“Reading is fundamental”. How many times have you heard the phrase? In my case, I’ve lost count. Yet the simplicity of the sentence belies its truism. Reading is indeed fundamental, I’d even venture to say essential. Beyond basic education and literacy reading holds the key to your ultimate success. How so? Let us explore…
Words are like the basic ingredients from which a complex meal arises. A good speaker, like a great chef, holds the power to control others and their senses through the careful combination of verbs and adjectives. Anyone can be convinced to do just about anything. Sounds impossible? Not so. The key is word selection, delivered with tact and conviction, a souflé for the masses; and there is no easier way to acquire such an influential vocabulary than through daily reading. Through continuous exposure you’ll hone your vocabulary enough to land your dream job, avoid a traffic ticket, and even, impossible as it sounds, convince your significant other to do the laundry. Realize that the great majority of the influential people in the world are voracious readers and they all have the ability to sway your conviction.
Arriving at an event where you know only a few people, or none, is deeply embarrassing for some. How many times have you attended one of these and left in utter despair? How often have you spent hours chit-chatting, talking incessantly but ultimately conversing about nothing. The answer to this quandary is reading. Reading exposes you to a myriad of topics and sharpens your sensibilities. When you spend enough time reading about art and history, about people and places, or even about fictitious characters and their tribulations, you build the confidence to share your knowledge and can immediately connect with one or more individuals at any gathering. Armed with the power of books it is only a matter of time before you establish an obvious commonality, forged through literary devotion.
Life is grand, beautiful, epochal...and utterly difficult. On a daily basis we are bombarded with challenging situations that we have never encountered before. How do we know how to react? What is the best course of action? Your mother, uncle or friend may not know, but I am certain there is some literary character out there, real or fictional, that met the same peril and overcame his/her circumstances, perhaps even flourished. You can learn from them and your life will be far better because of it. Furthermore, for those living under difficult emotional or economic circumstances, reading is an escapade, an opportunity to leave everything behind and to grant your tired neurons a respite. We all need an emotional outlet and books are the ideal solution; they’ll always be willing to grant you their undivided attention, with no strings attached.
Knowledge is power; oh, how very true. He who knows much can conquer the world. Great historical figures, those that shaped the very lives we lead, had one overriding commonality: they all read often and profusely. To succeed you must acquire knowledge and there is no simpler vehicle to its amassing than reading. Think about it; books hold all the knowledge of the last 5000 years on countless subjects; history, philosophy, art, mathematics, it is all within grasp, whether on the internet or the palm of your hand. Go ahead, take it, see how quickly you’ll be able to change yourself and the world.
When I was young I was an insatiable reader. I read almost every book by Jules Verne and couldn’t wait to receive the next edition of National Geographic. The first time I read about Everest and Vesuvius, I found myself utterly enthralled. I dreamt about adventure, about volcanoes, about endless odysseys through the ether of the world. As I grew, I promised myself I would one day find some measure of success so I could realize my dreams, so I could visit those places. I did. I have. The lesson here is that books are enablers of dreams, they actively enhance the plasticity of your brain and ever so slowly, but so surely, lead you to the path of ultimate success. Read on...and dream on.