Why Reading Is the Key to Opportunities
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Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. —Vera Nazarian
You have what it takes. You have the potential. Your dreams are real and your life is for living. So, what holds you back? Is it fear? Is it past experiences? Is it what people have told you? Now before you think I am just talking about becoming a highly successful business magnate, let me be clear – this message is about what each one of us can do to realize our potential. It is for all of us. It is for those who have dreams of raising a great family, for those who want to start the business of their dreams, for those who want to get the education they didn’t finish get when they were younger and for those want to make changes in their lives. It is for everyone.
In our society (schools and workplaces), people are measured according to their potential (what they think a person can do based on present performance). It is an unfortunate categorization because the reality is that everyone has potential. It is not just for the select go-getters. It is also unfortunate that many people do not realize the potential that is inside of them. We will always have potential and always more room for improvement. Unlocking our potential may be just a book away.
Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything. —Tomie dePaola
We Were Born to Live, We Were Born to Be Free
Frederick Douglas, a former slave who was deprived of education until his mid-teens, understood potential by the very fact that he was deprived of the opportunity to develop it as a child. On freedom, and education he said:
I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do what I wanted.
Feedom is a road seldom travelled by the multitude.
Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.”
Frederik Douglass’s story is inspiring. He was only first given the opportunity to read in his teens and then the whole world opened up to him. Reading took him out of slavery and into freedom. Through reading, he was able to realize and develop his potential and make an impact around him.
Reading is the single most important thing we can do to get where we want to g and be who we want to be. It is key to having a satisfying career, to having healthy relationships, to being financially secure and even financially free. Reading brings freedom in all areas of our life.
But what do we think of about reading in general? Here are common responses:
- It is just entertainment
- It is for passing the time
- It is boring (and sometimes hard)
- It is hard to concentrate
These are very typical thoughts about reading. And the statistics on reading are quite telling. The following are American Statistics, but they are probably similar elsewhere:
- 56% of youth read 10 or more books a year.
- 50% of American adults can not read a book written at an 8th-grade level
- 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a minimum wage.
- 6/10 households do not buy a single book in an entire year.
- 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems.
Wow!! Those statistics are shocking! All that potential never allowed to blossom because of lack of reading skills, lack of opportunity to read or disinterest in reading.
It is books that are the key to the wide world; if you can’t do anything else, read all that you can. —Jane Hamilton
Reading Is the Door to Freedom
Frederik Douglass knew first hand the enormous power of ignorance to put wealth into the hands of those who dominate the ignorant. He knew that true freedom starts with an educated and fertile mind and the ability to think critically.
Frederik Douglass was a slave with no access to knowledge or education. Like his fellow slaves, he did not know how much of a slave he was until he learned this through reading. Ignorance brings slavery. Education is the great equalizer; it can transform poverty and change the trajectory of our lives.
For Frederick Douglass, the difference between freedom and slavery was literacy. Because he learned to read, his eyes were opened and he was able to see the reality of slavery and ultimately work with people to fight against it to help free the people.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. —Richard Steele
We Need to Be Teachable
There is a saying that goes like this: when the student is ready the teacher will appear. It is all a matter of desire and attitude. If we do not value the learning possibilities from reading (or find it boring and difficult), we are not ready to benefit from the wealth of knowledge, which can dramatically change our lives, found within the pages.
No teacher (or book) can teach a disinterested student anything. No one who does not read can benefit from the potential found in the pages of a book. And, as we saw from the statistics, there is a direct correlation between reading and money earning potential and living standards.
Attitude is everything and will determine our life path. Our attitude toward reading will make the reading experience pleasant and profitable or it will turn it into a necessary chore. And it is a learned skill. We learn to have a good attitude; we have to choose it and work at it. We may think that reading is: boring, just for entertainment, or just a time filler, but, as long as we hold on to these attitudes toward reading we are, essentially, holding ourselves back from a lot of opportunities to grow and see our lives become transformed.
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. —Mark Twain
Reading Children Need Reading Role Models
Many people view education as a period of life when we go to school and then when that period is done, they stop pursuing education. Many, many adults have never read a book after graduating from high school or college. In fact, only 30% of adults have read an entire book since graduating. It is this view of education that is part of the problem. Not only that, our children see right through us. They hear from us that they should learn to read, but they observe parents who don’t ever read.
Now before you get to thinking it is the parent’s fault for not reading, please know that I understand the difficulties. We no longer live in the world the Frederik Douglass lived in. There is so much competition for our children’s attention. Raising children to be avid readings is a huge challenge, but not one that is insurmountable. It really comes down to the priorities we set and our determination to help children become lifelong learners.
Reading is a pleasure and a treasure. Opening books to read is like paying yourself in future currency. It is like already planning for the things you will one day do. Opening up books is preparation for having healthy relationships, career opportunities and travel opportunities. There is so much potential found inside the pages of inspiring and transformational books. I hope you have been inspired to take on the challenge of reading books for life.
Have a great day!
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca