Reading: The guidance of an older brother

A perspective on the art of reading

Reading is about possibility. Reading is about looking at a set of things that might happen to you so that you know what to expect when it does. A book says, ‘If you take a left and follow the river, there might be a cliff side. Here’s how you might go about getting down it.’

Reading is merely about identifying what to expect, and then bringing that foresight into the world of experience subtly.

A common fear is that if you read, it will take the magic out of the discovery. This is a false fear. Reading brings another perspective to the discovery. There is the feeling of discovery, which is magical. There is the unknown. And there is what you were expecting to experience. These three will never truly match up completely. If seemingly they do, then it is not difficult to add the magic back in. Anyone who has ever had a conversation in ‘gibberish’ with someone knows this.*

Going into the new year, consider reading as a mentorship from an older sibling: ‘This is what I’ve seen. This is what you might expect to see. This is how you might go about dealing with it. Take it or leave it!’


-Ben

If you like this post, here’s another you might like.

*If you don’t know this, then try it: Have a conversation with someone in gibberish, not thinking about the words, no filtering, just simply saying whatever comes to your head. Let the gibberish speak for you. The conversation topic can be about whatever you want. It will change your perspective on interaction.

New Series: Book of the Day

Hope you’re all well.

Starting Wednesday 19th of September, one a day for 10 days, I will be a releasing a series covering books that I have most recommended over the years to friends, family, and acquaintances, in order that some of you may be inspired to give them a try. Each of these books has delivered massive value to some area of my life. I hope that they can do the same for you.

I look forward to sharing these with you!

“The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is.” -Dr Viktor E. Frankl


-Ben

If you are looking for previous recommendations, then check out this post! Bless.

Why you should READ.

I once read a statistic that said this: “If one were to read 1 book on their chosen subject for a month, in 3 years they would be in the top 5% most knowledgable in their field”

WHAT?! You’re telling me that all I have to do is read a book a month?

With a book one disappears  into a world of their creation, all the while learning and being taught anything that they could possibly want to know. The possibilities are literally limitless. Books are the door into your very own intricately detailed brain cinema… that can also teach you things!

So why do so few people actually do it?!

Most people will say “Yeah… I should read but I just don’t have time”

“Or yeah I should, and I do really like it, I don’t know, I just don’t really do it.”

Often when I hear this, the person I’m talking to sat on their phone, or we are down at the pub, or they are watching tv… often not even good tv.

There is a reason for this.

One reason is that there are so many alternatives to reading that are so much more sensorially stimulating. One can sit in front of a TV for hours and just be spoon fed entertainment without having to lift a greasy finger.

Another reason is consistency.

Reading is a participatory. One has to sit down and use their brain muscles. Reading is a practice. And a practice has to be practiced… Mind blown right?

Most people are out of this habit, and so when they do read, they find it difficult or a chore. Surely this should be unsurprising; any level of ability and fitness has to be built and maintained… but often it’s not. And often it’s a discouraging enough experience that people give up after a session. It’s like the new years gym rush in reading form.

Like any other muscle in the body, if you don’t use it then it simply shrinks. We’ve got to train our reading muscles! And it’s a speedy spring-back for sure.

My estimate based on my own experience of reading relapse is that it takes me one and a half weeks to two weeks of being in the habit of picking up a book and reading it daily for it to become simply effortless. To the point where it is as easy to read a book as watch a film except, like eating a salad instead of the chips, reading the book feels healthy and stimulating in regards to my growth, not my complacency.

The trick is to know WHY you are reading, and to be able to discern the feeling of growth from the feeling of deterioration…

So… Why are you reading? Do you want to be the best musician in your field? How many musicians do you recon pick up books in their free time to read about theory applications and jazz history…  Is it for leisure? Great! Just know that… And when you decide to begin reading because you want to learn how to be a great leader, or manage a workforce, or build a motorbike, keep your eyes on the reason and feel it coming closer into your sphere of reach.

Another factor to consider. Rising to the challenge. Do you have a HIGHER purpose in mind that you are working towards everyday?

When you have a higher purpose, reading, exercising, working, and doing anything in alignment with it that purpose comes effortlessly. When what you are doing is in alignment with your purpose, you are excited and fulfilled in dance and movement your own progression, and reading is a vehicle for that momentum. (If you’re having trouble finding your higher purpose, here is a resource for you that I wrote.)

Reading raises your consciousness up. It is part of the vital interplay between the inner and outer consciousness. Both the inner and outer game are on their own path towards growth, and in turn each feeds its counterpart.

If you are interested in growing in any capacity, reading is not only your friend, but your mentor and closest ally.

Books don’t don’t discriminate, they just give. Be a book.


My advice is to think of reading (like meditation) as a practice that is a guiding light: A grounding force: A sturdy hand pointing the way for intuition on your Hero’s Journey.

If you’re still not bought on the idea of reading, consider some of the greatest teachers and leaders ever to have lived: You can have lunch with Gandhi, and Tea with Malcom X, dinner with Steven Hawking, and drinks with Arnold Schwarzenegger… Lives and lives worth of tips, tricks, lessons, and mistakes, compiled into a book that can be held in the palm of your hand and enjoyed at your leisure.

If you are not sure where to start on your reading journey, here’s where I started, and it is a great place to start for anyone: ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’

This is about outer game. This is about becoming the most educated version of yourself in order that you can bring yourself and others up. To educate is to elevate. True education is self guided, and it’s there for the taking. Elevate yourself, and bring others with you. Share your gifts. Take your power.

Reading, unlike most modern media, is not just entertainment. Reading is a practice. It will reveal things to you about yourself, and take you to places on your own journey of personal development that you never thought possible.

Who knows… maybe one day you will end up writing your own book. May it be filled with tellings of wonder and success.

Take it from Abraham Lincoln:

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”


-Ben

If you liked this post, then I’d recommend checking out this post also…

Also if you are still not bought on the idea of reading: here’s an interesting article that might aid your decision,