In the pursuit of knowledge, do not forsake a call to action; for in doing, we are adding to our story.
This is something I’ve wrestled with recently, as I learn to balance reading with… well pretty much everything else in life. In my youth, I mostly avoided books. In high school, I would take low grades on book reports, because the idea of sitting down and reading a book when I could be hanging with friends, playing video games, playing guitar, or watching tv seemed to me a waste of time.
Though I was a little late to the game, I now love reading; and I’m blown away by how much learning and development can take place in those times. Here is my dilemma: I crave reading, but I am a pretty slow reader; so by the time I finally settle into a groove, I usually need to put the book down to do something else. Now had I begun reading consistently when I was an adolescent, I would likely be able to read at a quicker pace by now, and in so doing, devour much more information in shorter amounts of time.
Now the knowledge and value gained through reading is important because it improves our life and the world around us. That being said, if one finds themselves inspired to take action in the midst of reading, by all means, put the book down and take action.
So what would 37 year old me say to that young man playing guitar, toilet papering houses, and playing The Adventures of Link for hours on end? First of all I’d probably say, “Cool shirt dude,” as I took pride in finding ridiculous thrift store t-shirts for a time. Amongst other valuable life lessons, I would tell that young man to read; and here is why:
1. There is power in written word. Words on a page at times can take us much deeper than a movie, they can wield an image wrought with so much detail that you swear you could practically see it.
2. There is beauty in written word. Have you ever been to outer space, fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, or visited the Shire? Through books we can journey to these places and feel their magnificence jump off of the pages.
3. There is wisdom in written word. Would you like to talk with George Washington, Jesus, or C.S. Lewis? Me too, but the problem is that they are no longer with us; but their words live on through written word. We all need wisdom, and what better way to gain wisdom than by listening to the wise.
4. There is inspiration in written word. From developing good habits to trekking through the mountains, you will find yourself challenged to take some sort of action. I read The Old Man and the Sea and found myself out on the lake the next day. I read The Hobbit and found myself on the trails.
By reading, we tap into a world of power, beauty, wisdom, and inspiration amongst other themes. So whether you are young or old, an avid reader or have only read this article; take some time to read, and be ready for a call to action.
A reader lives a thousand lives before they die…the one who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin