Reading books is important for various reasons and you’ve heard most successful people speak about its importance, but one question that may have ran across your mind is “what actually happens when we stop reading?” can it get bad? Will see these effects in my life? Well the questions are certainly endless and this is the reason why I wrote this article because there have been moments in my life where I’ve gone a long time without reading.
With that said, what happens if you stop reading?
The short answer is nothing happens when you don’t read books.
If you stop reading books you stay the same, wielding the knowledge you have acquired from reading books in the past. Depending on how good your memory is, you may or may not recall what you’ve read. All in all you move on and rely on the information that you get from the world in front of you.
Of course there are some consequences of not reading books and I’ll get into some of these so you get an idea of what typically happens when people don’t read or stop reading.
Consequences of not reading
Reading books helps us understand human nature and psychology better; this makes our relations with other human beings more intentional and more meaningful. This increases our level of empathy. One of the significant downsides of not reading is that people tend to lose a certain level of empathy. This doesn’t mean you all of a sudden stop caring about people; it simply means you lose a small sense of empathy and relating with others.
Reading books builds our imaginative abilities because we are forced to turn words into mental images. It doesn’t end at that, we form mental images and assign events to them to form logical conclusions. When you stop reading books, you lose a certain part of your imaginative abilities and this could impact your creativity. Of course people don’t rely on books for every form of creativity but reading certainly helps and can be a way to introduce some logical clarity to the mind.
Reading books advances us in more ways than one and it’s really hard to notice this for ourselves. But others can easily pick up on it. Perception is how you view the world and how you interpret it. Your perception is shaped by everything around you and reading books is one way in which your perspective can be reshaped.
If you therefore don’t read or choose to stop reading books, you simply choose to stick with your perspective without allowing yourself the chance to fundamentally change or shift the way you look at things.
You disconnect from the vast intelligence of others.
You miss out on a lot
If you don’t read books you miss out on a wealth of information that can potentially improve you. Each and every field or niche out there has books written about it. For a person looking to advance this is important and vital.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to pursue your natural curiosities by reading about them.
Loss of problem solving skills
Reading books calls upon our imaginative abilities whilst also calling upon our skills of arrangement, categorizing, organizing and assessing information. These skills are what you miss out on if you stop reading books.
Focus can become difficult
Reading and writing are considered two of the best ways in which we channel our focus. In a world of vast technology and a distraction every 10 seconds, reading books can help us learn how to focus and get things done.
A lack of focus is usually a result of untrained mental focus. For those that don’t read, focus can sometimes be a challenge.
If you want to know how true this is, get any book and try reading it for 20 minutes straight without doing anything else.
For some, this little exercise will prove difficult for some it will be easy. For those of you who find it difficult to stay focused for 20 minutes, keep trying to read without breaking for 20 minute slots and by the end of the week you’ll notice an improvement in your ability to focus.
Stopping to read a particular book
I know what some of you may be thinking. Is it okay to stop reading a book?
Well, the answer is yes, it is okay to stop reading a book If you’re not enjoying or getting what you want out of it, however it’s wise to give a book a fair chance which usually means reading at least 50 pages of it before tossing it away. Or, reading enough to know what the book is about before you decide to put it off and jump to the next.
Also, if a book affects you negatively or simply feels like a waste of time then you have every right to stop reading it. Some books, in the way they’re written can negatively impact some people mentally and for such people it’s okay not to continue reading such books.
Sometimes you know exactly the information you’re looking for in which case you might want to stop reading any book that doesn’t offer that information or doesn’t offer it in the way you need it to be offered.
An alternative is to skip to the parts you’re interested in without being confined to read the whole thing. Most people are of the idea that books have to be read from start to finish but this is only true in some cases and not all.
It’s okay to put down a book which you feel needs to be read at the right time and the right environment because some books demand more effort from the reader than others.
Some of you may be wondering whether stopping to read books can result in loss of reading ability, so let’s get into that;
It is highly unlikely that you would lose your ability to read just because you stopped reading the reason for this is simple; we may not read books everyday but we read every day e.g. social media, we hear language when we watch movies, listen to music etc. we are constantly exposed to words every day.
So, unless it’s a foreign language that you haven’t read or practiced in a long time or suffer from conditions like ADHD, Dyslexia, Memory deficit conditions or any other conditions that would make it hard to recall words etc. It is unlikely that you’ll lose your ability to read just because stopped reading books.
Why you should not stop reading
Let’s get into why you should never stop reading:
We learn history
Reading books allows us to learn from history so we can make better judgement and avoid repeating bad history. There are many other benefits of knowing history that impacts our daily lives and this is one of the reasons why we should never stop reading books.
It’s okay not to read vehemently. Just read books consistently.
Reading is exercise for the mind and like I earlier mentioned, it helps us learn how to imagine and analyze information which is necessary in building our problem solving abilities.
Understanding human nature
Reading books allows us to get into the mind of the author so we come to terms with them. This gives us a general idea and an inside look into human nature. This improves our understanding of human nature.
Reading also helps us our preserve our memory and call upon it in situations that require it. When we read books; our brains organize information and recall it so we can connect what we read to what is being read at the moment i.e. when we read the introduction to a book we have to remember it in order to connect it with the following chapters of the book.
Reading books also improves our confidence which is important for our self-esteem.