Is reading a waste of time?

I have a confession to make. I love my Kindle. It is an older Paperwhite, technically, my ex-girlfriend’s Kindle and I carry it with me almost everywhere I go.

I spend one to two hours every day reading. 

And I’m happy for it. 

But it seems like nobody is doing something similar. Reading is a relic of the past, before high-speed Internet and Facebook and YouTube. And most people hardly touch a book, ever.

Well, I believe most people are idiots.

You see, I read for a few key reasons. 

FIRST – Because it makes me smarter.

No matter what I read, I form mental patterns. If it is a business book, of course, I learn about business. But even when it is fiction, I create new connections into my brain. 

SECOND – It makes me a better writer.

I think Stephen King said that to be a good writer, you need to spend four to six hours a day reading and writing. Right now I am reading “Under The Dome” and I love it. It is story-telling to its best. And I actually want to see what happens next, it is a very captivating book.

Can I watch the Netflix series instead? 

Can I just read the Wikipedia plot article on the book?

Sure, I can, but I actually enjoy the journey of discovering what is next and how it is presented. I am learning so many writing devices and styles by simply reading different authors. And I am a good writer today because I have read many good writers before.

And if I start reading Hemingway, I’ll drop all adverbs and adjectives too.

THIRD – I find it relaxing.

My life isn’t hard but it is challenging. Today I have woken up at 05:00 AM. Read for one hour, showered, went to have breakfast.

Went to the gym, where my trainer pushed me to my limit and 179 BPM. Came home. Tried to sleep. Couldn’t. Went outside to have lunch. 

The point is that I usually have a lot of things to do in a day and I am a big believer in doing what is important, not what is convenient. I prioritise and then prioritise again. What is left is the cream of the crop of tasks and goals, which usually isn’t easy or relaxing to do. What’s important also has the habit to be what’s hardest.

So when I read, I actually disconnect myself from everything. I could play video games but after two hours of playing Starcraft 2, I’ll end up feeling more tired than when I started. I could watch movies but honestly there isn’t any good movie that I like and I prefer my imagination to fill in the blanks than to have someone present me a story in his or her vision.

Therefore, reading is the most relaxing thing I can do. Sex ranks high too, so does running, but I find reading being more accessible than these in most circumstances.

FOURTH – I learn.

I am where I am for a few reasons and one that accounts for at least 50% of my success is that I’ve read, a lot. I’ve read other people’s ideas and then presented it to others and they gave me money for it.

I’m 100% self-taught. I have never graduated from college. 

I have learned a great deal by experience. And some things can only be experienced before they are acquired as ours. Relating with others, emotions, maturity, all came by doing something, failing and learning to do it properly.

But when it comes to the tactical aspects, the how-to, books were my best teacher. Everything from time management to running FB ads to writing sales copy to launching an information product.

Look… maybe reading is not popular anymore.

But I don’t care about what is popular. I care about living a good life. In a world where everyone is obsessed with food, I go to the gym four times a week. In a world where people crave about Fortnite, I try and read a book per week. In a world where everyone wants it easier, I look for every opportunity to grow.

I read because it is good for me, it is good for everyone. And maybe there are some activities that would be even higher leverage than reading (as debating ideas with like minded people or a mastermind group or participating in places like Toastmasters), but it ranks high, out there, with among the best things you can do. 

One thing – there is a difference between reading and studying.

Reading me is sitting in my bed with a bottle of water next to me, reading on my Kindle. Studying is having a document open and taking notes, making notes on me notes and discussing these with other people. I don’t study every book I read, only a few of them, because it takes 3 – 4 times as long to go through the material.

But unless it is a skill which I must absolutely develop, I simply read in a relaxed manner. I don’t need to do it hardcore. That’s why right now I’m reading “Under The Dome” but I’m studying, actively, a program on FB ads. It’s about balance. Making something too complicated is a sure-fire way to not do it at all.

Razvan

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