Why I’ve decided to read less (Hint: It’s to learn more)
Last month marked the end of my commitment to read one nonfiction book every two weeks for a year. I made the commitment to myself, there were no consequences for failing or rewards for succeeding. There was simply me and the 26 books I had selected. Now that I’ve finished, I can say it was an incredible year. I learned a lot, but I won’t be doing it again.
Let me start at the beginning. I love reading. I guess you could call me a bookworm. Many, many times during my childhood my mother would yell at me to “get your nose out of that book.” Even today, I can easily read two (or even three) fiction books in a week, but I try to guard my time more carefully nowadays. Last year, I decided I wanted to be more intentional, more purposeful with what I was reading. What were all those hours doing for me? What were they accomplishing? As I started on my journey to thriving intentionally, I decided I could easily be spending much more time learning and improving myself by shifting the types of books I was reading.
I wanted to learn. I wanted to get advice on how to thrive in different areas of my life. The list of books I put together included self-help books, business books, leadership books, relationship books, and biographies. I searched for books by authors I already knew, books recommended by people I respect, and books by people who had been guests on some of my favourite podcasts.
I learned a lot this past year. Having a schedule kept me on track and forced me to be consistent with my reading schedule (even if getting through some of the books was a bit of a slog). Since I would write a blog post about each book after reading them, I couldn’t skim them. I really had to focus on the big ideas, on making sure I received what the author was trying to tell me. The base of knowledge that I established through really taking the time to digest all these books is amazing. But in spite of all that, I won’t be renewing my commitment.
Here’s the thing, I learned a lot. In fact, I learned a ton. But most of it is still in my head, I simply haven’t had the time to apply all these amazing principles and lessons to my everyday life. Head knowledge is great, and it’s a necessary place to start, but I want some of these values and lessons to become part of who I am and how I live.
I will still continue to read this coming year, but I may spend a month with one book. Maybe I’ll spend less with some and more with others. I want to make sure I’m firmly establishing a foundation, that I’ve asked myself the ‘why’ questions, I have a clear sense of where I’m going, and that these incredible lessons I’ve learned have been put into action in my life. Learning about growth is not the same as growing. Knowing what to do is not the same as doing it.
I’ve read, I’ve learned, I’ve absorbed, now it’s time to take action.
If you’re looking to get started with being more intentional with your reading, here are a few of my favourites, they would all be a great place to start.