A little backstory…
When I was a very young child, my mother used to read stories to me. Stories from children’s magazines or stories from the textbooks of those primary classes with pictures all over the pages. She places her finger on the pictures of the characters in those stories to grab my attention to it and narrate in a tone that introduced an entirely new world of imagination to me.
We had a big book called “Dashavatharam” with long stories and beautiful pencil-drawn pictures of 10 incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. I finished reading that giant book when I was eight or nine. (I liked the pictures in it than the stories. I will read fast or skip some pages so that I can reach a page with a picture in it!)
We had two libraries near my house. One is a huge library with so many books and very popular and the other one was small and no one really goes there.
But I went to the small one because the librarian was my relative and she allowed me to take as many books as I want whereas the other library allowed people to take only two.
The books were new and fresh since no one read them before and there were great collections of children’s literature. I finished an entire rack of books within few weeks.
At the age of 13, my family moved from that place and I never saw that library again. Eventually, I lost my reading habit.
Fast forward to 2020…
It was during the days of lock-down when there were no college and nothing else to do, that I sat down at my table and took some time to think about how far I came in life and what’s next for me.
I realized that when I was a kid, I was able to sit down and read for hours and hours. I always had something to read which I took from the library. Even though there weren’t any social media or internet, I wasn’t bored at that time.
I wasn’t bored with reading.
I wasn’t bored with sitting down for a while.
I wasn’t bored with being bored.
I read every day.
I never read books for any ROI.
I never read books so that I can gain knowledge.
I just read for the sake of reading.
I read so that I can enjoy reading.
It was my fuel. A fuel that drove me to do everything unrelated to reading.
I lost that.
So after a decade, I started reading again.
My New Year Resolution
Like many people, I have failed in so many resolutions that I have set before. So this time I set one simple goal. A realistic goal.
As you would have guessed already, the new year’s resolution is to read books. But more realistic, so that I won’t fail and forget about my resolution within few weeks after January as it always did.
So the idea is to read one book every month. A total of 12 books in a year. That’s a great achievement anyway.
Now that I have set my goal, the next step was to break down the goal into small realistically achievable tasks.
How to break down a goal into smaller tasks so that you can accomplish it anyway?
The question here to ask is “can you do it in the long run?”. Not for a day, not for a week but the entire year, can you do it?
So while managing my work-life and other daily tasks, I can probably spend at least 10 minutes in the morning and spend 10 minutes before bed for reading.
I started executing it. I picked a book I always enjoyed “The Great Gatsby” and started reading it once again for January. As I moved through the weeks I found that I can add half an hour after lunch also.
So even if I fail to do the reading in the morning or evening I can still accomplish my daily goal just after lunch when you’re not that motivated to get back to your work right away. A time spend to read something which we otherwise spend looking at our phones.
It worked so damn good. I finished Gatsby for the first month and picked “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey for February. I’m about to finish that too!
Why You Should Read?
I don’t have an exact answer for why someone should read books. Everyone has their motivations for reading. If I give you an answer it will be based on my intentions. But I can give some ideas to find whether you should read or not.
The more I started reading books I started to find that I enjoy reading biographies or memoirs. I like to study people and their lives. When you read a biography you get to live an entirely different life than you ever experienced.
There are no right-away quotes that you can pick up from such books but you just start to feel and understand what works and what won’t work on the altar of life. That’s precious knowledge.
Also reading have nothing to do with my job. But it’s important. How?
Think about this – the more you sit at your computer and doing some task, you will eventually reach a point where you are blank or you just need a break.
In that situation, you probably go and do something else that’s exactly opposite to what you’re doing. Some people take a walk or talk to someone. After some time they’re able to come back and continue their job with a regenerated focus.
Reading works that way too. It’s your cool-off time for your brain so that it’s not distracted like when you use social media but is still focused and can help with your work more productively the next day.
Also reading is a form of deep work. You need to train your brain to sit back and focus without being distracted if you want to survive in your work and the new economy. Reading helps in that way too. (If you are unaware of the philosophy of deep life or how much it’s important to living a better life, read it here).
So How to Start Reading If You Never Read Anything Before?
Reading is like pull-ups. It’s an unnatural activity. It’s extremely hard to do at first. The more you read the more you become better at it.
So start small.
Start reading a page or two. Pick every Sunday afternoon, like I said right after lunch to spend some time reading.
Never start reading something you are not interested in.
Never judge your reading. Just read for the sake of reading itself.
Pick something you like or you know that you’ll enjoy reading it.
Maybe find a reading partner and share what you’re reading.
Enough Said, Now Pick a Book
That’s it. That’s all that I wanted to talk to you about reading at this period of my life.
Be a reader and enjoy building a badass habit that you will never regret doing.
Before you go and read that book, tell me in the comments what you’re about to read and what your intentions about reading are for this year.