Nope. Not literally bruh! I don’t do drugs (at least not now). So, it is that time of the month again! I pick up a small incremental change in the starting of the month and try to live up to it for the entire month. And around this time, every month, I log my experience of that Kaizen.
This month, Kaizen was a little more than the incremental change. I have never been an avid reader in my entire life. If I could go in the past and develop one habit, this would be it. Reading to the mind is what proteins are to body. Therefore, as I grew wiser (not correlated to my age in any way), I decided to inculcate this into my routine.
The Jittery Start:
I started off by listening to audio books first but there a slight drawback you see. I don’t read fiction at all. Every book I have read (or decided to read) is some non-fiction (personal growth being my favorite). Therefore, it is of utmost importance that I carry the learnings of the book along with me if I really wish to reap some benefits out of it. But, when you listen to stuff rather than reading it, it gets buried down deep in your conscience and is hard to extract. More than often, listening to audio books is more of a multitasking affair. It is often coupled with some other task like exercise, driving etc.
So, if I really had to learn something out of these endeavors, reading really didn’t have any substitute per se. So, I started my journey of reading.
It was super tough initially. I would often read pages without realizing that I am not actually grasping a single word of the text. So difficult. I actually finished reading a book called “The Intelligent Investor” like this. I made myself read the book rather than enjoying it. And now, I remember a very little of it. Disappointing much!
What is the Kaizen?
This time, I decided to do things differently. Everyone loves a hippy look with a paperback book wrapped in arms and it undoubtedly boosts your inner nerd ego at the airport as well. However, the conventional hard bound books have some shortcomings. Before you book lovers bash me, let me rephrase it. Reading books digitally has an upper edge. So my Kaizen was doing away with the reading physical books and only focus on doing it digitally. That has benefitted me a lot. Here’s how:
1. Taking Notes, Like a Boss!
A key drawback of reading physical books was the inability to take notes. Obviously you have an option of taking notes using a pencil/pen and go back to them later. This does give you an upper hand over audio books but there’s still something that’s missing. What? It’s the laborious task of revisiting them later. Imagine if I want to go back to a certain learning that I remember vaguely now. The only way to do it would be to sift through the entire book to cull out the highlighted piece of information you are looking for. A pure hit and trial.
However, this is not the case with digital books. All the highlighted/bookmark texts can be found in a single glance on a tap of a button. In other words, my own version of summary of the book is generated through my highlights. Pretty cool right? Even if there is some gap between your two reading sessions, I could contextualize the upcoming sections much better by spending 5 minutes on the highlighted text.
Apart from that, just the way we highlight paper books with different markers (if you are one of those), there is a possibility to do so in the digital format as well. So, I can now classify important pieces in a personalized criteria set by me.
When I used to read the literature books in our school curriculum in the past, nothing was more annoying than reading a page and referring to a dictionary four times while doing that. Also, underlining the difficult words and mentioning it’s meaning on the top was a part of one’s book reading regime.
I sometimes feel a similar urge while going through a paper book. But not anymore. Digital books provide you with the functionality to simply tap the word and get its meaning right there and then. How this helps me is that the linkage or flow is not brought down to a complete halt just to understand the meaning of a word. I can look up and continue on my journey within a matter of seconds. Isn’t it just a super loaded kaizen?
3. Mobility and Flexibility:
Ever got stuck in a situation where you forgot your favorite book while you are travelling. I’ll niche down this example a little more. Ever felt so lazy that you just didn’t want to bring that book from the other room? I do! Turns out, now I don’t have to. All the books I have started are synced across all my devices pretty seamlessly.
I can even forget putting a bookmark on the page where I left off and technology will ensure that I start from there on any device I have. This also ensures that I make a proper use of my negative spaces. James Clear, in his book, Atomic Habits, talks a lot about “making it easy“. One of the key steps in forming a habit. And I don’t think anything could have simplified reading more than digitizing it could.
4. It is Feature Packed and Fun:
I am not trying to be a wannabe Gen-Z here but reading books on your Kindle/iPad is fun. It is not boring. You can read in absolute dark and there are multiple screen modes (sepia, dark, ambient etc.) depending on the lighting and your mood.
Apart from that, if you are starting out new like me, there are a lot of nudges that motivate you. Reminder to read, badges as you progress and shoutout on completion of set goals of reading. Hence the title, reading on steroids’.
I believe there is no point running away from digital transformation. Even if old school book reading has some element of habit attached to it, I think in the long run, if you are into personal growth via book reading, digital readers will have an upper edge.
Which side are you on? Also let me know if you believe in the theory of total quality management (Kaizen)
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Until next time..