I have mentioned it many times in my blog posts, that reading is one of the most important factors that will change your life and make you successful. As what Robin Sharma often says, “Ordinary people have big TVs, extraordinary people have big libraries.”
Therefore, it’s clear, if you want to change your life, start by reading books. Personal development books, business books, self-help, whatever you find interesting.
“Books were my path to personal freedom,” said Oprah Winfrey, the self-made billionaire woman. “I learned to read at age 3 and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.”
According to American Libraries, Oprah credited her father for understanding the value of education and learning. She said that every single week, she had to read library books and had to do book reports in her house. This was what she said:
“Now, at 9 years old, nobody wants to have to do book reports in addition to what the school is asking you to do, but my father’s insistence that education was the open door to freedom is what allows me to stand here today a free woman.”
So can reading change your life? The answer is clear. It’s a resounding “Yes!”
Here’s another extraordinary man where he credited reading has changed his life – Elon Musk.
In one of the Business Insider’s article, Jim Cantrell, the first VP of business development for SpaceX said that Musk literally taught himself rocket science by reading textbooks and talking to industry heavyweights.
As you can see, reading doesn’t just change your life, it can make you an extraordinary person, achieving outstanding success in life too.
Now that you know the importance of reading, so how does it change your life? Here are the 10 ways of how reading can make your life different:
1. Reduce stress
First and foremost, reading can reduce stress. According to this article from the Telegraph, reading for just 6 minutes can reduce your stress by as much as 68%.
Plenty of studies have shown this benefit of reading. In fact, reading is a much better way to reduce your stress than other ways such as listening to music, drinking a cup of tea, or even going for a walk.
When you read, you put your focus on the words. This actually eases the tension in your muscles and your heart.
2. Acquire more and new knowledge
This is common sense. We all know that the more we read, the more knowledge we can gain. But of course, it also depends on what kind of material you’re reading.
Even if you’re just reading a magazine, you can learn so much more about the subject and industry.
For example, I read property and real estate magazines from time to time. I found that the knowledge I gain about the market trend and condition is absolutely priceless.
If you want to learn something quick, read a book. If you want to know how to lose weight, start an online business, manage your money, how to invest in the stock market, just grab yourself related books and start reading them.
The more you read, the more you know. The more you learn, the more you can earn.
3 Enhance flow state
When you’re in a flow state, you fully immersed yourself in the activity that you’re doing. Suddenly, the noise in your surrounding becomes quiet, time slows down, and it feels like you have become one with what you’re doing.
The more flow state you experience, the happier you become. And another way how reading can change your life is that when you read, you get into flow state much easier.
I bet you have experienced this before. As you read, at one point, you become so into it. You put in 100% of your attention on the words that you’re reading and you don’t care about the details in your surroundings. And that is the flow state.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of flow state, read this article.
4. Become a better writer
The more you read, the more vocabulary you will expose yourself to. And this actually expands your vocabulary.
You may think that this is not important because you’re not a writer. No, everyone writes. You write in your emails. You write messages on your phone through Apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. We all write at some point.
And so if you want to write better, read more.
5. Use more of your right brain
Do you know that when you read, you use more of your right brain? Unlike watching the TV, when you read, your right brain creates pictures and you are connecting the words through your brain.
This helps boost your mental stimulation. This is why people often say, “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
Reading improves your brain muscles and helps you think better. You can become more creative through reading.
6. Improve your focus
One of the challenges that you will have to face when it comes to reading is your attention. When you read, you have to put in 100% attention to the words.
There is no way you can read and talk to someone else. When you’re reading and someone talks to you, you will stop, process what the person says, and then reply to him. You can’t read and talk back to the person.
This is because our brain is wired to focus on just one thing at a time. We can do many things at one time, but we can only focus on one thing at a time.
Therefore, reading actually improves your focus. The more attentive you become, the better your work performance can be.
Your ability to focus is one of the keys to achieving great results in life. And this is how reading can change your life.
7. Become more empathy
When you read, you keep up with all the different characters, their backgrounds, beliefs, and their way of thinking. You are reading as if you are playing the person the book mentioned.
This makes you more empathetic. When an author writes about how they feel, you can feel the same way.
For instance, when you read memoirs, especially those who have gone through a similar situation that you have experienced, you will feel emotionally connected. You will have the thoughts:
“Oh, so I’m not the lone ranger here. Others have faced this situation too. And if they can overcome it, so can I!”
8. Give you inspiration
Yes, reading can change your life. Reading can give you inspiration and the motivation you need to change the world, start by changing your life.
This is one of the reasons I read every day. I read business and personal development books. And this year, I set my goal to read at least 52 books and I’m confident that I can achieve this number.
When you read success stories from others who have gone through tough times, they give you inspiration that if they can do it, so can you.
Most people fail to achieve success in life because they fail to stick to their plans. They don’t take consistent action because they lack the motivation to act.
And the easiest way to maintain your motivation is to read every day. That’s why I make reading my habit.
My Recommendation: The Best Personal Development Books to Read
9. Understand the world better
One of the ways how reading can change your life is because it helps you understand the world better. Reading broadens your perspective and allows you to see the world outside your comfort zone.
Like how Oprah Winfrey transformed her life through reading. When you read, you can see the world outside of your small little world.
Some people think that earning $10,000 a month is a lot of money. Until one day, they get to know people who make that amount of money in a day, only then their belief and thinking will shift.
Because they have been shown what is possible. They have broadened their perspective and they have seen that there is something better out there.
This is why reading is important. It shows you what’s possible and it gives you insights and new concepts that can change the way you live.
10. Gain new ideas for success
Do I need to explain this more? How can you learn something new if you don’t read? Here’s a great quote from Zig Ziglar:
“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
You can become unstoppable if you’re willing to read and learn. The more knowledge you gain, you better you become. The better you become, the more you can achieve.
Never let yourself contented with where you are right now. Always be willing to learn and always make time to read.
If you notice, most successful people are avid readers. Here are the examples from HuffingtonPost:
- Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year, which breaks down to 1 per week
- Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day
- Elon Musk is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said: “I read books.”
- Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015
- Oprah Winfrey selects one of her favorite books every month for her Book Club members to read and discuss
So keep learning. More importantly, schedule your reading time so that you will absolutely make it happen.