James gave his 7 year old son, Michael, the book to read and told him he’ll come back an hour later to check up on him. Fifteen minutes later, James was passing by the room and was surprised to see Michael asleep, the book on top of him.  James smiled as he closed the door. This scenario is not strange. There are millions of kids today who will rather they be beaten than to read.

It’s also not a mystery that studying is the only legal way to succeed academically but students will rather fail than read. Or like me when I was in school, I read just enough to score an average. So what makes reading interesting? Is reading fun at all? Can reading be fun?

First, we should understand that there are very little things on earth that are 100% fun, all of the time. Even eating and sleeping sometimes are difficult and hard. Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the things that really have a positive effect on us in life are not what we willingly love to do. No one likes eating healthy because sugar is more fun. Not many people are willing to go to the gym and workout even though it’s the healthy thing to do. People who reap the full benefit of going to the gym don’t go because it is fun, though after putting in a lot of effort, they end up having fun. Likewise, no one eats healthy because it is fun but they get the fun later on.

These two examples – working out and eating healthy – are metaphors to reading. Reading is done not because it is fun but we can derive fun while doing it. Yes, we can enjoy reading. So what are some of the things that can help us enjoy reading?

The first step to enjoying reading is to read what you love. I’m sure this is not an earth-breaking and eclipse-causing idea but it works. It is easier to have fun reading what you love than to have fun reading what you don’t. Reading is like having a dialogue with another individual, the author. And just like every normal conversation, everyone loves chatting with people when they discuss subject matter that they love or are interested in. So if you want to enjoy reading, read more books on the subject matters you love.

Reading what is practical and useful to your situation will also enable you love reading. I had a friend who loved reading romance novels in her teenage years but as she grew, she shifted her focus to self-development books. It was not because she hated romance novels but it wasn’t that useful to her again. The psychology behind this is that we all love people that proffer solution to our challenges. An example is found in entrepreneurs. Some individuals might never be attracted to certain self-development or management books when they are working under a boss. But the moment they leave to start their own business, management books will be the next thing on their list. We love whatever adds value to us.

A relationship expert once said that “commitment is more important than chemistry in a relationship”. Even when it comes to romantic relationship, feelings help but commitment helps more. I am sorry if you don’t like how I am using romantic relationships to parallel how to love reading but it works. You can’t enjoy reading without having first committed to reading. The more you read, the easier it is for you to enjoy it.

Just as developing a skill, reading is not always fun but it does not mean that you cannot derive enjoyment from it. Start with the subject matters you love while reading the things that are practical and useful to you. It won’t be always useful to you but as you commit to it, it begins to be more enjoyable.

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