Growing up, most of us were probably encouraged to read by our family, teachers or even friends. Either you were naturally drawn to reading and picked up a book or two without being told OR you perceived reading as more of a chore and did it just because you were told to.
Unfortunately, the latter is occurring more commonly in today’s world. People are just being told to read instead of being taught the value and power it holds.
But, why is reading important to success?
Surely if we knew the benefits of reading, specifically in relation to our careers, more people would be inclined to pick up a book and get reading rather than aimlessly being forced to do so.
These reasons highlight the rewarding advantages of reading in hopes of encouraging you (or even motivating others) to pick up a novel and get reading whenever you can!
1: Improves Your Writing
Reading is a powerful tool that enhances your writing in a number of ways. The way other people communicate their ideas, opinions, and stories into words ultimately allows you to develop a way to approach your own writing in an effective and impactful manner.
There is no better way to improve your own writing than by reading and learning how other people do so! Whether you are writing for fun or professionally, reading is crucial in developing your writing style and how to deliver your ideas.
How it Improves Your Writing Style: The more you read, the more you learn about the various ways people choose to write… trust me, there are a number of writing styles out there!
Reading and learning the different methods of communicating in relation to style gives you the foundation to develop your own unique and personable way of writing that will set you apart and make your work more compelling.
Standing out and being engaging are qualities that are crucial for success in the workforce because you want to differentiate yourself. Most often, your resume is the first thing employers use to evaluate you.
Having a background rich in reading provides you with the skills needed to articulate exactly what you want to convey in a succinct and eloquent manner so employers can see your potential firsthand.
2: Enhances Your Vocabulary:
I believe that this one is the greatest benefits of reading, and one that will dramatically improve your success in life. As a student pursuing an English major, I am always asked how to write good essays.
In my opinion, effective written communication and a powerful range of vocabulary are what transforms a bland written piece into one that is cogent and engaging.
By reading, you are learning new phrases and words that you would not have learned otherwise. These become ingrained into your mind and can be swiftly integrated into your writing and speaking.
An enhanced vocabulary is a quality that is useful in communication skills and makes you a better communicator, which is rewarding for career success. This leads us to our next one…
3: Develops Communication Skills
This one is connected to improve written skills!
Not only does reading influence how you articulate your ideas and positively transform your written communication, but it also impacts how you orally communicate with others!
After reading, you may catch yourself using words or phrases that were prevalent in what you have read. Ultimately, what you read becomes embedded in the way you express yourself.
This powerfully amplifies your range of vocabulary and enhances your communication skills. This is an advantageous skill that is dominating the workforce as exceptional communication skills are required in most career opportunities.
Reading sets the foundation for success as it makes for strong interviews, presentations, and other communication-driven tasks that are a part of any job.
4: Increases Creativity
One of the most powerful and unique aspects of reading is its ability to take you into another world, idea or place and imagine yourself in the position of the main character or author.
This exposes you to a variety of situations, opinions, and views that are presented in what you are reading. So, a person who reads often is more likely to be creative.
By reading, they have been actively exercising their brain.
Although we do not place an emphasis on exercising our minds as much as we do our bodies, it is equally as important!
Exercising your mind hones your mental sharpness, strengthening your ability to develop and understand ideas.
Reading accomplishes this as it immerses you in a different world and into the perspective of what you are reading. It makes you think, imagine and reflect: all qualities that are linked to creativity!
In a world driven by apps like Netflix, where information is explicitly presented, individual imagination is becoming less prevalent. Being an avid reader encourages you to place yourself into the shoes of the author or character and use your imagination to follow the story.
It is a source of creativity and unlimited imagination which is especially beneficial when it comes to understanding different views and developing ideas in the real world.
After all, you are immersed in a world where the author has given you the material, and you are piecing everything together. The entire activity of reading is you engaging in the creative process.
And creativity is a catalyst for success! After all, great ideas stem from some from using your imagination to explore the unprecedented.
5: Improves Concentration
Reading is an activity that requires focus. It’s undeniably difficult to read if you are distracted by other things like what you are going to eat for lunch.
In doing so, you’ll find yourself skimming over words but not really retaining what you are reading.
So, to read you need to solely be focused on what is on the page so you can truly delve into the story.
If you are someone who reads a lot, you are more likely to have an increased attention span and improved concentration compared to someone who doesn’t spend time focusing on one thing for extended periods of time.
Believe it or not, even reading for just 30 minutes per day can lead to you being better focused! This is because you are practicing how to tune out the distractions that are occurring around you and just focus on the task of reading.
This is significant as being able to concentrate on your work will allow you to accomplish your goals more effectively as you will not be thrown off guard by every little distraction that may come your way.
Ultimately, you will be equipped with the skills to stay on task for longer periods of time as you have been indirectly executing this through reading.
6: Expands Your Knowledge (And Develops Problem Solving Skills!)
Reading is a great way to acquire knowledge. With a variety of genres and stories to choose from, you are bound to learn something new.
A common misconception is that only non-fiction, that is, stories based on true events and facts, can accomplish this.
While reading true and real events does increase your understanding of the world around you, you can also learn and discover interesting and useful information in fiction books as well.
Fiction books present problems and beneficial information that only strengthens your knowledge and interpretation of the real world.
What you read remains a part of you, therefore building a foundation of learned scenarios, facts, problems and feelings that have been articulated in a novel and are actually applicable and relevant in today’s world.
Reading fiction and non-fiction novels also hones in on your problem solving skills! By reading the problems the main character may be facing in these novels, we end up interpreting what we would do in their situation and from predictions as we read what will happen next.
Most often, in reading a novel with a substantial amount of issues presented, we formulate our own ideas to solve the problem as if we were in the situation ourselves.
By immersing yourself in the novel, you are not only absorbing the plights, emotions, and faults or whatever is occurring in the book (expanding your awareness!) but you are also developing problem solving skills by trying to decipher what will happen next and how to resolve the issue being presented.
This is critical for success as you will naturally be faced with issues to tackle in real life. Being engaged in your reading encourages you to ask questions, view different perspectives and piece information together which are all strong analytical skills!
Knowing how to approach and handle a real life situation may just be a little bit more tolerable after you have been exposed to decision making through literature.
7: Decreases Stress Levels
Ever heard of the phrase “lose yourself in a book”? The idea of immersing yourself in a book to the point where you have escaped the stress of reality is a real and beneficial thing!
Reading is actually linked to slower heart rates, less tension in your muscles and lowered stress hormones! It looks like getting lost in a book is a powerful tool to ensure relaxation, away from the hustle and chaos that surrounds us in everyday life.
Although this is all great, you may be wondering how exactly this is central to success. Well, we all face some form of stress every now and then whether it is due to our career, personal problems or uncontrollable situations… the list goes on.
Instead of interpreting it as a permanent aspect of our lives and accepting our anxieties as they come, it is crucial that we find a way to manage it! Every successful individual needs a break and a moment to breathe.
Merely accepting these stresses will only cause health problems and issues like headaches, depression, anxiety and more.
On the flip side, finding a solution such as reading will decrease stress levels and make you more successful as you are acknowledging and tackling your stress instead of letting it get the best of you. Knowing how to cope with your stress is key!
So, when you need an escape from the burden of having to do a major presentation or test, just pick up a book and allow yourself to sink into that story and escape from the tension you are experiencing.
There is no activity quite like reading which allows such an escape and such a quick calming. Plus, studies have shown that when compared to listening to music and going for a walk, reading was the best option for relaxation!
8: Encourages Empathy
Yes, you read that right! There is a strong relationship between reading and compassion. Those who are avid readers are better at inferring and understanding other people’s thoughts and emotions.
This is because as you read, you actively perceive the intentions, actions, and words of characters in order to follow the story.
So, those who read are more aware of the complexity of human behaviour as it is presented and conveyed through fiction and non-fiction texts.
In addition, reading about the plights of people in a novel (either imagined or real) exposes the reader to what is possibly occurring in the real world rather than leaving them in the dark.
This is linked to success as the ability to decipher, understand, and appreciate the feelings of others is pivotal in order to achieve true success.
After all, ignoring the opinions and feelings of those around you and placing other people at a disadvantage in the workplace does put you on the path to success.
You need to be able to acknowledge how your actions can impact people have empathy to recognize when wrong is being done, even if it is to the benefit of your career or company. Ignorance is a flaw that readers tend to avoid!
It’s Time to Get Reading!
Hopefully, it is now clear that reading does more than just provide a story for people to enjoy. Ultimately, it yields indirect but powerful rewards, solidifying its connection to success.
It is crucial that we emphasize the importance of reading so that people can recognize the value it possesses!
Remember, it’s never too late to start acquiring these skills! So pick up a book and get reading. (By reading this article you are almost there!)
As always, feel free to share your opinions and thoughts in the comments below! Happy reading everyone!