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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Readers are Champions

The importance of reading

“You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” 

-Charlie Jones

When was the last time you read a book related to the career you are pursuing or just to improve yourself? Results of various observations show that most graduates in the country scarcely read once they ‘drop’ their pens. Even at school, most of us just read to pass our exams and in the process crammed and stuffed everything into our memories till the overburdened heads started crying for mercy… lol. 

A close look around our environment bears witness to this glaring fact: only few people read. Many are more passionate about watching African Magic and Premier League than investing in books and that trend has got to stop if we are to build a society our posterity will be proud of. There is nothing wrong in watching EPL, I too do watch them, but there is need to prioritize the continuous acquisition of knowledge.

Investment in books and study will pay you dividends that cannot be matched by any other activity. I am a living witness. Those other activities merely make you a fan, while reading makes you a major player in life and your chosen field. Call me an advocate for the establishment of a solid reading culture in society and you are not wrong.

I began building my library right from my days as a fresh undergraduate at UNIZIK and my catalogue weren’t just on my course of study, but any book that could help me know more about life and how to succeed in it. This has indeed helped me chart courses that a state of ‘ignorance’ would have deprived me of.

One of my respected mentors once said, “You are either building a library or a mortuary”. We can’t afford to relive the mistakes of those who have gone ahead of us, some of whom were grave. That’s why we have their histories and biographies to learn valuable lessons from. It’s true that our own lives are sometimes prone to errors, but there are errors we can avoid simply by reading. Reading, studying or whatever you might choose to call it gives us foresight and strength.

The following are some of the benefits you can derive from reading and these should inspire you to cultivate the reading habit:

1. Mental Stimulation
Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia (please go google up these terms if they are strange to you :) Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing its power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. 
2. Stress Reduction
No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. Getting yourself enmeshed in a book will shift your mind off its ‘worries’ and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
3. Knowledge
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you.
4. Vocabulary Expansion
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem.
It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.
6. Improved Focus and Concentration
In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via gchat, Skype, Facebook etc.), keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.

When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the content—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office. I usually read eBooks via my android phone when stuck in traffic; thus making most of the time because there is none to waste.
Do not live in the glory of the past, a certificate is good but a continuous cultivation of the mind will open you up to unimaginable opportunities. To a job seeker, I’ll say read to give yourself a cutting edge over other competitors in the labour market; to the working person, I will advise you to read and by so doing prepare yourself for higher positions.

Please share this with friends on the social media and let’s have your take on it if you have a view to air.

1 comment:

  1. I quite agree wit this cos when u read u acquire, reinforce and modify existing knowledge.