Self-Education: Why Time Spent Reading is Never Wasted

Whether you’re an avid reader or not really the type, here’s a little reminder from your friends at Polymath — reading is never a waste of time. In fact, to take our point one step further, we encourage you to make it a priority! 

It’s easy to get caught up in the end results of your goals; however, in order to get there, incremental steps are key. It’s important to slow down sometimes if you want to get from A to Z. Success rarely happens overnight — that's why it's important to build the habit of building knowledge. 

Reading is Worth It 

If you value a productive lifestyle and a focused path to success, recreational activities may seem trivial to you. But who says recreation can’t also be beneficial? Reading can be both enjoyable and educational — as most things in life should be. 

Try seeing these two aspects in the same regard instead of as opposing forces. Learning, growing, and succeeding should not feel painful — who says you need to suffer in order to get ahead? If you take on this mentality, life is going to feel a whole lot more daunting than it needs to. 

This point may seem a little heavy for the topic of reading; however, it relates. Self-education is ultimately about giving yourself the freedom to soak in life, feed your curiosity, and indulge in possibilities. Reading up is one of the most straightforward ways to access these practices. So yea, we think reading is pretty worth it. 

Don’t take our word for it — look at the greatest polymaths of all time! Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla, Jagadish Chandra Bose, and more— all of these people were voracious readers and writers. They weren’t afraid to take time for themselves and trust in the process.

If they can do it, so can you! The only difference between you and these brilliant people is you probably have wayyy easier, more affordable, and broader access to education. Now, how’s that for a reality check? 😄

Self-Education is Self-Care

You better yourself when you educate yourself. What’s more, you better yourself when you’re nice to yourself. Instead of denying yourself the right to reading, try to take the pressure off and see it as a way to unwind.

If reading seems like a luxury you don’t have time for,start small. Just ten pages a day can completely set the tone for the rest of your day, or positively change your perspective for the day ahead. There are so many ways to make reading a part of your routine due to its many forms. So, instead of reaching for War and Peace, start out with the newspaper, a lighthearted memoir, or even something as simple as a book of daily reflections — pieces that can be enjoyed in small doses. 

Does reading seem like the opposite idea of fun to you? If you struggle to enjoy reading, chances are you’re putting on too much pressure on yourself to “do it right.” Implementing this way of self-education into your routine doesn’t have to be as regimented as other aspects. To get in the swing of reading, start by picking out a book that deals with a topic you’re already interested in. This will likely lead you to other ideas of interest to follow up with after. 😊

No matter which category applies, if you’re not used to reading regularly, it can seem totally unnatural at first. Understandably so  — it’s a lost art, one that’s not so aligned with our fast-paced, instant information culture. However, once you get in the habit of it and see its benefits, you’ll make even more of an effort to make room in your schedule. It will do you good to slow down; this is how you allow moments of curiosity, discovery, and clarity. 

(Pro tip: There’s always audio books, too!)

The Benefits

Books help you learn; it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. With that being said, take a moment to understand exactly how books can work as tools. 

“Knowledge is power only when it's applied.”

Visualize this — books serve as the bricks that form your house of knowledge. In order to build upon your education effectively, it’s worth being selective about the materials you choose. Through reading, you can quite literally build your own learning curriculum without the burden of student loans or class fees. 

We’re not knocking on higher education; however, you also have the resources and potential to build a pretty powerful game plan on your own. By mindfully choosing the information you take in, you are cheering on your curious nature. Your brain wants to dive into new discoveries; it’s waiting on you to give it the tools! Only through new exposure can you expand your thoughts. 

Intentional Learning

Unpopular bit of truth — if you have time to scroll, you have time to read! If you cut down the time you spend on the screen, you’ll likely have plenty of time to hit the books (and feel better for it). 

When you hang out on social media, you undeniably take in a lot of information — a lot of which isn’t necessarily helpful or intellectually stimulating. Sure, there’s choice over which pages you’re choosing to visit, and it’s definitely possible to use social media in a purely healthy way. (You’re reading this, aren’t you? 😉) 

With that being said, it’s a lot easier to fall out of intention when you’re wrapped up in scrolling. 

When you get reading, it’s easier to stay on track and focus on what information you’re trying to absorb. Reading allows you to hone in on a few topics or subjects at a time, which allows you to be more present in your educational pursuits. 

Looking for some intellectual inspo? Here are some of our founder’s favorite books, specifically dealing with human behavior. If you’re looking to change yours, any of these five reads are a great way to start! 

Happy reading, and let us know your recommendations in the comments below! ⤵️