“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.“
-–George R.R. Martin
In a previous post I wrote about the greatest gift I ever received from my dad.
Today, I’d like to expand on that theme a bit.
I have learned over the years that most people fall into one of three categories:
1 – Those who hate to read and never read anything that isn’t absolutely required.
2 – Those who don’t mind reading but only do it when they aren’t preoccupied with other things.
3 – Those who absolutely love to read and spend every free moment with a book in their hands.
If I had to venture a guess I’d say I fall somewhere between numbers 2 and 3 (let’s call it 2.5).
I could easily find myself firmly in the number 3 camp but, as they say, life gets in the way (which is actually a really good thing).
With so many entertainment options available these days you might be wondering why anyone would want to spend a lot of time reading.
Well, there are several reasons:
1 – Reading is personal.
Unlike watching TV, a movie or a baseball game with a group of others, you and you alone are engrossed in the story you’re enjoying at the moment.
And you can enjoy that solitude even if you’re in a room full of people doing other things.
In short, reading gives you the opportunity to do your own thing while others around you do theirs.
2 – Reading is educational.
While you can learn valuable lessons by watching movies or YouTube videos, nothing comes close to reading if you really want to learn something new or fully understand a concept.
There’s just something about the printed word that makes a lasting impression on the brain.
3 – Reading expands one’s breadth of experiences.
If you’re like most people, you’ll never be able to scale Mount Everest. And truth be told, you might not even have the desire to do it even if you could.
But you can share every detail of every inch of that climb by reading a mountain climber’s personal account of the experience.
Yes, you could watch a documentary about an expedition to the top of the world’s highest peak, but that would only give you a bird’s-eye view of the process.
However, reading a first-hand account would allow you to experience every treacherous step up the mountain on a close and intimate level.
4 – Reading creates a new story in the reader’s mind.
Novels have a way of jumping from scene to scene without providing much detail about what happened in between.
That lack of details allows you to “fill in the blanks” in a way that matches your own way of thinking.
Ten people can read the same book and have the story play out in their minds in ten different ways.
In fact, I’ve even read the same book three times (with several years between the readings) and came away with a slightly different “story” every time.
I realize not everyone enjoys reading, but I’ve learned over the years that many non-readers don’t enjoy reading because they never really gave it a chance.
It’s easy for a child to grow sour on reading because they simply hate the subjects they’re reading about in school. After all, being forced to read something you find boring or even distasteful can easily turn you against reading in general.
If you happen to fall into that group I urge you to give reading another try.
Pick out a book on a topic you really enjoy and spend a few minutes each day reading it until you reach the end. You just might find that you enjoy reading after all.
And if you don’t, well…at least you gave it a shot.
To finish up, check out this short, but informative video that discusses 15 benefits of reading.
Note: You can watch this video at full screen by clicking the little “square” icon in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.