Nurturing a love for reading is more important that it seems. At first glance, one might easily dismiss it. It is so easy to be seduced by the visual imagery that floods our daily life that we miss the beauty and art of the written word. Who has time for it anyway? The information age accosts us with sound bites, quick quips and video captures on a daily basis and our brains scramble to absorb it all. But I would argue that there is an intense need within us to sit down with a good book and foster a love for reading. Reading provides so much more to us than we know.
It cultivates life-long learning. The famous motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, once said that “learning makes life worthwhile.” When we dive into a good book, whether prose or poetry—fictional or factual, we broaden our perspective and sharpen our mind. It develops critical thinking skills that help us stay focused and hones our ability to solve problems. Our minds become excited with thoughts about the characters; where will they go, what will they do, how will they deal with the conflict or challenge that confronts them; our minds are suddenly filled with all sorts of new thoughts and ideas. It adds to our mental repertoire so that when we are presented with a challenge, we are more adept with the information we need to tackle it head on.
It fosters creativity. It forces us to visualize what is being described in the book. Have you ever created a mental picture of a radio or podcast host based solely on the sound of their voice? Reading functions in a similar way; it activates our inner eye to create our own visual imagery by awakening our minds to form a mental picture of the characters, clothing, architecture, landscapes and events described in the book.
A good story can provide an escape from the challenges of our own reality by taking us to new places. It may open a doorway into a magical world or allow us to explore a place or time period that is otherwise inaccessible to us. In doing so, it broadens our perspective. When we see things through the eyes of a well-crafted character, we start to understand life from an alternative vantage point. Empathy starts to grow within us, and we are able to apply that empathy to our interactions with the world around us making us better friends, family members, coworkers and citizens of this world.
Most importantly, reading helps us rise above the ordinary. Reading enables self-discovery. Whether we identify with a character that is similar to us or we are presented with characteristics that are quite different, reading makes us think more deeply about ourselves which in turn helps us to grow. It nurtures our soul and empowers us see ourselves becoming something more– it inspires us. And it is then, in this way, we can truly rise above the ordinary to become extraordinary!
Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.