I once had two separate encounters with two strangers. One encounter led to the beginning of a life-long friendship and the other…I actually don’t remember who the other one was with.
The difference? The answer to one single question:
“So, what are you reading these days?”
How would you answer this question?
Some people are mentally ripped just like that dude is physically ripped^ (he definitely has no idea how to properly tie a shoe without ripping the shoelaces off though). And how did those mentally buff people get mentally buff in the first place? The same exact way this physically buff guy got physically buff…
By scrolling through social media, sleeping in and throwing around the “I just don’t have time” statement like it was a bouquet at a wedding.
Ok, obviously this is not true. If you asked this^ dude what his Tuesday morning 6:00am workout routine was he could probably go for 30 minutes just describing the pre-workout to his actual workout…
How long could you go if asked, “what are you reading these days?”
I go to the gym because I want to increase my strength, agility, endurance and to look good as well.
I read because I want to expand my vocabulary, acquire more mental frameworks for problem-solving, learn about everything and anything, and because it sets me apart from those who “don’t have time to read.”
Reasons to Read: Conversation
I used to struggle with being insecure about statements I would make in meetings or in encounters with various people around my school or office.
After a conversation, I would feel like I had made a ton of statements up. Things felt unsubstantiated and therefore on the verge of dishonesty. This really bothered me.
Then I made reading a priority in my life.
I started out slowly (as most things tend to begin). I read when I could — mostly in small moments of boredom where I forced myself to stay off my phone and to instead read a few pages of whatever book I was dragging around in the bottom of my backpack.
I made it a goal to read about 30-minutes every day on Medium and about an hour every day out of one of my books.
My interactions around campus and in the office changed dramatically.
No longer did I feel like I was making empty statements. It is much harder to sound unsubstantiated when every other sentence begins with, “I read recently that…” or “I was reading the other day about…”
Go start reading and see how it changes your everyday conversations.
Reasons to Read: Relationships
I live in Los Angeles. There are a lot of people in Los Angeles. How do you sort through the heaps of people you are bound to encounter and find awesome, inspirational relationships?
“…so, what are you reading these days?”
Honestly, the answer to this question will show SO much about who a person is.
What are they reading? Are they reading at all? Are they excited about what they are reading? Do they ask the question back to you?
I love asking people this question. This does not mean that you are a bad person if you are not reading — just realize that you are potentially missing out on amazing opportunities for growth in your own life by forgoing the simple act of reading.
Ask someone this question and see what happens!
Reasons to Read: Problem-Solving
If you have not noticed already, most of life consists of problem-solving. No matter what you do in life, you will always be presented with new problems that require your attention. To solve a problem, you must use a mental framework to grasp and then work through the problem.
“Mental framework” is another way of saying perspective. Many people go through life using the same mental framework to try to solve every different kind of problem — this has poor results (imagine trying to fix a flat tire using only medical equipment — no amount of bandaids or sutures are going to fix your flat tire).
One of the best ways to expand your perspective and acquire new mental models for problem-solving is by reading!
By absorbing the thought processes of different authors on different topics at different parts in your life, you are rapidly improving your ability to approach a problem from more angles than someone who does not allow themselves the privilege of reading.
“All perspectives hold some truth. None of them contain the complete truth.”
So, go expand your ability to solve problems by reading and acquiring new mental models.
Reasons to Read: Life is a Marathon
Your entire life is a marathon. Wherever you are in the race, you can always improve. Reading is an investment in your future. Reading is a marathoner’s preparation for the road extending before them.
Reading today will set you apart from others tomorrow.
Imagine two plants growing side by side. Each day they will compete for sunlight and soil. If one plant can grow just a little bit faster than the other, then it can stretch taller, catch more sunlight, and soak up more rain. This process gets repeated again and again until the plants that are slightly better than the competition dominate the entire forest. Scientists refer to this effect as “accumulative advantage.” What begins as a small advantage gets bigger over time. One plant only needs a slight edge in the beginning to crowd out the competition and take over the entire forest. (source)
While I am not advocating for taking over the entire world/forest, I am advocating for making decisions today that will drastically impact your future.
Reading is one of the many ways that you can change your life.
Reading is an investment you will never regret.