“In an age where information is readily available for us to digest, whether it’s through the time we spend on social media or our consumption of news online, we sometimes forget about the importance of reading a good book.
Today, for example, we seem to be setting less time aside for reading and allocating more towards binge-watching our favourite Netflix programs. As much as watching TV is pretty great, reading is still an incredibly invaluable activity – and one that can help you improve on a number of different skill-sets.
Here are some ways that reading can help you in your career:
Reading makes you smarter
If you read more, you’re gleaning more insight. That has never, nor will it ever, be a problem.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face. No matter what you want to do for work, or what you want to eventually become, you can’t do it without more knowledge. It doesn’t necessarily have to select a specific genre – whether you prefer business, biographies, humour or history, you may pick something up that helps you down the line.
Expands your vocabulary
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and hopefully these words will make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken will help you in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to your colleagues with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem.
Those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often).
If English is your second-language, reading books will certainly help you in your quest to perfect the English tongue. You will gain exposure to words used in context, which will help with your own speaking and writing fluency.
Improves your writing skills
If you work in a job that requires you to write a good amount, reading more can certainly help you in this regard.
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing. Being able to observe the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will undoubtedly influence your own work.
In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
It can reduce stress levels
No matter how much stress you have at work or in life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
According to a study from the University of Sussex, it was revealed that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea. This is because your mind is invited into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily life.
Enhances analytical skills
Reading can really force you to put your thinking cap on. It can sometimes be one giant exercise in deductive reasoning– specifically if you’re reading a mystery novel. You are constantly taking mental notes of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine who the killer really is.
That same ability to analyze details also comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot of the book as well – trying to determine whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.
It’s this type of critical thinking that will lend itself well to any task that requires even the smallest amount of problem solving in the workplace.”
By Eric McLean