3 Reasons Why You Should Start A Daily Reading Practice
A lot of my time with work is spent consuming information from others, and then trying to distill that information into relevant, actionable steps that my readers can follow.
This is not how I always envisioned the way that I would work.
I began reading voraciously about six years ago while in university. At the time, I was struggling grasping the outdated curriculum being shoved upon myself, and my fellow students.
Books of my own choosing found their place to be welcomed, with open arms. Whether it was reading after school instead of doing my homework, opening a book to read a passage before bed, listening to an audiobook as I drove around the city for work, opening a copy of Esquire, or the New Yorker, I made time to read.
And I loved every minute of it.
Where did this desire to read come from? I’m not entirely sure but I have a distinct moment as a child which I still reflect upon.
I remember asking my dad a rather idiotic question:
“Dad, if I read more will I become smarter?”
“…Yes, Paul,” he answered simply while giving me a questionable glance.
And with that, I decided to open a copy of The Atlantic while sitting on the porcelain throne. I picked a random topic I had not a single clue about, read possibly a paragraph, and proceeded to throw the magazine back onto the pile of other material to read while I went about my business.
There is the possibility that I never read much from then on until just after high school, but I always remember that moment — as if it stood as a catalyst submerged deep within my subconscious for the meaningful change that may or may not occur in my twenties.
Looking at my current state of reading, it becomes quite evident that it has shaped me into who I have become. Books have transformed my thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and perspective of the world. They have taught me how to navigate my daily moods, habits, creativity, work, and the interactions I make over the course of my life.
Was there one book that did this? No.
It was simply the act of reading daily that transformed me. There is something to be said of the transformational power within marginal gains — pushing oneself just a little bit forward everyday, no matter how small the action.
Making a daily reading practice is something I highly encourage you to start in the New Year. Or better yet, right now. It will change your life for the better, and you won’t look back. Trust me. The upside, and return on investment far outweigh the brief dose of resistance you may face when presented a new thought, idea, or perspective.
“There is something to be said of the transformational power within marginal gains.”
With that, I will now say to the naive, younger version of myself:
“Yes, Paul. Reading everyday will make you smarter. And it will pleasantly do so in ways you might otherwise have not thought possible. Just pick up a book, and follow your instincts.”
You begin to form the long-term commitment to personal growth.
Reading everyday offers a way for you to change for the better, at your own pace. You get to control the types of books you read, how often you read them, how long you will read each time you sit down, whether or not you will share the book, and a side benefit of being able to smell a brand new book. That’s not weird. I am not the only one that does that.
Looking back at any meaningful change we may have once accomplished, that was usually the result of our own free will. We actively decided to change, and then proceeded to do the required tasks. Other people may have influenced us, yelled at us, guided us, tricked us, or any method that planted some seed. From the seed, your own thoughts and feelings came together to water this seed, and you took it from there.
Changing requires that we are absolutely ready to take the required steps to make adjustments in our behaviours. It requires that we are absolutely willing to do whatever it takes. And it requires that we are absolutely able to use the necessary skills to take the intended action.
You allow yourself more opportunities to willingly receive information.
To go along with the building commitment, reading puts us in a position to open ourselves up and receive information. We are actively learning at our own pace — not through someone else’s agenda. By controlling our daily dose of learning, we begin to become more receptive to information.
You may find that in the beginning, you are resistant to information. You might not agree with the information that’s being explained. This is normal, because as we move through life without being exposed to a multitude of ideas, our egos tend to grasp our versions of reality as the only truth.
Over time, these walls start to break down. We can start to tend to our own gardens, and plant seeds for future thoughts, ideas, and actions.
On the other side of the spectrum, we need to remember that everyone has opinions, and we must not confuse these opinions with what the truth is. Ultimately figuring that out comes down to us investigating further, and understanding what works best for our unique situations.
You learn from multiple perspectives, genres, and topics.
Does reading every day make you smarter than someone who does not? No. But it definitely sets you up for a greater chance to learn, connect, and create new ideas, actions, and relationships.
Every book you read, is simply someone’s opinion, and means of overcoming and achieving something. Buried deep within, there are principles which can remain true throughout many books.
Means change, but principles remain the same.
This is why reading the same genre of books can start to become redundant. It’s the same message, only repackaged. This is why it’s crucial to diversify over many genre’s and types of reading material.
A personal favourite of mine is to read biographies, and memoirs. These are the stories of remarkable people, who achieved amazing things, with so many nuanced stories which can be home to pure gold. It’s more relatable than reading vague passages in self-help books.
If you read everything that everyone else does, it makes it much more difficult to stand out and form novel ideas.
When you form the new practice of reading everyday you hold yourself to a much higher standard. You choose to commit to being coachable. Your self starts to breakdown, remold, and adapt to the considering of other’s stories. You give yourself space, time, and the freedom to grow at your pace. The journey of life-long learning constantly opens the doors to new adventures.
What to Do Next?
1. Readjust your identity. Start by identifying yourself as the person who reads everyday. A very powerful motivator is to start with identity, when forming any new habit.
2. Pick a book. Don’t overthink it. Just follow your curiosity. If you can’t figure out a good starting point, ask for recommendations from someone! Try looking somewhere that is not common (i.e., don’t go straight to the best sellers, or bookseller’s top picks). Check out Audible, or Scribd to listen to books when you drive, walk, or want to stare out your window while sipping a coffee.
3. Make it a habit. Get concrete with your reading schedule. Set a time, location, and specific duration (time read, number of pages, chapters completed, etc) for your reading schedule.
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.