The Importance of Reading — Skill for a Better Life

Aqsa
7 min readJun 23, 2021

Just like regular exercise keeps the body fit, a mind engaged in reading is set to become sharper. The mind is a muscle that you can build just like other muscles of your body. In this post, I discuss the importance of reading which is a skill for a better life.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Reading is one of the simplest acts, one can commit to, aiming for self-improvement.

Books are the biggest guide to living a better life. Those with the hunger for learning & wisdom, becoming better at living life, and success, find books to be their greatest companions.

In today’s society of information overload, certain reading we must do to go through our education system and also because of our employment/role at work. Apart from forced reading that we are subjected to, reading for one’s self is the highest service to ourselves.

Reading is the skill of leaders.

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Said Harry Truman.

It does not matter the kind of books one reads, both non-fiction & fiction are effective. While non-fiction does provide a direct narrative on topics that range from personal development to topics of social interests, fiction also strengthens many aspects of the reader’s personality such as social skills, empathy, consideration of other’s opinions, and much more.

Also, one is not preferred over the other but is a choice based on the personal liking of the reader. The style of reading either hardcover or soft-form reading should allow you to enjoy the process by indulging deeply and wholly.

Following are the fruits of reading that the reader reaps, the effects might not be measurable but the reader surely finds the benefits of reading reflected in her way of living life, thus enhancing the quality of her life.

Reading ignites your imagination

Writing takes effort on part of the reader as it indulges the mind in building imagery of the narrated words. No reader can go through the text without creating an image, a scene, and even a sequence of events (a mental movie) out of it, in the mind. It makes one more imaginative and artistic.

Reading polishes your creativity

As you convert words into images, developing mental imagery for your ideas becomes easy. And bringing those ideas into reality becomes effortless – giving ideas a creative expression.

Reading enhances interpersonal skills

As you become an active reader you develop the skill of reading in between the lines, you grasp the ideas that the author implies which in turn enhances your relationships and makes your social interactions effective. You listen to other’s points of view instead of shunning them. You become more sensitive to the meaning & intentions of people without judgment. The more you read, the more easily you apply these skills directly or indirectly in your interpersonal communication.

Reading improves communication

Reading makes you a better communicator. As you can relate with others, give their opinions due consideration, you establish better communication skills. Additionally, your vocabulary increases. And you can start conversations in gatherings, share your thoughts on a particular subject, add to their knowledge, provide reference of a written text/idea and valuable insights to the audience, all of which reflect excellent communication skills.

Reading expands your thinking

The profound effect of reading is that it changes the thought process of the reader. Read not only increases your knowledge but also your ability to think expands, as reading enhances your intelligence. When you read you are constantly analyzing different aspects of writing, the author’s point of view, the importance of a particular opinion in building/supporting the represented concepts, all of this pushes the reader to use his mind and think. The more you think constructively the more you become good at thinking and this muscle of yours strengthens.

Reading allows diverse experiences

Reading is the easiest way to have diverse experiences without actually going through them in personal life. With reading, you can visit places, enjoy events, get a touch of what it’s like to live at another time and in another part of the world.

When you read, you feel the pleasure and pain of the characters, emotions that they go through in a particular situation, all of this is perceived as personal experiences in the reader’s mind. This exposure to various environments helps the reader make their choices in real-life situations.

Reading condenses years of wisdom

Writing a book is a laborious act, it takes profound effort, research, knowledge base of years or maybe a lifetime to manifest. By reading a book you access, get to tap into that wisdom, and apply it to your life without questing to search for it for a significant time of your life. Reading a book makes you more knowledgeable.

Reading makes you more empathic

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Reading allows you to feel other’s sentiments and connect with them on a deeper level of understanding. It equips you with the tool to transform your relations that also reflect in your social impact as people feel understood and heard with you. It creates an empathetic society that’s considerate of each other’s feelings.

Reading improves brain functions and memory

Focus, concentration, critical and analytical skills all sharpen as you read consistently. During active reading, the mind is engaged in these activities and the more you read, the more you build your brain muscle to stay focused and concentrated. Memory is another element of your brain that improves with reading. As you read, you can connect ideas, information, concepts from different books, and within a book. You can relate with books read earlier in the context of a book you are reading in the present.

Reading brings joy and reduces stress

Readers can feel calm and less stressed as reading allows them to get out of their minds to look at the world from others’ perspectives. Reading can put a brake on our thoughts related to personal life and explore the author’s imagination & get a taste of the character’s thought processes. This even allows one to gain insights on how to deal with their problems. Reading a hardcover book before bedtime can also improve your sleep.

Reading lets you enjoy being alone

Readers gain more sense of themselves as they read consistently. It’s a highly enjoyable activity and a hobby for many enthusiastic readers. It’s fun and cheap at the same time and something people can immensely enjoy in their alone time. Reading is a great way to feel inner peace and it’s rewarding as well.

Reading aids in mental well-being

Books can be best friends to connect with. They can aid in slowing down the process of cognitive decline as you age. Based on research, those who read, write, or engage in other mind-engaging activities are less likely to develop mental diseases like dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Reading improves your overall mental well-being.

Reading helps you discover yourself

As you read you discover parts of your personality that you weren’t aware of before. As you are reading a book, you unintentionally apply that knowledge to yourself, you look at yourself through the lens of the author that helps you to discover parts of yourself that you might not be able to look at otherwise. Reading develops and expands your vision of yourself and your life. You develop a sense of what motivates you, what likes & dislikes you have, what drives your behavior in a particular situation, and much more.

Reading helps you in writing

One of the great ways to collect ideas to write about is reading. Most writers are first readers, their reading habit can enhance their writing skills. As you read you find the elements of good or bad writing in a text that you can either apply or avoid in your writing. You can identify the voice of the author, techniques used by her, how she puts her ideas into a logical structure, and which communication style is more effective for what type of readers – all of these help you take your writing to the next level by making it more effective and easy to connect with, for a reader.

Reading makes you a better human

Books help us become better people, be more imaginative, and empathetic. They provide us a chance to experience other cultures, expand our perspective, share feelings & go through experiences that we otherwise might not be able to have in our life. Books expand our vision and make us more considerate of other people’s opinions. All of this improves our view of the world and how we go through life and cope with challenges.

Commit to reading, take some time out of your routine to develop a reading habit. Once you get to taste reading, you won’t be able to keep yourself from devouring it for the rest of your life.

Happy Reading!

Thanks for reading this article! Leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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