I would have never thought I would write an article about reading. Reading has always been part of my life but it has never been more important than right now. All of us have passions growing up, reading, playing football, drawing, writing, whatever it may be, it’s always glaringly obvious because as a kid we don’t obsess about things we just do. So, if you want to know what a kid is interested in, just observe where they spend their time. It is that magically simple. For kids. For us grow ups however (ew, I’m officially classed as a grown up) things get a little more tricky. For no particular reason. Somewhere on the spiral of growing up, the importance of doing exactly as you please gets lost, until you’re well and truly down the habit hole, doing exactly what someone else pleases.
It is quite a tragedy of our world that anyone spends any great amount of time not doing the things we love. Albeit a naive and dream ideology, it’s important to aspire for more than what we all attain in today’s world.
Growing up, I loved to read. All the self-developmental, self-growth and entrepreneurial biographies books I could get my hands on. You know, the cringe stuff that everyone says is a pile of bullshit. Yep, that’s what I loved to read. More than anything I loved the stories of peoples career’s and I’ve always been fascinated to understand why people chose the work they do.
So how have I picked up more books (and read) this year than any other in my life? Well the first step is quite an obvious. It’s pinpointing it’s important to you and that you want to do more of it.
Then comes the easy bit — doing it. So if this were an article aimed at a kid I would simple say ‘go read’. But for us grown ups, it seems a little bit harder than that (although it isn’t). Figure out what brings you joy and go do more of it seems like the most basic, plain paper, simple answer in the world. And whilst simple is good, our brain talks us in to thinking it’s more complicated. So with that in mind here’s some added steps, that I don’t think you need but that will bring you some reassurance.
1. Designate the time. We are creatures of busy lifestyles. Or at least we tell ourselves we are and we schedule our lives so we meet that expectation. If things do not have a schedule we feel totally lost and we’re unsure whether we should be doing that activity at that time and perhaps for clarity we should double check our diaries. With that in mind, carve out some time in your day to dedicate to reading. I do it in the morning. I feel like it’s good to focus on some words in the early morning to get my brain working but that might not work for you. The morning is often a quite time where you can escape the impending chaos (that being the people in your house about to wake up)
2. Reflect on the benefits. We always need a why. It’s quite odd and probably exclusive to humans but we need a reason to do things. Aside from the obvious of eating because otherwise we’d go hungry or drinking otherwise we’d die of thirst. Anything over and above that needs some weighty reason as to why we are doing it, otherwise it doesn’t feel like a good use of time. We struggle to just do things and not think about them. So give yourself a reason. They will be some reason why you love to read or whatever it may be. Maybe it brings you a sense of calm, maybe it allows you to not overthink for a while, maybe it gets you to think a little bit more creatively. Whatever it may be, I find if you reflect on the reason as to why you are doing it, you are more likely too.
3. Read something you are passionate about. If you stuck a Dan Brown novel in front of me and said “go on then Eve, you say you love reading so much”, I wouldn’t even get through the first two pages. I’m not interested in reading non-friction and I never have been. Even the Harry Potter series, to which I think are a masterpiece, I’m sure I didn’t even read the first one. For me I know what I love to read about, so anything that doesn’t have that seeded throughout the book I’m not interested in. You will, in theory, know what you love to read. If you don’t I would have a little look at what articles spark your interest. If it’s stuff like this post, personal development stuff might be a go-er for you too. If you try to read stuff you aren’t interested in, quite simply, you won’t. You won’t read it and it’ll be a total waste of time. Be bold and decisive with what you love to read and stick with it.
4. Aim to read two pages a day. Audacious, lofty goals coupled with no prior evidence that you have done much leads to pretty shit results. In other words, if you say to yourself “Right, that’s it, I’m going to read for the next fifty days, for an hour a day” you just won’t. There is something about us humans that we feel overwhelmed by big change and we find it hard to stick to it if we don’t have to. You won’t be getting told off if you don’t hit your big goal and thus you are likely to not achieve it. You are in no rush anyway! Aim for a small, manageable, even easy target. I’d suggest aiming to read two pages a day. The likelihood is that you will read way more but by trying to achieve such a manageable goal will stop you getting overwhelmed.
We should all do more of what we love, if we don’t — what is life really about?
Designate the time, reflect on the benefits, make sure it’s something you like or you’re passionate about and aim to read two pages a day. Simple.
Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on April 19, 2020.