Books, books, books, I never thought I would say it but I actually love reading books. I never used to read. I hated it. To me, it was the most boring thing to do. I mean, why read when you can just turn on the TV and get all of the news and entertainment you want without actually having to put in any effort?
After about twenty-five years of life and having been removed from the education system for more than three years, only then did I start to find a love for reading. And let me tell you something, I wish I would have found that love a lot sooner in life.
There are so many benefits to reading. Having read close to 40 books over the course of the last year, I can’t tell you how much I have learned – knowledge that I would not have gained through watching television.
Not only that, but there is just something about reading that captivates your imagination. You play the story in your head however you want it to look, the characters look how you perceive them to look, and the interpretation is yours and only yours. No two people will have the exact same opinion of a book as it will touch their lives in many different ways.
Let me share with you some advice that I used to hear frequently but often disregarded. Start reading MORE.
Read as much as you can. Read before you go to bed, when you wake up in the morning, on the bus ride into work, on your lunch break, when you come home from work, while you take a bath. Read as much as you can. It is crucial for your happiness, for your success, and quite simply, just to gain knowledge. In today’s day and age, knowledge is power.
How Reading Has Helped Me Grow As A Person
I’ve found that no matter what I read, regardless of if it is a good book or a bad book, the act of reading every day has helped me in nearly every aspect of my life. And no, this is not an exaggeration. Reading has helped me grow as a person in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Had I known how much impact it would make on my life, I would have started reading more a lot earlier on in life. Maybe it’s why the average CEO reads 52 books or more per year.
Here are a few of my favorite ways of how reading has helped me grow as a person and has helped lead me towards a happier and more successful life.
1. Reading helps me to feel smarter.
Crazy right?!?! Who would have known that reading helps one to feel smarter? If only we would have been told this growing up! Oh wait… we were.
Those who read more tend to be more successful, do better in school, and find more success in their life. Not only does it make you smarter, but it also helps your mind to stay sharp and focused as you age.
I can say that this has been true for me. Since I started reading, my confidence has skyrocketed. I feel smarter, I feel more successful, and I simply feel as if I am doing better in life overall.
2. My vocabulary has increased.
Another perk of reading is that it’s a great way to develop your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. Not only that, but you also are exposed to how different words fit into sentences. Having a large vocabulary can help to increase your confidence and self-esteem. It can also help you with your own writing.
For me, I find myself using larger words on a daily basis. Now I don’t want to lie, I still misplace them or choose the wrong word on a frequent basis, but I am getting better, and that’s what it’s all about. Reading is about learning. The more you read, the more you learn and improve.
3. Reading helps to reduce stress.
This one is HUGE for me! I am the type of person who stresses… A LOT! Anything that can help me to reduce the stress that I am feeling, you better believe I am going to give it a try. I guess for me, reading just helps me escape and helps me to take my mind off of the things that are stressing me out.
Needless to say, books are a great distraction and a way to help reduce stress. If you find yourself getting caught in your thoughts or have a difficult time sitting still because you are worried, try reading. Allow your mind to wander into an unknown world and to escape reality for a little bit.
4. Reading has sparked my imagination.
I don’t know what it is about reading, but it has definitely helped to spark my imagination. I am more creative, I take more chances on myself, and my mind feels clear and open instead of foggy and bare.
Every time I open a book, it’s like I am directing a movie inside my head. Everything from the characters, the setting, all the way to the plot is all processed from my imagination. To be completely honest, it’s pretty cool.
5. Reading gives me another perspective.
When we walk through life, we are only given one perspective – our own. But when we consume the ideas and beliefs of others, we are opened to a world of endless possibilities. This doesn’t mean that we are wrong and others are right, or that others are wrong and we are right. It just means that by having an open mind, you start to see the world in a different way.
A lot of the books that I read are self-help books. I felt lost in life and wanted to gain a sense of happiness and freedom. This is why I started reading. I wanted to be exposed to the ideas and beliefs of others, more importantly, to those who had what I was looking for: happiness.
So far, it has done just that. Because I have picked up on so many habits and ideas from others, I have been able to take my life from average, to living a better life each and every day.
6. Reading helps me to find stillness.
Going back to the whole stress thing, not only does reading help me to manage stress, but reading also helps me to find stillness. For those who deal with stress and are always fidgety or on the move, you know all too well how difficult it can be to sit still.
What I have found though, is that reading is one of the few activities that I can do for extended periods of time in which I don’t feel as if I need to constantly be moving. My body finds stillness as my mind gets lost in the story. It has been a great way for both my body and mind to get some much-needed r&r.
7. Reading helps me to stay focused.
As I get to the last point, I see how much I have absolutely thrown myself under the bus here. Let’s just lay it all out. I have a difficult time coping with stress, it is challenging for me to find stillness, and it is also incredibly difficult for me to stay focused on any given task for more than twenty minutes before I lose interest.
Although this one depends on the book that I am reading, reading has also helped me to stay focused for longer amounts of time. The world that we live in moves at a rapid pace, and if we never take the time to slow down in it, we are only going to know one speed.
That’s why reading has been beneficial to me. It has helped me to find that sense of stillness, to calm my mind, and has helped enable me to stay focused on any given task for longer periods of time. When I read, I am concentrated only on one thing. By doing so, I am training my body and mind to focus solely on that one thing and shut out all other distractions.
If you don’t read because you don’t have time, try using an app like Audible or Blinkist. Otherwise, you can always go sign up for a local library membership for free and most will have an app where you can download audiobooks as well. That and library memberships are free (thank you taxes!).
The point is, there is no reason for not reading. Reading helps you to gain knowledge, and knowledge is power. If you want to gain an advantage on the rest of the world around you, then read as much as you can. Reading has helped me grow as a person in so many ways, and I know that it will do the same for you as well.