From my childhood, up until my late teens, I loved reading so much. I could finish three 200-pages books in just 1 week. And I liked to re-read them, at least three times, then only I would say I have read the book. And gradually my interest shifted from fiction books to non-fiction books.
If reading books is personalized into a boyfriend of mine, then I would say we have a perfect relationship. We complete each other, fulfil each other, and we are inseparable.
Until I went into university.
Going into university meaning I get to use my phone fully, and a personal laptop is a must.
In simple words, life gets more digital.
I got (properly) introduced to social media & streaming services. It didn’t take long enough for them to be my new bae. As a result, even a 100-pages book is hard enough to complete in 3 months.
It’s that drastic of change.
It got me thinking, do I not like to read? Is it a bad thing?
I’m not interested in debating questions where the answers might be subjective, non-binary, and especially personal.
What I like is, to share a few pointers, so regardless of the answers, it would help us to think and reflect on our content consumption.
1. We have the luxury to select content that we want, and especially that we need.
In this era, we have the privilege & luxury to choose what content do we want to consume, & how we want to consume it, i.e. in materials that have a wide array of varieties such as duration to complete, price, accessibility, relevancy, and others.
It is a blessing that I could not be more thankful of.
Thus, it is in your every right to choose what do you want to choose. More importantly, if you ever found yourself lacking of something that you need, it is the most logical thing to do; to minimize your reading material to ensure focus on those that actually matters.
There was one time where I was at a particular seminar, when I heard this, and I was taken aback;
“Do you remember the last thing that you’ve read on social media today?”
Well, do you? ‘Cause I don’t.
Not right now, not when I was asked that question.
The speaker was talking about attention. How we pay our attention, how we not pay our attention, & how we can choose things to pay attention to.
We all read things on social media. But do we pay attention to them? Can we recall them at this instant?
Thus, it is not about how much do you read & consume; it is about what are you paying attention to what you consume.
So go ahead & read what you want to read, & what you believe that you need.
2. From selective choosing of reading material, comes enjoyment.
Being a bring kid who loves to read dearly, I get asked a lot, both from my peers & their parents; how to enjoy reading?
I didn’t really know how to respond that. I mean, I just enjoy reading. It’s natural to me.
And during the period of me not liking to read & watch YouTube instead, it has become natural to me to like reading less, as watching videos are more engaging.
And like I said, I contemplated the question; is it bad that I don’t like to read anymore?
Yes, I may not like to read anymore. But, as soon as I stepped into the online realm, my consumption is pretty much similar to what I read. On Instagram I like to follow a lot of personal growth figures, therapists, psychologists, and motivational quotes account. On YouTube, I subscribed channels such as It’s Okay To Be Smart, ASAP Science, and figures such as Garyvee, Tom Bilyeu and Dean Graziosi.
Thus, even though I don’t do recreational reading as much anymore, I’m still always consuming content that makes me think critically. Nothing changed, technically.
Then it dawned on me; what matters the most is the content.
Books ain’t giving knowledge to you if it’s Playboy.
A 15 minutes YouTube videos may give knowledge more efficient to you then a 200-pages book, but not if you use YouTube just to watch cat videos all day every day.
So, how to enjoy reading?
You don’t have to.
You don’t have to force yourself to read, let alone enjoy reading books.
Just start consuming meaningful content that you genuinely love. Then whatever that you’re reading, you’ll fall really deeply in love with.
For example, you might like cars. So don’t just watch cars for entertainment. Start watching a bunch of YouTube videos about the market of cars, the mechanisms of cars, & current news about cars.
Slowly from there, you’ll start to diversify your medium to consume content; social media accounts, videos, articles or podcast, online or offline, and of course, including books.
So, at that moment, you’ll just naturally enjoy what you read.
You don’t force enjoyment to come, it just comes.
Isn’t that what enjoyment is?