“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” ― Jim Rohn
Many of the things that we do tend to be reactive, rather than proactive. Whilst we go through our stages of development, from a child to an adult, oftentimes we adhere to the customs of society because, well, that’s just the way everyone else does it. But most of us don’t really experience ‘life’ when we’re at school. We experience the system imposed by the expectations of our school, our family and our surrounding environment. We take all of that influence and filter out those that we don’t think fit into our sense of identity, or sometimes we just let it be.
In other words, what I’m trying to say here is that the external forces that surround us every day make it easier for us to lose our true sense of identity. If you’re part of the ‘new’ generation, you probably have access to most of the technology that is used on a daily basis: smartphones, laptops and/or computers, TV’s, whatnot.
We are in constant need of coming up with new ideas, products and innovations, most of which we fathomed a decade ago. It’s all about moving forward. Using the best educational tools. The best technology.
But the most crucial piece missing in this puzzle is something that I have seen worsening among my classmates. This generation just does not read. It’s as if books have become antiquated, non-existent almost. The only people that I know that read for pleasure are those that are particularly interested in a subject, literature. But the rest just hates reading.
There are many ways to learn, of course, and if you don’t read you aren’t necessarily disadvantaged to someone who does. But you do miss out on a lot. Reading is a habit that I believe needs to be cultivated at a young age in order for you to truly ingrain the intrinsic benefits that it can give you, but that’s just my opinion.
So, what’s so great about reading?
I get it. When I’m at a social place (school, event, elsewhere) I’m looked down upon when I pick up a book and decide to focus my energy on the book rather than my surroundings. It’s probably the most anti-social activity that you could ever do. And what’s so great about texts anyway? Anyway can read. The difference is, not everyone does.
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ― Mark Twain
If you claim that you don’t like reading, you simply haven’t picked up a book that has sparked your interest yet. If you can’t follow one long story through all the way, then you would probably enjoy reading several books at once (that’s what I do).
Reading is the cheapest, most efficient and best form of self-education that you will ever have. Through fiction, you will come to know more about your own personality by identifying yourself with the characters. Through classics, you will understand how the world has come to be what it is. Through non-fiction, you get a testament of the hardships that the author has gone through to write the subject of that book.
In other words, books will enable you to live through countless experiences that you never had and might never have.
How should I read?
The things that you have mastered all have something in common: they start as a hobby, a passion. You can never truly master something without any interest in the activity whatsoever. That’s how you should start with reading. Pick books that you know for certain you are going to like (tip: look for specific fiction genres that you have enjoyed in the past, and delve more into them), and start with them first.
Then, the options are limitless: you can read to improve your language, your understanding of literature, of a particular subject, and – my current favorite one – for self-improvement. The more excited you are about the topic, the easier the retention of information will be. And before you know it, you have gone through several books already.
But I don’t have timeee!
Bullshit. That’s what I often told myself while I was completing my last few years of high school. Until I realized that the last non-fiction books I’ve read could have helped me tremendously in dealing with the mental obstacles that I was facing at school.
The thing is, today, reading comes in many forms. Too many books you want to read? No problem – just buy them on the Kindle for a cheaper price. Too time-consuming? You probably spend a lot of time commuting too, so download the Audible app on your phone and buy some books to listen while you go from one place to the other.
Many of the excuses that we claim we have today are outdated. Though I still wish books were still just books, nothing can stop technology from revolutionizing the book industry. I guess that’s great, in some ways.
“The Power of Habit” is a book I recently read, and it has completely changed the way I approach my life. This book provides the reasons to why we do what we do, using very relatable and intriguing real-life examples and even comparing habits to addictions (and how similar they actually are).
I recommend this book because it’s easy to read, interesting, knowledgeable, and it will help you adjust your lifestyle so hopefully you can become the next (or first) bookworm in your surrounding 🙂