How To Take Your Reading Beyond The Rainbow
If you’re feeling a little tired of scrolling for The Next Thing to watch, that’s not surprising.
For one, there’s about 30,000 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every hour (and that’s a pre-pandemic estimate that doesn’t count how many people have since then started pet-centric channels).
Or for another, this is a list from March of all the prominent streaming networks available. There’s 12 major players in the US alone, and that’s before getting to the so-called niche players like ESPN (ah, yes, the little-engine-that-could, upstart sports channel).
There’s certainly no shortage of shows to watch or places to watch them.
And we’re so busy working out ways to fit in new content, that it almost feels like we’ve forgotten about...
Back in the olden days before Content, we had PBS. We had the Reading Rainbow, which featured children’s picture books, a theme, and whimsical acts, all tied together by the inimitable LeVar Burton.
And through it, the joy of reading.
(And yes, I recognize the irony of linking to a YouTube video about books after decrying the amount of content on YouTube… it’s a confusing world, and I just live in it.)
Then reading became dull. It became mandatory. It became… educational.
But reading doesn’t have to be that thing you dreaded back in high school. And it doesn’t have to be that thing you do just because a book got turned into a series.
In fact, you might actually like reading.
Why Reading Just Might Be Your New Favorite Piece Of Content
There are plenty of professional and personal reasons to pick up a book again, and we’ll each have our own motivations. Here are just three that could convince you to swap out one more Instagram Reel for a page of an honest-to-goodness paperback.
Writers Read, And We’re All Writers - It’s been said by many writers that to improve, you need to read (a lot). But why should you care if you’re not a professional writer? Because, dear reader, you are a writer. Emails, texts, articles - wherever you’re stringing words together, you’re writing. If you want to justify your reading investment with some professional gains, this is the way.
You’ll Understand People Better - It’s no hack, but putting in the time to immerse yourself in deeper stories can help you develop a “heightened awareness and empathy that leads to greater social perception and emotional intelligence.” Or you can sit on your soggy bottom and watch another episode of the Great British Bake-Off.
- You’ll Improve Your Focus - By treating your reading like a regular habit, you can train yourself to stay focused for longer periods, eventually breaking past four and even five consecutive minutes of attention! Snark aside, reading is proven to build up the connective tissue in the left temporal cortex of the brain, activity that stays heightened for days after reading.
Plus, turning pages has a real visceral satisfaction to it (if you’re not using a tablet, that is), and it’s a habit that can build to some real life accomplishments.
What about you? How do you balance reading with your other forms of media during the day?