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Zen and the Art of Reading

01/06/2012

 

  I know of a person who struggled while reading Moby Dick and shared the agony with me.  He is an avid reader and has read many other classics, but this particular story was really testing his ability to stay awake. Page after page of whale anatomy was slowly wearing him out.  But he kept reading because he made a commitment to see the story through whether it was interesting or not. 

  I, on the other hand, usually close a book (any book) if I’m not interested in the firstfive to ten pages.  I’ve asked others how long they give a book to capture their interest and the answers ranged from fifty pages to half the book.  What is your standard? But some people, such as the person mentioned above, almost always complete the books they’ve committed to reading. 

  Whether we are reading a book for school, work, or fun, commitment is useful because even great books can have slow parts.  If we had absolutely no commitment we wouldn’t finish anything that makes us uncomfortable.  Developing committed reading behaviour may also be helpful because commitment is required in all parts of our lives.  So, how do you develop commitment? Try this: Next time when you are reading, if you begin to get drowsy, wake up before you fall asleep and focusyour attention back on what you are reading.  It is much harder than it sounds; espeically because it must be done consistently.