Read For Success

Top 5 Reason Why Reading Is Critical For Success.

As a kid, I was always encouraged to read.Reading allowed me a glimpse at the past and make acquaintance with remarkable people who left their mark in human history. It sure was a great way to pass time during those hot Indian summers, there being no access to the internet or games, books offered entertainment and escape from boredom. Over a course of time I gradually lost interest in reading with online gaming, social media & watching T.V taking its place instead.

My Dad always told me that reading is very good for the mind, but apart for the “entertainment” value and knowledge [my habit of reading the entire English & History course book before the start of the school year] I wondered what else was reading good for.

What is Reading?

Old Bulgarian Alphabet
Old_Bulgarian_alphabet

From a point of view of visual representation all written languages are just oddly shaped scribbles wherein some shapes repeat more often than another, yet our minds don’t see them for what they truly are but what they represent. Generally when we read, we are not consciously aware of the process that happens in the background just like when we breathe we don’t have to deliberately tell ourselves that we need to breathe. It seems very natural and very effortless however in reality it is a complex process that requires co-ordination of a number of interrelated sources of information.

But is reading really that important?

I think we underestimate the importance of the ability to be able to read. Also we are not aware of the amount of reading we do each day. Social Networking Feed, newspaper, emails, text messages all of this is reading. It is something that we do through-out the day. If you were asked to travel to a foreign country whose language or culture you were completely unfamiliar with, you’d realize that the ability to read is an important factor in our day to day life.

Then Why Read Books?

One might argue that since we read daily, then why we need to take time out for reading books. Following are some of the reasons why you should be reading more often.

 

1. Reading is vital to communicating effectively.

One would not have a strong argument if I were to say that excellent communication skills is one of the most important skills to be successful in “most job”. Actually it’s not just job, humans by nature are very social and being able to communicate effectively is one of the cornerstone of success. There is no better exercise than reading to improve your vocabulary. Though you may not be able to use an extended range of words in everyday conversation, having a powerful vocabulary comes with an added advantage to effectively express yourself, especially for non-verbal communication.

2. Reading Increases Your General Knowledge.

Did you know that children’s books have 50 percent more rare words in them than adult prime-time television and the conversation of college graduates?

General knowledge is bound to come in handy in certain situations. Ever been in an awkward situation at a social gathering when you just have stupid grin on your face because you don’t know what to talk about, read interesting stuff. Worried they might not be interested in what you have to say, don’t fixate on a topic, pick something else; if you read a lot you are going to have enough topics to strike and interesting and engaging conversation.

In a study conducted it was found that avid readers, irrespective of their general ability were more likely to be aware of information that would normally be termed as general knowledge.

3. Reading makes your smarter.

According to the findings of a study “ability is not the only variable that counts in the development of intellectual functioning. Those who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence; that is, reading will make them smarter”. I’ve always been of the opinion that success at studies equals a successful career. That was before I began to read. Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates did not complete college education. Ben Franklin, in fact only had formal education till the age of 10. Ever wonder how can you be successful without college education? Read their life story.

They read extensively and from a range of subjects and topics. Benjamin Franklin moved out of his shared accommodation and stayed at the printing house where he worked as an apprentice to save money to buy books.

Without any judgment or ulterior motives I want to say that I’ve never found the value of Pi  to be helpful in my job. I am not saying college education is meaningless, I am saying that college education is not sufficient. Suck at something at work or can’t figure out the math on your mortgage? Pick up a book and read. Reading about subjects that you deal at work or home each day is going to make you better at it. They are going to think you got smarter but actually reading books that fall under your domain of work (like marketing, sales, writing) is going to make you better at your job.

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”

By the way if you are still in college, another study found that “having strong reading skills have been shown to be imperative to academic success in university”.

4.Reading raises your Emotional Intelligence.

You don’t always have to read self-improvement books to benefit from reading. Ideally to build a habit of reading you should start with genres that you would enjoy reading.It can be novels, fiction, science fiction, thriller, police procedural or any of the genres out there.

I always thought reading anything but non-fiction was a waste of time. (not as strongly as Noel Gallagher though)

But what I did not know, is the fact that there are both long and short term effects of reading. Reading fiction literally changes the structure of the brain showing increased connectivity in the regions of the brain associated with perspective taking and story comprehension.

A study conducted by “New School of Social Research” found that reading literary fiction improves one’s ability to assess the mental state of others. In short it makes you better at reading minds.

Study in the field of “Theory of Mind” is still ongoing and all the benefits of reading might not have been uncovered yet.

Theory of Mind is the branch of cognitive science that investigates how we ascribe mental states to other persons and how we use the states to explain and predict the actions of those other persons.

5. Reading widens your perspective.

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” 

— Susan Sontag

The quote above pretty much sums up my opinion on how reading impacts our way of thinking and expands our perspective.

I chanced upon “Top Performance “by Zig Ziglar and it has had a powerful impact on me.

Though the book was primarily written for Managers, I see its application in practically any area of human connection.  It changed my perspective on the dynamics of a healthy relationship and I believe I am better off now than I was before being aware of the key concepts explained in the book.

According to Tony Robins, the surest way to achieve success is to model someone who is already successful. It’s easy to take this literally and blindly copy someone however what it really means is to follow strategies & principles that actually work.

Countless hours and failures go into making of success, why re-invent the wheel when you have the necessary information & strategies to be successful at your disposal.

It would be naive to assume that  you are going to be successful by just reading a lot of books, however you would agree that knowledge you gain when learning from people who made it at the top, will help you minimize the risk of failure if not totally avoid them altogether