Last week, we talked about three key skills for the delivery of purpose. My good friend and co-worker, Adetola Oyegbile raised the issue of reading in his comment on that post and I think it is necessary to actually talk about it this week.
It has been said that if you want to hide anything from a black man, put it in a book. I am uncertain of the source of that quote but I am certain that the apathy for books is no longer a matter of the black (or any) race.
The decline in the popularity of reading as a discipline is not only universal, it appears to be peculiar to this generation. Mitchell Stephens writing for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, declared that ironically but not coincidentally, reading has begun to fade from our culture at the very moment that its importance to that culture is finally being established. He compares this decline to the fall of communism and states that there is the prophecy that the downturn in reading could result in the modern world’s cultural and political decline. Neil Postman laments in his book, “Amusing ourselves to Death”, that “a mode of thinking is being lost!”
Some people especially “those whose livelihood depends on our reading” have argued that the lamentations about the decline in the reading culture is largely exaggerated. Publishers continue to churn out more and more of books but the question still remains whether or not these books are being read. My concern in this piece is not with whether or not there is a decline in reading among people. I want to share with you three reasons why I believe reading is of great importance to your pursuit of purpose. I hope you’ll be spurred to make reading, maybe not a hobby, but a habit. Ray Bradbury once remarked that you don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. You only have to get people to stop reading them. I believe if I can get you to read more, you can be more empowered to deliver to your generation the limitless potentials buried inside you!
1. Knowledge is critical to your pursuit.
Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts. Prov. 24:3-4 TLB
Enthusiasm without knowledge is not good; impatience will get you into trouble. Prov 19:2 TEV
The profitability of your pursuit of purpose has a lot to do with your keeping abreast of facts and information. Passion and enthusiasm are good stuffs, but you are empty without knowledge. Reading offers you this priceless but valuable access to knowledge. David Bailey says the best advice he got was “that knowledge is power and to keep reading.” There are few things the Scriptures ask us to store. Knowledge is one of such. We are even to buy the truth and sell it not!
2. You have the responsibility to renew your mind.
Your mind is very important for the pursuit of your purpose. But it does not feed itself. You have the responsibility to guard your mind from garbage.
“A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” Prov. 15:4
The quality of your mind is dependent on what you feed on. This in turn affects the quality of what you deliver to your generation. You have to learn to intentionally read in order to feed your mind with things that are not junks. Zig Ziglar writes: “You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”- Joseph Addison.
3. You don’t know it all.
Former American basketball coach John Wooden once said that the greatest obstacle to growth is not ignorance but knowledge. Doing purpose effectively requires you to be a continual learner. You’ll never get to the point you don’t need to learn from others. Reading offers you access to the wealth of knowledge of other people within and beyond your field of interest. Through the habit of reading, you not only acquire knowledge to replace what you may have forgotten or what’s out of date, you also get to build on what you learnt yesterday.
Understanding the importance of knowledge, the necessity to renew my mind and my duty to never let up on knowledge are three things that have helped me build a habit of reading. While not all of us would boast of reading as a hobby, we can all get to make it a habit, if not for anything, for the impact we long to make.
I want to hear from you. Do you agree that that despite its necessity, the habit of reading is on the decline in our time? Why do you read? What obstacles have kept you from reading? Just drop a comment!
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