How to Become a reader Even if You Don't Like to Read

I run into people all of the time who tell me that they don't read.  This makes me wonder how they consume information- Tv? Radio?  Web surfing? After all, we all "get" our information from somewhere.

The mindset of not being a reader is common enough and unfortunately it can start at a young age.  Scholastic has a list of the top 10 reasons why people don't read as much as they would like.  Some of the common refrains sound like this:

  • I'm not a good reader
  • I can't concentrate
  • I can't sit still long enough
  • I don't have the time

Can you relate to any of these?  Even though I'm an avid reader, I can!  It takes discipline for me to sit with a book and read it for more than 15 minutes.  Maybe it's ADD or just a consequence of the "always on" internet world we live in.

Still...I don't want to give up on reading and neither should you.

The benefits of reading are too many to list but here's an example of why I read so much. 

It was a Chinese New Year's party and two people at my table were talking about various things.  One was from China and the other from New Jersey. One spoke of Asian cuisine and another about investing in socially responsible funds.  To my delight, I was able to have really interesting conversations with both people, mentioning things I had read about or heard in podcasts.  Because of my reading, I had an instant connection with them. 

The reading had come in handy... 

For those who don't see themselves "as readers", I suggest five things that can turn anyone into a reader in no time: 

1. Listen to podcasts.  This might include the Emergent Leader Podcast, just sayin'!

2. Listen to books.  Whether it's or just audio books from the library, audio books count as "real reading".

3. Combine "reading" with working out. 

4. Read five blogs every morning or evening. I like to start the day with some Seth Godin, Fr. Richard Rohr and Fast Company.  Just as with audio books, blogs "count" as real reading.  

5. Take a day off each week and use this as "permission" to read day.   I started doing this about a month ago and it's been magical. I'm more present to my family and I check a new book out of the library each week, anticipating that I will take some time on Sunday to sit and read- and I do.  

Whether you find reading easy or if it's a struggle, my hope is that you'll try the five steps above and cultivate your reader's muscle.   You can do it!