Here’s a disturbing statistic: 42% of people haven’t read a book since college.
It’s easy to see why. Schools have a bad habit of turning reading into a chore. It becomes a hoop you have to jump through to graduate.
Those who try to pick up reading after school often run into roadblocks. They find themselves starting a book, fizzling out with it, and then feel too paralyzed to start the next one without finishing the first.
If you want to read more, you may stumble upon specific tips such as getting a Kindle or listening to audio books. These are shown to help, but they don’t tackle the essential issue. There’s a philosophical problem going on. You have to adopt a certain mindset.
Here’s my advice for reading more: Learn to read selfishly.
Reading doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be a self-serving activity. Read for you first and foremost. Make sure it aligns with your goals.
Consider the types of books you read. Are you reading the classics with the ancient language because you think that’s what will make you seem smart? Instead, pick the books that truly give you value. Pick the ones that you want to read. Pick the books that align with your goals.
Don’t get caught in thinking that you must finish a book before moving on to the next. If your goal is to read more and enjoy it, then it’s okay to not finish every single book. If your interest in a book starts to wane, ask yourself, “is this book still serving me?” If the answer is “no,” then move on.
The more you pursue books that bring you joy, the more you will read. Reading will become both a leisure activity and a productive habit. Reading will no longer be an anxiety-inducing chore that you put off. You won’t need a teacher checking in every week to keep you on track. You’ll ignite (or re-ignite) a love of reading that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.