Rediscovering Reading: Achieving with Minimal Cost - TechNode#
Prepare a vivid reason for reading ⤴️ ^bf6ea5f1
An accessible reading environment ⤴️ ^9a43933a
A good reason should be directly related to your reading process or results, with personal characteristics, specific and vivid. ⤴️ ^bc3f57ff
This is important, just as important as the goal itself, as it is easy to give up without it.
We are always afraid of finishing a book without any gain and worry about whether there are better choices, but these are not important. ⤴️ ^31208547
Don't always expect to gain something from reading, or not gain anything, or even waste some time. Isn't that okay?
It is best not to challenge "difficult books" at the beginning. ⤴️ ^ed290d72
I deeply understand this.
So first of all, we need to understand that we cannot gain reading time without giving up anything. ⤴️ ^1bf6e9b2
Essentially, all hobbies are a competition for our time, and we must give up something to make time for them. Fortunately, I have many things that occupy my time but have no meaning or joy that I can give up.
Haruki Murakami mentioned in "Strange Bird in Chronicles of Bird Watching":
For them, novels are something they read when they were young, like picking strawberries in spring and harvesting grapes in autumn.
Embarrassingly, I was one of "them" until last year. Although I didn't have the prejudice that I shouldn't read books, I wasn't an enthusiast who believed that "I must read." I just happened to add one or two books to my collection whenever I happened to visit a bookstore, but these books always ended up sleeping on the bookshelf. Last year, I joined a book club initiated by friends, and I started reading. From the routine of reading one book a month to now maintaining a pace of reading 8 books a month, it is easier to rediscover reading than you think.
This article mainly introduces three simple steps to rediscover reading, because I believe that the minimum cost is the most reasonable for the starting point. Although it is based on experience, I hope it can help you overcome reading misconceptions and enter the path of reading with ease.
- ==Prepare a vivid reason for reading==
- Choose books without bias
- ==Create an accessible reading environment==
You Need a Reason to Start Reading#
Each of us has a long history of reading, from children's enlightenment books to various textbooks and world classics, but it seems that we are always required to read, rather than out of a genuine desire from the heart. Therefore, when the student era comes to an end, reading becomes like "strawberries in spring," out of season. But as long as you find a valid reason, you can start reading at any time.
Contrary to expectations, the reason for reading does not need to be an ambitious personal goal, and it can even be "unrelated to serious matters." It just needs to meet one condition: it allows you to start reading as quickly as possible. You may be accustomed to finding a legitimate reason for reading, such as:
Become a person who is good at reading like those successful people.
This seems flawless, but it is too broad, which requires you to put in more effort to refine it. First of all, what does it mean to be "good at reading" like those successful people? Secondly, in order to eventually achieve this, how should you arrange your reading activities, what books should you read, and how many books should you read? Once you set this reason, various questions will arise, and even become obstacles to starting reading.
The worst part is that this is not even a reason, but just a goal. Goals can give us the determination to take action in many cases, but they require strong will as support. Many times, when the enthusiasm fades and exhaustion surrounds you like rising tides, the goal becomes dim.
Here, I suggest finding a reason instead of a goal. A reason is a standard answer to why you start reading, and it will not become vague due to confusion, and it generates motivation from itself. ==A good reason should be directly related to your reading process or results==, with personal characteristics, specific and vivid.
You can read a biography to understand a person, you can open a book just to enrich your afternoon tea time, or you can decide to read a book because of its exquisite design... The important thing is that this is an interest that comes from the heart, strong and clear.
In short, please don't miss any traces that may arouse your interest, and start with a reason to read.
Choose Books Without Bias#
When we truly decide to start reading, we often suddenly find that there are so many books to choose from, to the point where choosing a book becomes a problem. ==We are always afraid of finishing a book without any gain and worry about whether there are better choices, but these are not important.== As long as it is a book that you genuinely want to read, a book that interests you, it is the most suitable book for you, because it has at least the quality to make you start reading. As for those more valuable books, they can be left for the next reading.
When choosing books, we tend to choose those well-known highly-rated books because we hope that the time invested in reading is valuable, which is understandable. However, it is best not to challenge "difficult books" at the beginning, such as lengthy novels, ancient classics that require annotations, stream-of-consciousness novels with strong literary qualities, and professional books that require repeated understanding. These books are not unworthy of reading, but they require a lot of reading enthusiasm or rely on knowledge background and professional literacy, which is fatal for developing reading habits just starting out. So even if these books can give you a sense of "self-improvement in progress," don't indulge in them, save them for the next stage of challenge.
Create an Accessible Reading Environment#
Now, after the previous two steps, you have found a suitable book and have the desire to finish reading it. The next thing to do is to create more opportunities to achieve this goal - in other words, to create an accessible reading environment.
A stable reading environment should include at least three factors:
- Time - Transform as much time as possible, or at least leave some time.
- Space - Create a suitable environment or resist temptations.
- Convenience and comfort - Reduce resistance to starting.
Among these three factors, time is the first problem we need to solve, after all, we cannot start or continue reading without time for reading. But in fact, each of us has a lot of time, it's just that we haven't chosen to allocate time to reading activities. From my personal experience, one is because I feel that reading is not so important and prioritized, and the other is that I actually lack the ability to manage time.
Regarding the second point, in fact, all the time each person has spent in the past has been filled, so when we decide to "cultivate a reading habit starting today," there is no "new time" that appears out of thin air. We are just choosing to reallocate time. So first of all, we need to understand that we cannot gain reading time without giving up anything.
I propose the following two solutions for your reference:
- Set dedicated reading time and environment
- Make use of fragmented time
01. Dedicated Reading Time#
Set dedicated time for reading, for example, during a fixed time slot every week, only read without doing anything else. When you suddenly hear this suggestion, you may feel that it is a bit extravagant. But think about it, regardless of whether you use the so-called "dedicated reading time," the time you spend finishing a book is always the same. The advantage of setting a dedicated time slot is that when you set this time slot, you have already established clear trigger conditions for reading and incorporated it into your daily plan. This not only means that you will consciously set aside that time for reading, but also that you will make some choices in order to carry out this task and prepare for reading in advance. In addition, reading during the scheduled time allows you to create a perfect undisturbed reading environment, and a fixed time is conducive to cultivating habits.
02. Fragmented Time#
Fragmented time always troubles us because these times are short, scattered, and often accompanied by unstable spaces. In fact, we cannot fully utilize all fragmented time in an ideal state. The best we can do is to find appropriate uses for some of the time. Using fragmented time for reading seems to be a win-win situation, but it is quite difficult to execute, mainly due to external interference and the inability to resist temptations. External interference often includes noisy environments, distracting prompts, and events that affect emotions - which test our ability to adjust our state and maintain focus. Temptations are everywhere, just by simply opening a social media app or staring into space - resisting temptation requires willpower.
Emotional management, attention control, and willpower training are not skills that can be developed overnight, and the environment of fragmented time is both bad and difficult to change. Therefore, I suggest starting with "convenience" and "comfort."
Reduce the cost of reading in fragmented time, so that you can start reading with the fewest steps. On the one hand, choosing a book should never be considered during fragmented time because starting to read directly is easier than choosing a book. On the other hand, it makes sense to make the action of opening a book as simple as opening a mobile app. For example, make it easy to take out and put back the paperback book you carry, pre-download e-books from recommended book lists, etc., because this is the only way to overcome established habits of wasting time.
In fragmented time, everything is arranged for the worst - at least for reading. Therefore, make your reading experience as comfortable as possible. It can be deliberately choosing books that you are more interested in, using an elegant e-book reader, or buying pocket-sized editions that are easy to carry... The key is to give yourself a hint that using fragmented time for reading is not all about hardship, but at least has some enjoyment. Don't underestimate the slight increase in comfort, one day it will be an important reason that can influence whether you continue reading.
- A reason to start reading, a suitable book, and a reading environment are the preparations you need to start reading, and they are all the preparations you need.
- There is still much to learn about reading, such as how to read continuously, how to overcome the habit of getting sleepy when reading, how valuable reading is, and how to improve reading speed, but for now, we just need to "start reading."
- Finally, I wish you all can seize your own little boat in the vast sea of books and then sail away, never getting off the boat.