One evening, in 1961, in the city of Detroit, Michigan, a young woman sat sadly with the report cards of her two sons. The sunset shone on her striking features, which had been slightly marred by her devastation. Her sons were failing and failing badly. As an illiterate, she was worried and deeply concerned. She wanted a brighter future for her children, but how was that to be accomplished without an education? How could they become greater than her, if they kept churning out these kinds of results?

The woman and her children were black, poor, less privileged, and lived in the inner city. The father had abandoned them a long time ago, and they were all they had. The poor woman desperately took some drastic action. She cut off all television and play from her kids and instructed them to read 2 books weekly and write her a report. It would become an incredibly transformational decision.

Years later, the younger son would clinch a scholarship to the prestigious Yale University, and turn out to be one of the gifted pediatric neurosurgeons in the world. In the eighties, he would spearhead a groundbreaking conjoined twins surgery that would mark a new turning point in the realm of scientific breakthroughs.

Are you familiar with this story? If you aren’t, it is the story of Benjamin .S. Carson. A man whose life was transformed totally through implementing a consistent reading schedule. It’s a story that never seems to stop amazing me because of the stunning metamorphosis – from class dummy to world-class brain surgeon. It’s fascinating because it was consistent reading that unleashed his previously suppressed intellect and propelled him from a black inner-city kid to an immensely successful neurosurgeon, who has always been in the incandescent presence of stardom and fame. For me, Carson is a quintessential example of the tremendous power ensconced in the art of reading.

We all have potential. For some people, theirs shine brightly and colorfully, but for others, their potential needs a push, shove, or just something to unveil it completely. From exemplary leaders to wealthy business magnates, to world-class motivational speakers, renowned intellectuals, and the likes, many people climbed from the bottom of the world to the top through reading powerful and life-changing books

Books are the quietest and lasting friends, the easiest to reach, the wisest counselors, and the most patient teachers – Charles .W. Elliot.

Knowledge is the most precious and the most golden resource in the world. It engineers every ounce of innovation. It ignites our minds and develops them exponentially. It is the engine behind the development and its importance to the entirety of human life in this day, and we cannot overemphasize age. How is knowledge attained? Well, I’m sure you know it is attained by reading books because they contain a treasure trove of knowledge in distinctive forms.

Reading is also the process used to build upon existing knowledge or rearrange fresh ways of thinking. It can help develop alternative theories, paradigms, or ideas. We are limited to the extent of our imaginative abilities. When we read about previously unknown terminologies, ideologies, people, places, things, cultures, influences, and stories, our imaginations and creativity are sharpened, strengthened, and fired up.

Reading provokes our minds to think critically. We learn new perspectives and perceptions that we might have never thought about or imagined before. Through the reading process, we get inspired to try new things.

Let’s not also forget that books are incredibly entertaining. From the exciting worlds of thrillers to the beauty embedded in romance to the small joys that accompany children’s books, reading can be fun. But the best part is that the entertainment is always intermixed with value. While getting entertained, our intellects thrive better as our intelligence increases. We become more fascinating, and much better in communication, increasing our knowledge and skills on various topics.

Reading enhances creativity, productivity, and self-growth. It is empowerment on its own. Over some time, it ushers an individual into a wellspring of intellectual flourish that never diminishes. The positive effects of reading not only energize your brain and intellect, but it also keeps them vibrantly alive and inspires respect. Another quintessential example of a reader is Barack Obama. Obama is a man who possesses gigantic intelligence, an impressive oratory prowess, and a wealth of insight. What most people know and what others don’t is that reading constantly is as important to this man as breathing. He has been a reader all his life, and he is still a reader till today. The most classic example of the saying: Readers are leaders.

And that’s another fact. When you incorporate reading consistently as a lifestyle, you will lead. In a theoretical way, an innovative way, or in a public domain. But the fact is that you will lead at some point. Readers usually emerge into bold thinkers who create new fields of thought or challenge and rearrange established knowledge. They can become powerful influencers in their own right.

It is a proven fact that the following factors are the benefits of reading.

  • Memory improvement
  • More focus and concentration
  • Stimulation of the imagination
  • Ignition of ideas
  • Richer vocabulary
  • Stress reliever

Conclusively, I want you to think and reflect critically on everything written in this article. The reading culture these days is deteriorating and diminishing fast. The world out there is submerged in so many distractions that many people have forgotten about the calming and educative effects of books. Now more than ever, if you dedicate yourself to reading, you will nourish your mind and distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Never forget that your life can be transformed when you invest in reading quality books. Your intellect can attain a prestige of its own and respect through the ingestion of the written word. Many people believe that because of their work, day-to-day activities, schooling, or busy schedules, they can’t find the time to read. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And through that journey, you aren’t mandated to take gigantic steps. Read in bits and pieces. Do it daily and consistently, and your brain will thank you for it.

An article by Loraine Lindsay for Epistle News. This article first appeared on LoraineLindsay.com.