Books are the result of years of a person’s experience in a certain field. To write a book may take a few months, but the inspiration and material needed to make that book possible requires vast experience, research, and passion for the book’s specific field. For example, I am reading an awesome book right now called The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. Doidge himself is a doctor, and he tracks down top neurologists in the field of brain plasticity. These top neurologists are top neurologists because of their dedication to the field, like 30 years worth of tests, studies, and breakthroughs. Not to mentions, Doidge could not relate to these brilliant minds if he hadn’t dedicated 8 to 10 years of his life becoming a doctor himself. Do you see the massive amount of experience, knowledge, research, and awesomeness this one book contains? It takes Psychologists years worth of experiments, research, and personal patient treatment to create a few new ideas on human behavior. Tony Robbins began studying personal development at 17 and wrote his first book, Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement, ten years later. You can read this decade-in-the-making piece of literature comfortably in a week. Not to mention, any problem, question, or issue has already been lived and solved by one of the billions of people that lived before you and been written about in a book. The bible, Shakespeare, and even Nas have all said, “Theres noting new under the sun” and its probably be written about.
Not only does reading provide you with a wealth of knowledge, but it provides you with the leverage to take these ideas and concepts into action. There was once a general of an army who upon arriving to enemy territory had his own ships burned. Escape was not an option. It was either defeat the enemy or die. They won the battle. This is the ultimate leverage. I do not recommend leveraging your life, although it would be highly motivating, the risk of death seems kind of lame. With reading you can safely leverage an investment of your time and money against yourself. Once you’ve spent the money and the time and energy on a book, you become more inclined to use the knowledge you’ve acquired because otherwise, you might as well have just lit a twenty dollar bill on fire and stared at a blank piece of paper for five hours. While this is not as lame as dying, its still pretty lame. Avoiding this lameness is epitome of leverage. You give yourself motivation to avoid a negative stimulus by taking productive action.
Reading also serves as a powerful source of inspiration. It allows you to logically comprehend that anything is possible. I have a theory. When were are kids, our parents ask us what we want to be when we grow up. We say that we want to be an astronaut or a princess and they laugh at us and tell us you can do anything you want to do. Meanwhile, they are working boring nine to fives, and we see through this. We understand that, everything really isn’t possible. Why is dad being a boring lawyer when he could be a superhero? From this point on, we live in a more “realistic” world. Now, when asked what you want to be you reply lawyer or doctor. Books logically explain to you that anything really is possible. There are countless stories of people that shouldn’t have succeeded who end up massively successful, and the more you read, the more real these ideas become.
Surrounding yourself with inspiration also has a mystical effect. 2,000 years ago, Marcus Aurelius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You become what you think about all day long”, and it has been echoed by every self help author ever since. When you read powerful books, you are taking time out of your day to concentrate on empowering, interesting ideas. If done consistently, these powerful ideas stay in your head and become more refined, more internalized. In other words, consistent reading allows these powerful words on a page to become a part of you.
Reading develops your learner’s mindset. Reading these self development type books regularly puts your brain in a state of learning that lasts long after you close the book. These books tend to deal with real world issues, and by reading material that explores these issues and then living your day in this world, you cannot help but relate things from your reading to your everyday life. The learner’s mindset is a mindset that places a situations effect on yourself as secondary to the lesson or knowledge that can be gained from that situation. This is inevitable as you keep reading, you have fresh material floating in your head daily. The first thing that your brain begins to latch onto starts to be that fresh book material instead of your conditioned responses to certain scenarios.
In order to be an effective reader you must develop an unwavering focus on the material. This necessity trains your concentration, focus, and mindfulness muscles in the brain. In this sense, reading is a kind of like a focused meditation session. As with reading, meditation or any other activity, results at first may be discouraging, but know that with practice, anything can be improved. Reading has been reported to have a calming effect. I hypothesize that it is the mindfulness promoting aspect through which readers achieve this affect.
Reading has the power to improve you by providing knowledge, forming new beliefs, and enhancing your brain. The knowledge you can gain from books is highly concentrated, a result of years of hard work. This knowledge can alter your reality for the better by planting new beliefs in us since belief is the reason we do anything. Changing a belief inevitably is going to lead to a change in yourself. Lastly, reading enhances your brain by demanding focus and concentration, which in turn increases these capabilities. It provides a great way to practice steady concentration on a single task, also known as mindfulness, which has numerous benefits. Using the brain in reading and other challenging tasks also serves to keep the brain young and healthy. The human brain is the greatest thing on earth, and reading keeps it performing at an optimal level.