The reading that makes a real difference | By Professor Khalid Akbar

Reading paves the way for learning

Reading is an important skill of language rather than life itself. It paves the way for learning, cognitive development and mind empowerment. 

According to John Milton, reading is food for thought and gives life beyond life. We cannot nurture our thinking till we do study regularly and systematically.

The famous English dramatist Bernard Shah says: only two percent of people think genuinely, three percent pretend to think; whereas ninety-five percent do not think at all.

In this perspective, the study plays a vital role to improve this situation. It fires the imagination and forms our thinking habits genuinely.

According to a scholar, a sound write-up has the power to unleash the springs of mental vitality and break up the shackles of inertia and sluggishness.

Noam Chomsky, a great linguist and a leading contemporary political thinker has aptly described a crucial fact about reading which merits attention. He says reading a book does not mean to turn pages. It involves thinking about what we have studied. Similarly, it includes identifying those parts that you want to go back; and ask yourself how to place it in a wider context, and pursuing ideas. He declares reading as an intellectual activity that stimulates thoughts, questions and imagination.

Noam Chomsky (Photo Credit: Left Voice

This aforementioned account implies that just go through the book, turning pages and let the stuff pass through the mind does not do anything substantial. It also entails that we need to work with hard copy or book when we resort to reading for leading. 

Reading effectively, we need to underline, highlight, and write points, and so on- an established practice done by great creative figures. This is what is not possible to do with E- stuff or screen reading. The significant implication we draw out from this discussion is the organization of study which makes our reading effective and productive.

Without knowing the ways and means of effective reading and organization of knowledge, we cannot churn out creative figures like scientists, poets, authors, writers musicians, professors, doctors, engineers, or leading persons in any walk of life. Therefore, it is vital and worth noting to follow certain steps to reach the actual crux of reading for reaping optimal benefit from it.

At least two hours of study in the respective field consistently for ten years is a must to transform an ordinary mind into a genius or creative. 

Malcolm Gladwell, a renowned Canadian scholar states that in one area of study whether it is business, industry, science, and technology or fine arts, one to two-hour studies are essential persistently for seven to ten years to be innovative, creative, and inventive.

Malcolm Gladwell (Photo Credit : Changing Minds )

Similarly, to turn pages and let the stuff pass over does not bring about any potential change or transform you into a national or international figure of worth importance. While reading, there is a consistent need to take notes of important parts of reading stuff by identifying them relevant. Malcolm Gladwell holds that a grave reader is supposed to organize and archive the knowledge manually or electronically in a systematic manner.

This process of organization makes the mind coherent, disciplined and confident. It prepares us for problem-solving besides improving language skills namely listening speaking reading and writing. All the great men of genius like scientists, authors, poets, musicians and artists have been doing this in one way or another.

In this global world of science and technology, in order to become smarter, innovative and creative, it would not be sufficient to be well-grounded in academic curricula or rest with random information provided by social, electronic and print media. 

Exposure to the highest minds and elite figures in your specific fields of interest is crucial to get excellence and meeting the desired goals. It would fuel imagination and nurture our logical, cognitive, and metacognitive abilities in our personality. It is what emphasized and endorsed by all the greatest scholars of the world.

It is also recommended by the learned authorities that in your specific area of interest, it is worthwhile to attend seminars, symposiums and conferences, and so on to keep yourselves abreast of what is happening presently. It is also advisable to benefit from audio-video kinds of stuff of your respective field for further enrichment and reinforcement regularly for quite a considerable length of time.

Last but not least, it is enlightenment which is a crucial factor to get benefit from the studies and go ahead in life. It involves rooting out all sorts of prejudice, negativity and partisanship when we pursue studies to get excellence in our field of interest. If we are congested, prejudiced and partisan, any type of study would be merely enlarging our narrow-mindedness and negativity. The religious seminaries in our country speak volumes of this type of mindset and negative state of affairs.

Although they consume a considerable time in instruction and grooming their students yet their produced lot predominately becomes bigot, myopic and congested. A great scientist David Boehm states that many people think they are studying and thinking but actually they are involved in enlarging and rearranging their prejudices.

In this age of globalization, we need high brains that raise the societies and bring them out from backwardness and regression by their innovative ideas, discoveries and inventions. We need no taboos that exude prejudice and negativity and subsequently propagate it to the new generation.  It is heartening that we are using this objective and dispassionate approach in the scientific field. However, we are still lagging behind in social sciences where this broader outlook and rational vision are inevitably needed to break the shackles of narrow-mindedness, backwardness and religious jingoism.

To conclude, we can say that a considerable time on a regular and consistent basis ought to be specified for study. Similarly, organization and archiving of knowledge are crucial to making the mind coherent and creative. Benefiting from all possible ways and means to enhance and reinforce our area of interest without any bias and grudge is equally significant in this regard.

If we follow these steps we can become scientists, authors, poets, artists, or whatsoever we intend to become in our life. Remember! There is no royal road to success. Without sweating and hard grind, we can’t think of becoming a master genius in our field of interest. There is the dire need of the hour to go ahead and reach excellence in our career to bring about the potential change in a backward society like ours.

The writer is a freelance contributor.

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