Sunday, March 26, 2017

Want to Change Your Life? Do This One Thing.

Happy Monday, all!

I heard this line a lot, and each time it both stuns and saddenes me. 

"I dont read," someone will say. 

What!?  Its as though they have told me, "I dont eat, yet somehow I manage to survive." 

I cannot grasp it.  You miss out on SO MUCH when you dont read, in a life altering way.  The list is a huge one.  Reading is life changing.  Want the fastest way to changing your life, in numerous ways?  Start reading.  Really, its that simple. 

Don't believe me?  Think I am being dramatic?  Continue reading below to find out all the ways your life will change if you read.

Here is what reading gives you:

  1. Cheap, portable entertainment. 
  2. Knowledge. People who read perform better on standardized tests.  Reading expands your vocabulary.  In books, you inadvertently (as well as intentionally) learn about new topics, cultures, skills, places and ideas. 
  3. Empathy and understanding.  Fiction is based on real human dilemma, challenge and emotion.  In reading, this broadens your mind and opens your heart to all manner of human experience, both the darkness and the light.  Reading will help you to be less judgmental, more flexible in the ways you view others, as well as in the possibilities for how you consider you yourself might live. 
  4. To piggyback on the last point, reading teaches you how to be human.  In reading, you are offered insights for how to navigate relationships (things you might not have considered previously). You learn how it feels to go through different experiences (which you yourself might not have experienced firsthand).  You will read about different approaches to love, experiences and life in general which will unquestionably influence your own. 
  5. Without reading, you live the singular trajectory of your own life.  This is all well and good, but it makes for a rather flat, one-dimensional life experience.  When one is an avid reader, you are dropped into the shoes and experiences of so many other people, cultures, relationships and ways of thinking.  When reading a book and immersed in that particular story, you are occupying two emotional lives/experiences at once.  This is such fun!  Reading adds color and interest to your everyday life. 
  6. Specifically, in reading memoir, this gives you direct insight and feeling into other peoples life experiences.  This ties in with teaching you what it means to be human.  What it feels like to live a different kind of life.
  7. Reading gives you something to anticipate and look forward to.  There is no better feeling than having an exciting story you cannot wait to dive back into as soon as you are able.
  8. Television, while visually awesome, offers a less detailed and layered experience of a story.  Books offer one a multi-tiered, far more in-depth experience.  Not only are you offered the visuals but you are privy to characters thoughts, feelings and far more nuanced detail than one finds in a movie or TV show. 
  9. Reading is daring.  It offers an adventure in your pocket.  Reading offers you a free vacation, right from your living room, seat on the train or bedroom.  In reading, you can travel anywhere in the world, immerse yourself in any other culture. 
  10. Reading has proven to be better for you overall than watching TV.  It stimulates your mind, while watching TV does nothing for your brain.  Think a slack-jawed, drooling dude staring at a flickering screen.  That's your brain on TV.  As you read though, your brain is lighting up, forming connections and sparking all the while. 
  11. Bookcases are gorgeous eye-catching decorations.  They add character, interest and class to your home.  They also, like one's closet, give people an idea of who you are.  Someone can lean in and upon seeing the types of books you keep (and thus, like to read), glean a sense of your personality, interests and who you are. 

  12. Reading is sexy.  Ever heard of "Hot Guys Reading" on Instagram?  I for one always do a double take when I see a man reading.  It ratchets him up several notches of attractiveness right away.  So, what is sexier?  Someone with surface-level, simple intelligence who thinks they know all there is to know and doesn't read.  Or, a person who has depth, complexity and interest to them?  Someone who knows a lot about a variety of things?  A person who is articulate, well read and intelligent?  Someone who is always involved in a new, exciting read or topic.  I would venture to guess the majority of people would say the latter descriptions are far sexier than my initial one. 

13. Books made you a super sleuth with people, something akin to Sherlock Holmes.  Ok, ok, maybe not quite to that degree.  A shame haha.  But my point being, the more you read, the better you grow at understanding all different types of people.  Fiction or non, the more you read, the more you learn about different personality types, alternative relationships, varying cultures, how people talk to one another, move, act and more.

Books are AWESOME.  They add to your intelligent (literally).  They offer guidance, a lighthouse-like beacon for navigating through life.  They are cheap, easy, portable entertainment.  In reading, one can live hundreds of different lives and experiences.  Books offer far more depth than a TV show or movie does.  Reading is sexy and intriguing.  Reading is daring, an adventure in your pocket.  Reading teaches you how to live.  It shows you how to be human.

Another article from ABC News that lays out several proven benefits of reading

And another article offering points such as reading being a superpower and a profoundly nostalgic activity.

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