I was showering one day, and a bunch of ideas about the benefits of reading popped into my mind, which I thought would be useful to share. I’ve been a little neglectful in my reading this year (comparatively speaking), and as usual, I was starting to wonder what was the point of reading. Again, I was reflecting on the WHY.
Turns out there’s a lot more to reading than just telling people how much you’ve read. Your mental prowess is strengthened through the acquisition of knowledge (you get to learn sophisticated new words), your creativity expands profusely, and your ability to empathize is augmented.
Sounds cool right? Let’s get into it.
Acquisition of knowledge
This is arguably the most straightforward benefit and reason why people read. To acquire knowledge. Whether you’re reading from a textbook to prepare for an exam, reading an article on the Top 3 Benefits of Reading, reading an interesting post on Instagram, reading religious text for your spirituality or reading an ordinary non-fiction book, at the heart of it lies the acquisition of knowledge.
Whatever you read, whether you’re conscious of it or not, has an impact on your knowledge. Your mental prowess is arguably your greatest asset as well. You need to continuously invest in it so that it can continue to grow.
The remarkable thing is that the first Qur’anic verse or word revelated to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was “Read!”.
As I’m starting to remember that, the more motivated I’m becoming to continue reading. It can become less of a burden, and more of a priority.
Expansion of creativity
In addition to the knowledge that you gain, reading enhances your ability to think beyond your current mental limitations. The more you’re exposed to and engage with newer, abstract and unique concepts, the more creative you can become.
I always find it invigorating when I’m able to push my own boundaries because of something I read in a non-fiction book. When I read about self-development, what has been done by others or theories about the future, it enables me to also push beyond what I currently believe is possible within myself.
Additionally, unlike in a movies, fictional books also force you to use your imagination to picture the story you’re reading. I currently don’t put too much effort in being imaginative, but it’s definitely something I’m working on. The more you mentally engage with the stories, the more creative you can become in other aspects of your life as well.
Augmentation of empathy
The last aspect that I thought about was how it can develop your empathy. This is also more relevant to fictional books, as you have to take perspectives from different characters.
As with creativity, the more you read about stories from other people’s point of views, the more you’re able to feel what they’re feeling. As the characters develop, the deeper your understanding becomes of their own personality, how they relate to others, and what they want to accomplish.
The practice in this becomes how you put yourself in their shoes to make sense of the story. This can directly translate to your interpersonal relationships, as empathy is also a skill that can be worked on.
So when it comes to reading, my personal preference is to take a mix of fictional and non-fictional books. This gives me the right balance in acquiring new knowledge, expanding my creativity and augmenting my empathy.
The benefits of reading are definitely not limited to what I mentioned in this post. If you have any other important insights from your own reading experience, feel free to share it in the comments below! I’m also happy to engage more on this topic privately.
Get those books off the shelf and start boosting!