Tuesday, June 28, 2011

3 Reasons You Should Read

I used to be not much of a reader. In school, I would do only the minimum to get by. Cliffs Notes were my best friend.

In my high school English Lit class we were studying "The House Of The Seven Gables" (yawn). I read the first five pages and quit. The final exam was a one question oral exam, in front of the entire class. I got lucky: my question came from the first five pages. I nailed it! Whew!

Being a purpose-driven/OCD/perfectionist, I would only read what would benefit me in my career. How To... and 5 Ways For... were my favorites. Skim through and apply the principles for success.

Then a few years ago my wife (an avid reader) challenged me to read a fictional novel. "Purpose", I asked? Her response: You'll enjoy it. Now that was the ultimate oxymoron: Reading=enjoyment. Ha!

Well, I'm not one to back down from a challenge, plus I love my wife dearly, so I read one (I even allowed her to choose it). And you know what? I actually liked it! So I read more. In fact, over the past nine years I have read 294 works of fiction. I even created a chart of favorite authors, and the books I've read (did I mention I was OCD?).

(Disclaimer: I do not seek to escape from the realities of life by immersing myself in the fictitious world between the covers of the books I read. Remember: I am purpose-driven.)

So here are three benefits I've found to reading fiction:
  • It helps me stay creative. Using one's imagination to interpret what the author is intending in the story keeps our creative energies sharp.
  • It gives the left side of the brain a chance to rest, thus making it more effective. Just as rest and refreshment are good for the body, the mind can use a break too.
  • It's just plain fun! You may be thinking: Reading is fun? Ha! But, as a converted reader, I can attest that I actually look forward to the enjoyment that reading affords.
If you read, keep reading. If you don't read regularly, take a break from Netflix (or going the movies, if you can afford it) and feed your imagination. It's worth it!

Question: What benefits have you found in reading fiction? Share your thoughts below in comments.

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