Why We Need To Read More in 2024?
Sharing 7 'REAL' Reasons to Read More in 2024
Felicitations on the Inception of the New Year! This inaugural Contemplation of 2024 is built on the foundation laid by the final Contemplation of the preceding year. In the last days of December 2023, I shared with you a curated list of 16 literary works that I enjoyed reading the most in 2023.
As we start this fresh annum, I am inclined to share with you seven compelling and substantive rationales for dedicating oneself to the pursuit of reading in 2024.
Let me clarify: I shall not extol the virtues of reading merely for its capacity to augment empathy, to inform and educate, nor to enhance one's command of language, extensive though these benefits may be.
Indeed, these are but the superficial manifestations of a far more fruitful pursuit. Herein, I shall elucidate a selection of more nuanced dimensions through which the act of reading can substantially enrich and transform one's existence. Let’s get started.
1. Reading Helps You Develop Patience
Engaging in the act of reading cultivates the virtue of patience, a trait both rare and formidable, often overlooked yet pivotal in distinguishing oneself in a multitude. Do you aspire to achieve unparalleled success in your endeavours, setting a paradigm for future generations? The key lies in mastering patience. This attribute, surprisingly elusive and challenging to nurture, can be refined through the seemingly simple yet profound practice of reading.
Consider this: allocating a mere quarter-hour each day to immerse oneself in the written word at your desk or in the repose of your bed, instills a discipline of patience. This practice, far from daunting, is a methodical approach to cultivating an ability that once mastered, finds application in every facet of life. The analogy with physical exercise is apt here; akin to how a brief daily regimen of cardiovascular exercise yields benefits across all dimensions of life, so does the practice of reading enhance the breadth of one's patience and concentration.
2. Reading Intentionally will Actually Benefit Your Work
Throughout my literary journey this year, an important realisation has been the importance of intentional reading. A frequent misstep, often encountered at bookstores or the digital shelves of online retailers, is the unwitting gravitation towards books with alluring covers, which, while aesthetically pleasing, may lack substantive relevance to our actual reading goals. To counter this, I have adopted a strategy of maintaining a catalog of specific skills, interests, and fields that not only pique my curiosity but also have tangible applications in my daily life and professional endeavours.
For example, my recent foray into the realm of microbiology through various texts has been driven by a genuine consideration of undertaking projects in this field. Similarly, my delve into the development of think-tank operations and the intricacies of policy formulation stems from active engagements in these areas.
This meticulous approach to selecting reading material—guided by a well-curated list—enables me to navigate bookstores with precision, directly seeking out sections that offer literature of genuine utility. Thus, I bypass the seductive allure of superficially attractive titles in favor of more austere, yet substantially enriching works that contribute meaningfully to both my personal and professional growth.
3. Reading makes you Fear-Less
It is crucial to distinguish between being 'fear-less' and 'fearless'. Venturing into unfamiliar professional territories often presents a formidable challenge, rife with uncertainties and the looming shadow of imposter syndrome. However, one can significantly diminish the pervasiveness of these doubts through a pre-emptive deep dive into the relevant field. This informed approach is precisely why I have been immersing myself in the literature of microbiology prior to initiating my project in this domain.
Originating from a background steeped in technology, my initial foray into the field of microbiology was met with a palpable sense of imposter syndrome, stemming from a lack of familiarity with the subject. Yet, through dedicated reading and absorbing the insights of seasoned experts within the field, I have been able to mitigate these initial apprehensions. Such exploration allows me to approach the field with a near-professional understanding, sidestepping the need for a prolonged formal education and its associated financial burdens.
While acknowledging that hands-on experience remains irreplaceable, the role of reading in significantly reducing the impact of imposter syndrome cannot be overstated. It serves as a vital tool in conserving time, effort, and circumventing potential professional embarrassment, thereby facilitating a smoother transition into new and challenging areas of work.
4. Reading makes you a Better Listener
A skill of great importance, second only to patience, is the genuine capacity for listening. This skill transcends the mere act of passively hearing, waiting for one's turn to articulate a response. It is, instead, an exercise in deeply comprehending another's perspective, setting aside one's own ego, and engaging with full empathy in the dialogue.
Reading plays a crucial role in honing this skill. It immerses you in a narrative, meticulously crafted by the author, from the initial exposition to the concluding remarks. Engaging with a book demands not only time but also an open-mindedness that endures through various narrative challenges, including those that may provoke personal discomfort or confrontational sentiments. This discipline of maintaining an open mind for the 10-12 hours typically required to complete a book cultivates the ability to truly listen.
Such a skill becomes invaluable in real-life scenarios, be it navigating difficult conversations with family members or receiving constructive criticism in a professional setting. The practice of reading teaches you to understand others' viewpoints without succumbing to defensive reflexes or ego-driven responses. This not only facilitates smoother interpersonal interactions but also fosters a deeper sense of understanding and connection with those around you.
5. Reading helps you Self-Actualise
It is essential to dispel a potential misinterpretation that might stem from my previous assertions regarding the virtues of reading in cultivating patience and enhancing listening skills. This misapprehension could suggest that I advocate for increased agreeability, susceptibility, or passivity. Contrary to this, I assert that the outcome of avid reading is, in fact, diametrically opposed to such notions. Engaging with literature fosters a profound self-awareness and a clearer understanding of one's personal beliefs and life philosophy.
In the course of reading, you will invariably encounter a multitude of perspectives and hypotheses presented by authors, many of which may not align with your own views. This intellectual confrontation is not only healthy but integral to the reading experience. The true essence of reading lies in absorbing information with the intent of learning and critically evaluating, rather than unconditionally adopting the views presented. Authors, being fallible humans, offer insights that, while potentially beneficial, may not always resonate with or apply to your individual circumstances.
The journey through diverse literature compels you to confront and contemplate these varying opinions, thereby serving as a catalyst for you to crystallise your own beliefs and aspirations. It is through this process of thoughtful consideration and discernment that one truly shapes and solidifies their personal ideology and worldview.
6. Reading helps you Make Your Point
Frequently, our actions are steered by an innate intuition, a subtle guide towards what we perceive as the right course for ourselves. However, the challenge often lies in effectively articulating this internal compass and conveying it comprehensibly to others. This is where the quintessence of writing comes into play. Writing serves as a medium through which one can translate these intuitive inclinations into coherent, understandable language.
The path to becoming a proficient writer is inextricably linked with being an avid reader. Reading equips you with a diverse toolkit essential for effective communication. It imparts lessons on constructing a well-founded argument, organising thoughts into a cohesive thesis, presenting evidence to support your viewpoints, and crucially, ensuring that your message is not only conveyed but also resonates with your audience.
By engaging with various texts, you expose yourself to myriad ways of expression, argumentation, and persuasion. This exposure is instrumental in refining your ability to express your own thoughts and ideas. It enhances your capacity to not only voice your intuition but to do so in a manner that is both clear and compelling to others.
7. Reading builds self-confidence
The question here is stark in its clarity: Do you aspire to truly comprehend your field, or merely create the semblance of understanding?
The possession of a collegiate degree might offer a semblance of proficiency, a testament to a foundational grasp of your chosen field at best. However, envision presenting not just this certification in an interview, but also demonstrating a thorough, ground-level mastery of the subject matter, encompassing knowledge of the leading experts, recent breakthroughs, and projections for future developments. This represents the essence of genuinely 'knowing' your field.
The digital age offers myriad resources like YouTube, educational podcasts, and social media platforms, which are valuable for initial learning. Yet, for a truly nuanced and comprehensive understanding, one must inevitably turn to the depth and rigour offered by books and scholarly articles. While innovative tools like ChatGPT are adept at distilling and synthesising the essence of complex material, they cannot substitute the granular understanding that comes from directly engaging with primary sources. It is through this deep and direct engagement with the subject that one cultivates authentic confidence in their knowledge and abilities.
Regrettably, the mere acquisition of a degree, or even professional experience in the field, does not inherently instil this level of confidence. I have observed numerous software engineers who, despite holding degrees and years of professional experience, lack confidence in their expertise. This scenario underscores the importance of recognising that continuous and in-depth learning is necessary for fostering genuine self-assurance in both professional and personal spheres.
With these seven compelling reasons as a guiding framework, my resolution for 2024 is to immerse myself deeply in the enriching world of books. It is my sincere hope that these insights have provided you with sufficient motivation to embark on your own literary journey with zeal. May this new year be a period replete with happiness, prosperity, and significant personal and intellectual growth for each one of us. Ameen.