Posted By Aaron Marcelli on July 23, 2012
I read a lot of books. Now that I’m back in school I read even more.
Part of my healthy reading habit comes from a desire to learn new things, get fresh perspectives, and understand other philosophies. I realized lately that my desire to read went up a gear. I wanted to read even more books on even more subjects. My Amazon wish list exploded and my bookshelves began to overflow as anytime someone recommended a book, I would tag or buy it.
My previous motivations for reading had somehow slipped to a belief that reading all the bestselling books would somehow make me a better person. I subconsciously thought that more reading would lead to more information and that more information promised me a better life. I noticed when I was becoming frustrated I wanted to turn to reading. But as my thoughts went toward reading they did so with a pressure of duty. I had to step back and realize that somehow I had come to assume simply reading would provide me with a better marriage, a better job, a higher salary, or whatever else my dream life would involve.
While reading does provide the potential for us to gain more information, that information does not guarantee us we will really be any smarter, stronger, happier, wealthier, better at conversation, advanced in business, etc. Just because I read about a topic does not mean I will overnight become knowledgeable, accurate, or qualified in that area.
The main reason for my frustration was my working through books like a checklist; finishing one only to immediately start the next. None of the books, or content in them, was ever making it off the page.
What I do now is keep a notebook. Every time I finish a book I write the book’s title in the notebook and then below I enter the big takeaways from the book and what one or two things I will directly do or change as a result of reading the book. Reading does not change our lives. But actions can change our habits. So rather than reach for a book on relationships and believe that finishing it makes me a better husband, I now read the book and then write what I’m going to start doing differently based on my reading.
This simple step has relieved my stress and expectations regarding reading. Simply making a few action points based off each book, I am moving myself from the world of information, to application for the purpose of transformation (I know, deep!).
What do you do after you read a book to apply what you read?