Against Reading sticker

I Do Not Love Reading
Credit: http://www.amazon.com/Hate-Anti-READING-Window-Sticker/dp/B003XRHB6I

Did I get your attention?  While the masses may simply agree that reading is fundamental, I’m here to tell you why it is just the opposite…of course there are exceptions to every rule.  Time to play the devil’s advocate.

Reading wastes time.

Time that could go to eating candy, playing video games, sleeping, hanging out with friends and the list goes on.  What makes reading so fundamental after you’ve already learned how to do it in grammar school?

What does this mean to me? 

I’m not advocating abolishing books and content but rather a different take on understanding how self-awareness can increase your potential to gain value in your reading.  It is the real skill of reading that is fundamental and not the act of reading for reading’s sake.

The main distinction I want to make is that reading is a skill that if not used wisely will ultimately lend to the over saturation of information in our daily lives.  We tend to place the blame on our high-tech gadgets such as smartphones, iPads and other forms of computing but is our human nature to blame, the processes and habits we follow and not the tool or gadget of choice.  Our social involvement can put our blinders up and swallow us whole until the larger chunk of our day has flashed before our eyes and we have nothing to show for it but a few Facebook posts and products purchased due to mindlessly finding things ‘to do’ online while telling our families that we are ‘working’.  While ‘working’ may be true for the online entrepreneur let’s face it, not everyone is making money online or working hard at what it takes to make a living honestly on the internet.  Here’s the list of 3 reasons why reading is a waste of time:

Gravity Reading Meme
Credit: http://500memes.com/plog-content/images/meme/lame-pun-coon/im-reading-a-book-about-anti-gravity-its-impossible-to-put-down.jpg

1. Information Overload. Our buckets are full.

Online reading is the biggest culprit.  We can blame hyperlinks for that but just as you wouldn’t get rid of your kitchen knife because it is dangerous, you can’t just write off surfing the web because of the potential it has to disrupt your original intentions.  The key here is learning how to show your patterns of activity online (just look at your history by clicking the back button in your internet browser) and what sites you’ve visited outside of your direct query in Google or whatever other search engine you use.  This problem isn’t as prevalent in a bookstore, since you go to one usually with an intention to seek out something unless your just browsing which some may enjoy but is still a waste of time if you’re aimlessly wandering around the store bumping into one bookshelf to the next.  We are bombarded with pop-ups, advertisements and so many distractions that take us on a path we never originally intended.  Try traveling through state park in the mountains without a map and see how long it takes to get lost.  You need to stick to your plan, your map, your intention to get what you came for and get out.  If you are reading the intro to a book, article or magazine and nothing moves you to say “Hey, this sounds like a good read..” you need to put it down and move on.  If you’ve read this far I’m happy you chose not to make me a product of my own advice.

2. You can�t read everything.

This goes hand in hand with reason #1.  As humans we just aren't wired to multitask well.  Can we multi-task?  Of course we can but that doesn’t mean the quality output of our tasking is any better than if we were to focus 100% on a single task at hand until completion.  Trying to read every link you click on or book you pick up will not help you meet your goal if it prevents you from staying focused and it will not boost your comprehension of a given topic.

3. Reading without a purpose.

Why are you reading something?  Is it for personal enrichment?  Maybe you want to get some gardening tips or helpful advice on how to cook (or not cook) Japanese food.  If you are just falling for clicking from one link on a website to another distraction to the next it is extremely easy to forget why you were online in the first place.

Writers are leaders, Readers are followers.

Writers create content for audiences to consume.  The can set the direction and tone for discussion on any topic they choose.  More seasoned writers can get extremely creative with sparking constructive controversy and putting spins on things that other writers and readers wouldn’t necessarily have thought of doing.  They are ground breakers at times and someone to relate to in some circumstances.  Without them, the internet wouldn’t be what it is today.

That said, readers are followers and without them, writers have no place and no audience.  In order for the internet to exist and flourish in its splendor the two roles complement one another.  If you just read and never try to write once in a while then you are missing out on great opportunities that life has to offer.  So keep reading as that is the key to learning.  But it is highly recommended that you take action and write as well.  If you aren’t good at it, so what?…write for writing’s sake once in a while and you can polish this wonderful skill set as well, completing a well-balanced arsenal of reading and writing and boosting your confidence along the way.

So when is reading not a time waster?

That depends on what you are reading and why.  If you are an aspiring content writer or aspiring to publish some other sort of content you need to make sure that reading is a necessary need to gather research to formulate your thoughts and find authoritative sources that can support an idea.  Remember, this isn’t reading for the sake of it, there is a goal and that is to do research which will influence your thought processes, resulting in the content that you write which would be the essential output, or product so to speak which holds some sort of value to a potential reader.  If you aren’t looking to create content then searching for something specific and targeted to your need would be a wise use of your time.  For instance, tips on how to cook the best filet mignon around for a dinner party at the last-minute.  Although the end goals are different in both cases, the truth is that both mediums are essentially the same.  Researching a topic while staying focused and keeping your eyes on the prize are crucial in leveraging your time wisely regardless if you are writing or reading.  Let’s face it, most of us don’t have much time so focus is paramount to efficiency. 

Of course there is no right or wrong in choosing what to read as we all have our own interests to satisfy, but in my honest opinion if you don’t have a goal then you are wasting your time.   If you enjoy reading for reading’s sake that is fine but like the saying goes ‘Too much of anything is bad” so if done wisely, you can enjoy that 1 hour of mindless web-surfing or video game playing…guilt-free.  But if that’s the case don’t forget to throw in a little writing for writing’s sake, you just might like it.  For a good article on tips for self-awareness, check out “Psychic Aspects of Life” http://www.infobarrel.com/Psychic_Aspects_of_Life.

Are you simply reading for reading’s sake?  What are you reading now and why?