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Reading wasn’t my thing

Anirudh Singh

In Books, Personal Development Posted

But it is now.

Writing isn’t one of my passions. Weird confession to make while starting something, ain’t it? But I want to be completely honest with you. The truth is I have a lot of passions, and writing has never been one of them.

Neither has been reading. For the past 19 years of my life, I had read only 2 or 3 books in total (yes! It’s true).

That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to read. I wanted to read a lot of books. They looked like a challenge, an uncracked chest filled with immense treasures of knowledge and wisdom. But my procrastination along with short attention span made me give up one book for another, piling it up for several weeks just to switch on to another book, leaving me frustrated and not being able to read anything at all.

I thought that was probably because my reading speed was slow. So I started reading about how to increase it. But I gave up one speed reading book for another, never finishing any. Not surprisingly, but my reading speed remained the same.

All these events led me to believe that reading wasn’t for me. I could gain the same knowledge from podcasts or videos or keynotes or speeches, but reading just wasn’t fit for me.

This changed when I recently had that ‘reading fit’ again. However this time, instead of just diving head straight into a book, implementing stupid “speed reading techniques”, I went to a friend of mine. An avid reader (the kind that finishes an entire book in one day), she gave me this crucial piece of advice, that anyone struggling with the problem as mine needed to hear (I hope there’s someone that relates with me) :

“If you don’t want to read, then don’t. What is your purpose of reading? There is no point in going after something that’s so frustrating for you, unless you have a concrete motive. On the contrary, if you have a concrete, well defined motive, then you shouldn’t be facing this frustration.”

That’s it! That’s what I wanted to hear. There are no techniques. I wasn’t bound to read. I didn’t need to read something for the sake of it. This might sound counterproductive to the idea of wanting to read, but it’s not, once you look at it the way I did.

Since I wasn’t bound to read anything, it removed a big burden from my head, about how I was being left out because of my inability to read. Apparently, I wasn’t. I didn’t have a proper motive of wanting to read. I wanted to read just to ‘become a reader’, and that is just as vague as it gets. Now I knew that I didn’t need to become a reader.

“Do you want to read for pleasure? For knowledge? To learn something specific? To gain a new perspective? “

She was right, I needed to figure out what my aim was before reading anything. Without it, I’d be as lost as a sailor without compass.

The result?

The very next day, I figured that my interest in post apocalyptic stories (and how World War Z was one of the only books I was able to complete) could be a great starting point, and I picked up Autumn by David Moody . I was very clear that I wanted to read for pleasure. And so I did.

To my surprise, I was able to finish the book in less than a week. I know it isn’t remarkable, but it was a huge milestone for me.

I gained a new sense of confidence. I finally knew that reading is for me, as much as it is for everyone else.

This motivated me to start reading more and more. In just a couple months, I’ve made so much progress that I’m reading two books at the same time, without much trouble. The only difference is, that now I know what I want from each — one is for pleasure while the other is for knowledge.

Reading is for everyone, you just need to find your reason.

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