Like many a college student drowning in textbooks, reading for pleasure was, suffice it to say, never considered. Combing over dense material requiring distraction-free attention made reading seem like…well, like a burdensome chore. Yet, I always understood that if I am going to learn the material, this is the way. Throughout my four years of undergraduate study, I read countless textbook chapters…a good feat, in my opinion, but what was happening behind the scenes were the beginnings of a battle I’d have to face head on upon me entering post-grad life.
Yes, I was a reader in college, in the shallowest sense of the word. I read because I had to if I want to excel in the classroom. All the while, how I felt about reading can be effectively encapsulated by one word – dread. I did not look forward to reading about accounting or finance…and these were my majors! Penciling time for reading was as difficult as ordering a salad at McDonalds. So, close to impossible. I don’t know, maybe I picked the wrong majors, or maybe, since I had never been an avid reader, this jump to consistent, high-level reading proved to be a challenge I simply did not enjoy. Nevertheless, when it was all said and done, throughout my four years of college, I can count on one hand, eh, maybe a few fingers, how many books I read for pleasure.
Graduation came and went and boom, I get out into the real world. A grown-up with a job, a salary, and “new” ’08 Mazda. After the excitement of this inevitably wore off, I started to think about the bigger picture. Where do I want to go in life? What is my definition of success? What do I truly want? What impact do I want to make? With an ambition to live a life of purpose and meaning, up to and through my potential, and impactful in various areas, I knew that education was the key ingredient. I had, and will always have so much to learn if the life I envision is to ever become a reality. The big question then loomed over me…how can I obtain the knowledge I need to realize my definition of success? Begrudgingly, the answer was clear, despite my efforts searching for others – I needed to make reading a habit. I needed to make books my entertainment - my new curriculum. So, I set out on a goal to read one book every week, necessitating a definite shift in my lifestyle.
How could I go from thinking dreadful thoughts one day about the act of reading to committing to read one book per week? Admittedly, it’s a big mental hurdle. But, for one, as mentioned, reading was, in my opinion, my ticket to success and a fulfilled life. Yet, most importantly, despite my mild disdain for reading up to and into my college years, its importance and ability to educate, entertain, and inspire was never lost on me. I always understood the value books provided. They just were never my thing. Until now.
Now, two years later, while the one-book-per-week goal has proved hard to maintain, I still set aside time for reading each and every day, if only for a few minutes. The decision to dive into this world and make continuous education and inspiration a habit has manifested in a deeper sense of self, greater feelings of confidence, and a more active, thoughtful mind. Safe to say, I am hooked!
My story is not unique, however. You can experience the same feelings and rewards as I have been so fortunate to uncover. If there is one thing to take away from what I’ve shared, it is that the simple act of making the conscious choice to start can be the most challenging, but also the most gratifying. Do you want something? Well, you have to start, to get the ball rolling, and not when you feel absolutely ready, because that day will never come, but now (or very soon). No, it’s not easy or comfortable to jump into the unknown and change, but at certain times it is oh so necessary. And once that ball gets rolling, it gains momentum until it reaches a point where the only thing you’ll dread is the thought of turning back.
Thanks for listening, it’s been a pleasure.