Pre-Read Introduction: Click Here. Having talked about the habit of waking up early, we now come to the second life-changing habit in our self-improvement series: READING. What is the first thought in your mind when you are asked to read books? Is it something in the lines of —
‘Not my cup of tea’ , ‘I find books so boring’ , ‘I read a few pages and then don’t even finish it’, ‘ I am more of a movie and video learning person’, ‘I read 2 pages today and then touch the book 5 months later so it doesn’t work for me’, ‘Too busy for this’, ‘Itna padhaku nahi hu yaar main, nahi hota bhai’……
These were my answers a few years ago, I changed my perception about reading, and today I have the privilege of calling myself an ardent reader whose life has upscaled majorly because of reading. Of who I am to what I will be, it will be because of reading and my acceptance of the benefits that it gives. I truly believe that there is no person who can’t like reading, it’s just that they haven’t found ‘their’ book yet. So how do start reading as beginner? Or if you like reading but don’t find time for it, how can you pursue this life changing habit?
Firstly, let’s not treat reading as a chore; treat it like an entertaining catalyst to growth. Just know this fact that reading is not just about finishing books, it is about absorbing and imbibing the values it gives. When you say you have read a book, it should show an enhancement in your character and thoughts. That my friend is what I call reading! It is not a chore, it is a blessing to be able to read and have so many genius and articulate authors who ironically create priceless content for us in such a small price budget. So how can we start our journey to reading:
- Know why you are reading:
Know it consciously, that reading will help you so much in short and long run. Know that there is so much knowledge out there and you are willing to be wise and well-read. Know the benefits of reading, like say, increased focus, boost in imaginative skills, improves creativity, vocabulary, questioning skills, character understanding, open mindedness. Treat reading with respect for it is the most nutritious food for the brain. Why should I read when there are so many videos which teach me the same thing in such a creative way and are much less time consuming? Because, reading makes you imagine, consciously ask, makes you improve your concentration while focusing. You’ll know the difference when you will read about the same content whose video you just saw. There’s a reason why every reader says, ‘The book was much better than the movie’ even if the movie was made nice.
- Which books to read:
Begin with that genre of books of which you like to see movies. If you like comedy, opt for books in that genre, if you like love stories, opt for those books. This is an experimental stage for you, so don’t set any rules or likings, run free. You can even pick a book whose title and cover interests you. Yes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but most of the times in my experience, the cover definitely gives me an impulse to pick it and read. Before buying it, read the summary written in the back cover and see if that interests you. As you grow as a reader, your genre might change too, enjoy that beautiful shift!
- When can you read:
I personally don’t look at a clock when I read. There will always be tasks to do in every minute, everyday. Do what you have to, but begin with reading for atleast 10 minutes a day. Make your commute interesting if you travel a lot. If you travel in crowded buses and trains where you can barely hold yourself let alone hold the book, we have alternatives. Though I highly suggest to read e-books in such times, you can also opt for audiobooks. Audiobooks will improve your listening skills too. I love listening to music while travelling, but when I made a shift to reading books instead at times, it was so enjoyable too! So try your ways out.
- How do I stick to the habit:
I always say, no one is ever so busy to not work on health, relationships and growth. Even when there are times when I find myself eating my breakfast 10 hours late at 5 pm due to excessive work, I don’t call it a busy day. Busy is a new excuse to look cool these days, I don’t follow that trend. I make it a point that I read before sleeping. At times, I read 50 pages, at times 5 and at times 1 paragraph. But I make sure I do read and learn. Always carry your book with you. Waiting for a friend to arrive, read. Waiting outside for a cab, take out your book and read. No, you don’t have to get obsessed with reading, but if you are unable to take out extra time for reading, this is how you have to make up for it.
- Where can I find the books:
For E-reading, there are multiple apps which allow you to read awesome books for FREE! A friend of mine suggested the app Anybooks, and I am loving it despite not being an E-reader. You’ll find best books recommendations on Goodreads as well. I suggest not to outright start buying expensive books/reading gadgets till you are in a routine of reading. For paperbook readers, local libraries, borrowing books from friends, librarywala.com, and many more places will give you good variety of books at minimal rates. Buying books should not be treated as an expense, it is without a doubt an investment for personal growth. And as I say that, try circulating books instead of buying to save paper as well as to not hoard stuff at home unless you are read the same book more than once.
- Maintain a tracker:
If there is one thing I wish I did in my journey of reading, it would be tracking them! I have read hundreds of books by now from suspense to spiritual to finance to entrepreneurship but have no record of it and the most titles I could recollect are barely 50 odd ones. I maintain the tracking now, on goodreads. It is a perfect platform where you can categorize your books into the ones which you have read, which you are reading, and which you want to read. And it’s free! The record of your books will show how you have evolved in the course.
- How and when will I see the results:
I genuinely stand by ‘Karm kiye jaa, fal ki apeksha mat kar (Carry on with your work independent of any expectations)’ . When you work on making life-changing habits, don’t expect results, have faith in your path, just bloody enjoy it to the core! In the beginning, I found it so boring to read, but knowing the benefits of reading, I did not give up. Today if you ask me, I absolutely love reading for I see myself growing every single day with every single page at a pace which still surprises me. I am knowingly not sharing the results and tenure, for I want you to explore and find surprises yourself. (And do tell me when you find them 😉)
- How in the long run will it help me:
Despite the fact that you will be extremely well read and much more knowledgeable, it will give you such a desirable mould to your personality. Reading will change you inside out, and believe me, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen this happening to me and many many more. It will change the way you think, the way you talk, what you talk, with whom you connect, it will upgrade you and your choices at every possible level. That is why, it is included in our life changing habits of self-improvement series too.
- Pay respect and gratitude:
It is a privilege to be able to read and understand. The results of reading are just an add-on of that privilege. Respect the book and send grateful vibes to the author and team, for what you read in a day is someone’s work, research and editing done over so many years. Thank the writer who is absolutely unknown to you and yet taught you so much in that book, while you may forget a lot of stuff consciously, what you read is retained in the subconscious. So, bless the book for blessing you.
When you will understand how precious this habit is by reading regularly, you will motivate so many others to do the same. Imagine the impact of young well-read minds! May your list of ‘ have read books’ be thrice as big as ‘have seen the series/movie’ .