The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ― Alvin Toffler
I didn’t grow up in a home where reading leisurely was required or even encouraged.
Reading was only necessary when it was time for exams. It didn’t really matter how or when you read, as long as you never came home with a report card with a hint of red ink. That would be the first of many constant reminders of how miserable you should be or how ungrateful you are. Where I come from, the colour red generally connotes anything bad, evil, clandestine, or outrightly forbidden.
Eventually, I came round to reading one day.
Finishing my very first novel - Daniel Steel’s Kaleidoscope was my Eureka moment (I’ll always love you, Daniel - your words enlightened me). I could happily add reading to my list of favorite things to do, or so I thought.
In time, I realized I grew weary of reading non-fiction. On my side of the globe (and probably everywhere else), these best-sellers were everywhere - the John Maxwells, the Robert Kiyosakis, the Ben Carsons. The fact that you had read these inspirational books gradually became something to gloat over. I quickly formed an opinion about people who read these kinds of books - They had found a way to derive some sort of self-worth from reading them (my prejudiced and mortified opinion.)
I felt like a fraud at some point. I really did love books, or maybe it was just the sight of them. The fact is, I know better now. It was my approach to reading that held me captive. I was a victim of my ignorance, and I have paid dearly for it.
There is so much to learn about reading. From prepping a reading environment to taking notes and making book recommendations. I’ve found out that I had been going about it all wrong and for so long reading for the right reasons but with the wrong approach, and that’s why I never really read many great books.
Photo Credit: Grand Sinder Instagram
I realized I had been limiting myself based on several societal norms and misconceptions about reading). Let’s highlight a few prominent ones, shall we?
But the truth is
“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hopefully, your situation is not as pathetic as mine, and if it is then, maybe we can ride this redemption ship together. With Johnny’s help, I have summarized in my own way some hard truths I intend to tell myself every time I see myself spill back into my old futile ways of reading.
I am taking steady and intentional steps to unlearn unhealthy reading habits and learn new healthy ones. It starts now, and I’m pretty excited about it!