Reading makes a better mind

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” – Sir Richard Steele

Reading. It is one of, if not, the best inventions of man to be able to understand a lot of things. Let us take advantage of it. Sadly, almost nobody is maximizing its potential. Almost nobody reads in this present generation. Here’s what I learned. We learn to read so that we can read to learn. Reading stimulates the brain which then generates ideas. It unlocks wisdom. It influences our thoughts, our beliefs and our actions. It ignites our minds in order to work better.

During the quarantine period, I had been reading. In fact, it was an opportunity to catch up on my reading. There had been no dull and boring moment for almost three months of staying at home. As a result, I was inspired to write just about anything, lyrics, poems and been thinking of writing a book.

I have written previously about a man named DeWitt Wallace who got an idea while reading. It was the year 1921. He was itching to read but he did not have the money to subscribe to the magazines that interested him. However, that did not deter him to find a way to read. The public library back then is the mecca for people who cannot afford to buy books. It became his refuge.

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His only problem was that the articles are often long and took most of his time. That gave him an idea. Why not summarize or condense these articles? So, he did just that. He started digesting those news and information and then placed it in a handy little magazine that you love to read, the Reader’s Digest. Because of his readings, a best-selling idea was conceived.

Abraham Lincoln, not only did he become great, he was also wise and honest because books were part of his growing years. According to his biographers, Mr. Lincoln grew up reading the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, Pilgrims Progress and Robinson Crusoe.

Non-readers merely rely on hearsay and rumors for their guidance. They say that experience is a great teacher but there are lessons learned by reading and studying without having to go through the experience especially if it is painful. My own readings disprove some of the prevailing ideas about my life. In my limited world, all I knew was that life is a linear direction from being born to going to school which leads to finding a job and then getting married and having kids and wait until I get old and retire. I even doubted for a time if I will be able to achieve all of that.

Frederick Royce, the founder of an automobile company that produces high-end and elegant automobiles called Rolls-Royce, said that his favorite pastime is not playing golf, the hobby of the rich and famous. According to him, he will only waste his time in golf. He preferred a more productive hobby, gardening.

In all practicality, the next meal is a priority rather than buying a book. But once a meal is eaten, it’s gone. A good book could teach you how to fish so you will have enough fish for a lifetime. So, it is the reverse. There is no food on the table because of a misplaced priority. In the Bible, we read about Esau trading his privilege as a first born with all the blessing attached to it, to his brother Jacob, with just a bowl of soup because he could not sacrifice a single meal.

Fantasia Barrino, the champion in the singing competition called American Idol in 2004, is illiterate. She admitted this in her memoir “Life is not a Fairy Tale”. She had no choice but to sign recording contracts without even reading them. According to her though, the most painful part is that it is difficult for her to read a story to her daughter.

Therefore, reading should be a part of our lives. It is a must for our leaders so they can lead better. It is a necessity for us so we can thrive in this information age. Mental development is as important as physical development.

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