Being a late 90’s child myself, television, comics, video games, and new toys were ever present in my childhood and my teenage years. I still have my old comics, and many of my old video games. (I even still have my old PlayStation 1 along with several other consoles)
I was part of the Lego Club for many years and was ecstatic when a new member’s magazine would come, especially when it had a new comic, like the Lego Bionicle series.
I have been slowly passing down my toys and other items to my younger siblings out of a desire for them to be enjoyed, and not destroyed by hands ignorant of the value they hold.
Some of them don’t understand what it means to “play” and “destroy” yet.
I would say for the most part I had a very supportive and loving childhood, and was given the opportunity to excel when I wanted to; not forced to engage in higher learning beyond school.
What I mean by that, is that our schooling was required (obviously), but reading and learning outside of school was not a requirement. (With the exception of a few specific books)
My parents were strong advocates that financial freedom is important, and encouraged me and my siblings to pursue education on the subject at a young age.
Such education would later become part of our home school class, but it was studied with the understanding that learning about it was not a State education requirement.
I feel that this was appropriate, considering the age I grew up in and the age many find themselves brought up in today. Knowing that it was my choice to expand my learning beyond that of a standard curriculum really laid a foundation for the love of learning I now have, and didn’t suppress my want to play in my youth.
Today, most are not avid readers, the standard speed of reading has gone down tremendously along with most people’s comprehension , virtual reality has never looked more appealing and real; our desire to grow and mature has been replaced with a desire to play and be “forever young”.
This article is not a bashing of the current age we are in, on the contrary, I enjoy the amenities that we have and think them fantastic, but I think we need to draw a line somewhere. At what time in our lives are we going to start learning and growing?
Rather than solely talk about what is wrong with the world and society we live in, I will be presenting why I believe that “the power of a book” in general today to be the key to revival intellectually, spiritually, and in maturity.
Let’s get right into this…
What Is A Book?
If you have read some of my other posts, this question and my opinion on this subject shouldn’t be of much surprise, though I find this question rather amusing.
(I grew up with the Merriam Webster’s original, and I find it to be far superior to some newer dictionaries out there, with the exception of some newer words that have found their way into the English vocabulary)
To better set the stage, here is a standard definition of a “book”:
The following definition however, stands out the most for me:
What I like here, is that the very definition of a book, was that of two primary associations:
- A book is a bound set of pages with varying composition and use of binding.
- It is something that yields or produces knowledge
This is the point I wanted to make. If I am to grow, I need to start seeing books differently.
Reading Vs. Growing
“But, Jacob, I’m not illiterate, I read all the time!”
Ah, but don’t we all?
Truth is, we really do read all the time! I read when I cook, following a recipe, I read when I drive, I read when I look up something on the internet, I read when I open my computer or go on social media.
If you think about it, we are reading constantly! Reading has become expected in modern day life, no longer simply a form of communication, but a way of living.
Without a way to discern information, we would live in chaos! A stop sign wouldn’t communicate imminent danger ahead if we didn’t read.
There would be no school or books, far more illiteracy, and communication would be all but non-existent.
My point being, that everyone is a reader. You are a reader. I am a reader, we are always reading.
But I would go so far as to say that we don’t all read the same way. In fact, I believe there is such a difference in the way we read, that for those who read to better themselves, such actions should be labeled as “growing” by today’s standards.
There is a difference between reading something and expanding one’s comprehension of a subject.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
― Oscar Wilde
So we see that a person’s character can be directly linked to his reading habits. (Or lack of them, for that matter)
I need to read valuable information with purpose! I need to focus my attention on information that is going to help me grow and expand my ability to mature in life.
Like a fruit, we want it ripe and in season, and this is very much how we want our own character to be. In season, ripe with knowledge, mature, and well grown. What am I reading? Am I reading?
Doing What Others Won’t
So we are all readers, great, but we don’t all read the same way. Oscar Wilde said it well, it’s not the act of reading, it’s “what you read”.
Most people don’t read books about financial success. Most people read the Bible out of obligation, and not out of a desire to grow.
I would also say that most go to school to please their parent’s or to just “get it over with”, rather than approach school with the desire to expand their knowledge.
This was true for me on most cases, and I regret that I didn’t take greater advantage of the time given to me, to learn.
If my attitude to learning is that of a slacker’s mindset or of a lazy nature, why am I then surprised that I am no different after school and am given far more freedom to do what I want?
Sorry guys, I work a full-time job and I can still find time to watch TV, play Video Games, and do what I want. If we believe that we have no free time, we are kidding ourselves.
Rather than gratify our immediate desires for pleasure and play, we need to do start doing what others are not willing to do… Grow.
Knowledge Grows… Wisdom Shapes Us
There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. One can be very knowledgeable about many things and be extremely immature. I can be very knowledgeable about things that have no real value, and thus it becomes clear where I spend my time “growing”.
I meet people who can quote Star Wars like the back of their hand, but have no concept of winning the rat race, what they should be reading, how to manage credit cards, how to get free of their jobs, or how to start a business.
I am not trying to bash Star Wars fans in any way here, I myself am an avid Star Wars fan, and I too can talk about that galaxy far far away like it’s nobody’s business. But guess what? It is nobody’s business!
Unless I am building a business around a Star Wars niche, that knowledge has not made me wise, and thus my growth is wasted on the non-essentials when that is all I spend my time learning about.
“You Are What You Think”
Not an unheard-of concept, and I would argue this is not a blanket statement; it’s not black and white. However, I think there is a good deal of truth in this!
What we read, meditate on, focus on, watch, listen to, talk about, and believe, all shape our character and who we are.
If I never take the time to learn, and grow in knowledge about important subjects, my character and my conversation will be limited to last night’s football game. #superbowl
I like to end my articles with more than food for thought, I like to grow, and have the tools to do so.
Otherwise, I feel like I just came back home from a seminar and have no idea what I am supposed to do now.
The following steps are excellent ways to stimulate the brain into finding solutions and growing.
Here are some simple steps to start “growing” through books:
- Make a list of subjects that you feel will help you mature and grow. Read books on these subject, start expanding your library. (How to get out of the rat race, how to manage money, how to have a good marriage, how to read faster, how to have a better relationship with God, how to communicate love, etc)
- Begin scheduling times that you will sit down and read those books. (I like to read several books with different subjects, so I schedule 30 min sessions for each book. Sometimes in succession to one another)
- Set reading goals. Are there subjects that you find yourself in constant need of growing? Set goals that indicate when you will read, and how many books you will read.
Many subjects will never stop being new or enlightening. (E.g. Financial freedom, business management, relationships, spiritual growth, etc.)
- Improve your reading. Nothing kills the wonderful act of reading, then reading slowly without good comprehension.
Feel free to email me or comment with any questions and I will get back to as soon as I can!
If you liked the article, please leave a comment below, check out my Book & Product Reviews Here, and be sure to pick up a great source of knowledge. Many of the books I have reviewed and shared have been life changing for me, I believe they will be for you too!
Until next time,