Read for your life

Nov 09, 2016 · 4 min read

One thing is painfully clear. The technology has made information easy to access, and easy to create. This has led to incredible amount of lies being spread around. If an orange guy yells it loud enough, everyone will be sure to hear it. If someone wants you to believe a woman is crooked, all they need to do is to write a couple of articles and spread them around social media. The amount of information and disinformation is incredible. While you can always be fooled by all that disinformation, however smart and educated you are, this doesn't mean you shouldn't try and learn to see the difference.

Read for your life -- Mervi Emilia

I learned to read before I went to school. Not because I'm smart like that, but because I have two older sisters, who wanted to get me off their way. So they taught me to read and write. I spent most of my childhood and youth with my face buried in books. As I grew older, my reading habit declined. Fortunately for me, I had learned to read and learned to read fast.

There's one thing that makes me happy about being a Finn. My first language is Finnish. It's a difficult language, they say. To me it's easy. All the other languages, including this one, are difficult. Finnish language is, besides being difficult, also a rather small language of a small family of languages. Mainly my fellow Finns, who are in global scale very small in numbers, speak Finnish. This has made it important for me to learn other languages. Now, I've let my French and Swedish get rustier than rusty. Yesterday I couldn't remember what's Thursday in French. This is all my fault, there's no other person I can blame for it. However, having started learning it young and honing it in adulthood, I've gotten pretty comfortable with English. I make typos, I don't know all the words, my grammar leaves room for improvement. Still, I consider myself as bilingual person. Multilingualism is said to be beneficial to health, including faster recovery from strokes and delaying the onset of dementia. It has also widened my perspective of world, letting me read more different kinds of books, web articles and more.

In spite of filter bubbles, the ones you've built for yourself as well as the ones that are created by algorithms, you can expand your horizons by reading. Reading books and articles from different countries. Reading books and articles that don't quite rub you in the right way. Reading books and articles about politics, web design, science, filter bubbles and algorithms, religion, writing, productivity, self help, tech, zen life, human rights, social media, reading, nature, feminism, SEO, racism, global warming, marketing and so forth. While you will never agree with them all, it still will expand the way you see the world and the people in it.

Don't only read books and articles about one or two or three subjects. Read about variety of things. Also, try different types of books and other texts, fiction, non-fiction. Several genres. Try something new. Try something old. Don't limit yourself. Expand your mind.

As I mentioned earlier, I read fast. Thus, I find watching videos or listening podcasts is usually somewhat painful. I mean, get to the point already! I read faster, than I watch and listen. Reading is easy for me. It's fast, it's efficient.

While giving you tips about how to read faster would take a bit longer than one blog post I'm writing as a response to an election in a foreign country, I can tell you how you can start a habit of reading more. This is not my own idea, it's something I've heard others doing. You can set your own "rules" for it, but the basic idea is to read every day a set number of pages. Usually it's 20 or 50 pages. My rules for this is that I will read at least 50 pages each day. I may miss a day for a reason or another. When I do, I always make good on my reading resolution and read at least 100 pages the next day. If you are a slower reader, and this feels like a taunting task, set yourself a smaller number of pages to read. So far, I have tried this with fiction. I recommend you to start with fiction too. If you need ideas, go and find yourself a book by Haruki Murakami. Sputnik Sweetheart is a good intro to his writing (and it's not that long either).

Either way you decide to go at it, read. Read, like it could save the world. Read, like it will make you the most successful person ever. Read, like it was the only thing that could save your business. Read, like your life depends on it. Tomorrow, it will.


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