids in the greatly because I can develop a separation and focus my energy in a particular area.
8. Lifelong learning – I touched on knowledge in my first point and how increased knowledge can lead you to making better decisions. Lifelong learning follows the same baseline but branches off somewhere along the way. Lifelong learning is about expanding your mind and constantly being curious through your life. Reading is one way to achieve this; you don’t have to constantly take courses from universities and colleges to be a lifelong learner. Anything you want to learn can be learned from books on the subject. I recently made a decision to follow my own journey of self-education after many years of following the online university path. I obtained a degree through completing online courses but at the end of the degree I felt like I learned very little. The university path was one that I wanted to follow but at the end of the degree I didn’t feel as fulfilled as I thought I would be. I am very happy I did the degree and when I look on my wall, I do feel a sense of pride from sticking it out and finishing the degree. In saying that I feel like my pride comes from the perseverance and dedication it takes to get a degree, not from the knowledge I obtained from the institution. After only seven months on my journey of self-education, I am getting a lot more fulfillment from researching and studying the subjects I want to learn about rather than the ones decided for you by a university administrator. I’ve read books that have been sitting on my shelf for years which is another source of my fulfilment from self-education. I’m not saying that university or college is a bad thing especially for careers in engineering, medicine, law, and so many more. You need it! What I am saying is maybe not spend your time completing a Degree in Philosophy, when you can pretty much learn everything about the subject from reading books and writing about the subject on your own.
9. Improving your skills – You might be thinking to yourself, isn’t this much the same as life-long learning. Again, same baseline but it takes a turn onto its own street somewhere along the way. Improving your skills is about adding to and increasing the skills you have already developed. So, when it comes time to use these skills, you are ready. Maybe in your current position you don’t have to do any public speaking, but you are seeking a position that requires you to do this on a regular basis. Instead of just jumping into this when you obtain your desired position. You can be reading books on the subject to improve your skills in advance, so you are ready when you do reach your desired position. I recently read Stephen R. Coveys famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a book first published in 1989 and still holds up well today. One of his habits that he mentions is “Sharpening Your Saw”, and he tells a story/metaphor of walking in the woods and meeting a person that has been cutting down a tree with a saw for a long period of time. In this time the individual cutting the tree has not made much progress, so he suggests to the person to take a break and sharpen your saw. The individual does and cuts down the tree in half the time he already spent on the project. The analogy can be used in life as well, the more you learn and improve your skills. The easier and less time your tasks will take when they task actually does come along. Reading can be one way to “Sharpen Your Saw.”
10. Finding your passion – Reading is the one thing that allows you to learn in-depth things about a subject without leaving your house or engaging in some kind of online course. From reading I found my passion, which is promoting self-education and lifelong learning. My current goals in life is to continue on my self-education path and hopefully influence some people alone the way to join me in this journey. When I was younger, I always assumed that you had to go to university or college to learn about a subject or become an expert. This couldn’t be further from the truth; I think that most of our learning happens when you leave these institutions because you are able to learn what you want in a free environment without the restrictions and constraints of cooperate education world. Again, I’m not saying to quit school, for a lot of careers you need that diploma. What I am expressing is once you depart from what every institution you attended you can still continue on your education journey and discover your true passion. If you’re like me, you didn’t find it when you were in school!
Hopefully this list influences your own book journey and to start reading more. I believe reading can deliver major impact on your life and improve it in many ways. You don’t have to maintain a goal of reading one book a week like I do, it could be one a month or less. As you can see from my list above, reading can deliver some significant impacts in your life and maybe make you a little smarter along the way. Enjoy your book journey and if you want to see my everyday book journey, look me up on Instagram @The52bookchallenge to see what I am currently thumbing through.