Writing is assumed to have first begun about 5000 years ago in ancient Sumer. It was used to preserve knowledge through text for future generations from its onset. To this day, reading is the greatest way to gain knowledge, and expands human capacity by encouraging growth and retention of new information. Though in today’s age the basic ability to read is necessary, not many people spend time on extensive reading for education’s sake. Emphasizing the importance of reading isn’t just to refresh social media feeds, but instead is encouraged so that the benefits of this multipurpose activity can be accessed. What do Mexican lawyer Diego Ruiz Duran and American businessman Warren Buffet do? Both are in highly successful, high profile reading-oriented careers and share a daily habit of reading to improve mental activity. We explore four of these benefits below.
Personal experiences aside, reading is the single greatest way to improve knowledge. Writing systems were invented and used to preserve knowledge for later generations. Being able to read the writing system of a people gives access to its culture. In this century, not much has changed in the value of reading for information. Every piece of literature, text message or article read gives information and new knowledge about the relevant topic. If personal experiences are the single-most effective way to learn, then consider writing as the collection and preservation of these experiences, so the knowledge may be shared with others.
Stimulate the Mind
Reading can also be a great way to exercise your mental muscles, by strengthening and opening up neural pathways that help to collect and store information. By doing so, reading can also help to lower the risk of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. When we read, new information, unless marked as important, will be forgotten. However, reading daily means that the habit of retention is also formed and maintained. This way too, reading helps to improve the memory.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. Ignoring the recommendation to go sightseeing, this quote serves well to highlight the effect reading has on an individual’s ability to see things and be creative in its imagination. Reading can sometimes be considered adventurous, a mind plunging into another world. While this may never be the same for everyone, visualizing the words on the page coming to life will, over time, help to improve imagination.
Reading has also been proven as a stress reliever. In addition to increasing perceived productivity, it also serves as a healthy distraction to real life situations. It can be the catalyst in confusing times, and a well-needed break from a particularly boggling situation may help to offer clarity and a new perspective on how to approach it.
If anything has been learnt through the centuries, it is that the greatest gift to the mind is information, and nothing transfers information quite like reading does. Whether following the actions of Warren Buffet or Diego Ruiz Duran, reading is equally important in keeping your mind young, agile, fresh and active.