I was having this discussion with a friend yesterday about reading on the train. She reads a lot of personal development/self-help books. She gets a lot from it but, at the same time, almost feels a bit silly for reading them, especially when she's on the train. There's a bit of a stigma to it, when you're reading a book on a train called something like "How To Change Your Life And Heal Your Soul". That stigma is that book is wishy washy nonsense, you're weak for needing to read that stuff. Furthermore - when you recommend a book to someone, especially regarding personal growth, success, how-to-books, etc-- the general response, from most people, is no thanks, or I've too busy to read it.
Regarding the stigma on the train -- WHO CARES? We all die anyway. When you die, aged 87, will it matter that at 29 years old you were reading a self-help book on a train? No. The book may be nonsense, of course; but you'll only know that for sure after you read it. What's the big deal? The most exciting, fun, and creative people I know like to read. They like to stretch themselves. I'm really lucky in that I have a few close friends who I am always sharing books and websites with -- that's how I am now, much more than I used to be--- I love to get stuck in and read and learn.
I'm not sure if it's just an English thing, or if it's prevalent everywhere; but I find most people like to think they know everything they need to know. I read a lot of books on creativity, psychology, health, history, etc. These things; for me - carry information, ideas and stories that can, will and do MAKE LIFE BETTER. Even if they're crazy theories I don't believe in-- wow, how great; how great that I read that idea, mulled it over, and came out the other side with my views more strongly in tact.
It boggles my mind how so many people can be SO UNHAPPY, yet still refuse to indulge in new ideas. And they keep trying to change things and fix things from the same perspective as before. Within the limitations of their belief systems.
"I've been too busy to read it." - NO YOU HAVEN'T. If you've been on Facebook, or on a train journey, or sat on the toilet seat, or spent twenty minutes moaning about something-- you've had the time and opportunity to instead indulge in something that will drastically improve your life--- reading.
I really feel that if you are unhappy with your happiness, creativity, finances, family life, health, tiredness, literally anything... there is something you can be reading that will help change your life. Tiredness is the worst excuse because what causes tiredness and world-weariness is the lack of opportunities, personal hardships, lost dreams, hard days at work, depression - and these things are caused by us not fulfilling everything we want to fulfill in life. So we gotta work towards them!
I could sit on Facebook all night poking girls and talking to my friend Jeff about how pissed off I am at Bryan for not coming to that party last week, or I can read about European History for a project I'm considering doing. I can watch that soap on TV where everyone is cheating on each other, or I can read that book about screenwriting. I can sit in my room wanting to scream because I have no money, or I can read a book about success and wealth. I might find 90% of the book stupid, I might find that I know most of the things--- but there might be that one little piece of gold; that one perspective that someone somewhere else in the world once wrote - and it's the one thing that will turn my world around.
Have you got anything better to do with your spare time? In the past six months or so - I have developed a real passion and interest in things that I never expected. And interestingly; they're opening up new and exciting opportunities for me. Almost by magic, my work opportunities have come more in line with the things I've been reading.
Right now, I'm reading Anne Frank's Diary. It's great to read it again - such an incredible book. Really takes you to the heart of wartime in Europe in a way precious few other things do. It's amazing how much you can learn from that young girl; from her predicament, her views on the world, the legacy she's left behind. Charlie Chaplin's autobiography has been far more beneficial to me than all the times I've played on my PSP, more relaxing too! I've also been reading pretty much every Arnold Mindell book I can get my hands on. Life-altering stuff. Next week I'm going away- and am taking a big book about European History with me - it's my new fascination.. learning about the richness and diversity of Europe, especially in the last hundred years, within the context of it's many struggles against Nazism, Communism, etc. I won't even begin to pretend I know a lot about these things-- but I'm getting there. And it's important. Important because, when I meet a German person, or a Spanish person, or an Irish person or a Serbian person-- it's great to know more about who they are, where they've come from and what they've been through.
What are you reading? Why is it important to you?