Why I Read
In my life, there have been many times where someone warned me against doing something. Whether it was my parents, friends, teachers, or someone else, they had my best interest in mind, but I couldn’t understand the importance of the guidance that they were giving me in that moment. I’ve failed countless times. And in many of these failures, someone warned me about the mistake before I made it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gotten better about taking and learning from the advice of others, but, in many cases, I needed to act in a certain way, see the result, learn from it, and move on. I needed to experience things for myself. Books serve as a way for me to experience.
There are three main reasons as to why I read books:
- Learn from others’ experiences
- Unwind and relax
- Develop perspective with timeless classics
I view reading as a way to learn from others’ experiences. As I talked about above, I’ve often needed to experience things for myself in order to truly learn. While someone simply telling me to do something often doesn’t resonate deeply with me, reading books enables me to experience what others have gone through and feel almost as though I’ve experienced it myself (even though I know I haven’t). I find what I learn from books to be so much more powerful than a single-sentence instruction that I receive from someone. In books, I’m able to see what the author was going through, what they learned, and how they changed as a result. Although I didn’t read much until a few years ago, I now view reading as a way of tapping into centuries of knowledge and wisdom that can make my life better. There are so many books out there that have been written by incredibly wise, influential, and intelligent people. I view it as a disservice to myself to not make reading a priority.
For me, reading is also a way to relax. I enjoy being able to completely immerse myself in a book and move into a different world. For a while, I didn’t enjoy reading. I viewed it as more of a chore. Until a few years ago, I was uninterested in reading, as I had lost the passion that I once had for books as a young child. To an extent, I believe that this was a result of my education. In classes, we’re assigned to read certain books at a certain pace. This conditioned me to think of books as boring and irrelevant. This couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter who you are or what you’re interested in, there is a book out there for you.
Lastly, I view reading as a way to develop my perspective. There are so many books out there with such unique topics and ideas. I am fascinated by timeless classics. I recently read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and couldn’t believe how relevant it was to life in our current-day society. I am still amazed by the fact that a book that was written almost 2,000 years ago can be so deeply relevant. Books also serve as a way for me to put my own experiences into perspective. Every experience and situation is unique, but there are so many authors who have been through experiences similar to our own. Many of these people have come out the other side stronger and better than they were before going through hardship. Reading about stories like these is reassuring and motivating, as it prevents me from getting so wrapped up in my own situation that I’m not able to see that others have been down a similar path.
Your reasons for reading may be very different from mine. You might not have any reasons for reading. You may not read. Hopefully, I was able to give you some insight into why I read. I firmly believe that everyone can get some value from reading. While it’s easy to push books away and act like we’re too busy to crack open a book, I think that most people could benefit from making reading a priority. Start somewhere.