The wave of information in this digital age makes it quite difficult to focus on words.
Back in high school, I was a voracious reader. I would finish at least 3-5 books per week. Reading just comes naturally for me.
I have a wild brain, so to speak, one that doesn’t stop tinkering and thinking no matter what. The one thing that tames it? You guessed it, a book. Hand me a book, and I will be on my own small corner with little care to anyone or anything.
But that was then. Now, many years later, I’ve been finding it harder to fully concentrate on words. I am struggling to even finish a page, let alone a chapter.
As I struggle with this problem, it got me thinking to figure out the reason why. It’s not like the books I didn’t finish are uninteresting nor do they lack in imparting me with new knowledge. It was me that changed. My way of seeing things changed.
Try as I might, the words fail to seep into my lousy brain.
If I have some free time, it means a break from looking and typing away at my laptop. Being a writer, the last thing I need is a barrage of words in the form of books. If I’m not watching on Netflix, I’d probably be sleeping. Sadly, reading just isn’t a priority anymore.
My already short attention span has been shortened even more. Now, I always have to do something, I can’t sit still anymore. The culprit? Social media.
As many advantages social media brings, it has its fair share of disadvantages.
Are books still important?
When I reflect on the past years of my life, I can name a number of books that shaped my perception, my character, and as an individual (it’s mostly Murakami). Books, for me, have always been an outlet, an escape, a ticket to adventure far away without leaving the comforts of my room. My favorite books have become, in a way, a basis for my personality.
Books just hit different in comparison to other forms of art. It lets you experience happenings in your own mind. Unlike films that are over in an hour or two, you are forced to reflect when reading a book because it can be a very tedious process. In a way, devouring a book can be pretty intimate, as it is someone else’s words and thoughts inhabiting your mind. So if you’re a romantic, reading book can be a special occasion. And nothing beats the smell of a book!
Reading was my form of self-care, I can turn to it regardless of the emotions I am currently feeling. I have always relied on books to help me escape to a place where my problems don’t exist. Which is why I feel defeated that I haven’t found the comforts I always did in the pages of a book.
And more often than not, we get to explore different universe inside of a book.
What’s the problem then?
The exodus of information means we are forced to multi-task. Our minds are bent in doing so many things all at the same time.
It’s not all on you though. Social media has trained our minds into wanting a constant hit of dopamine, which a digital interaction readily provides. Having this ever growing need hinders you to concentrate–either on work, studies, or books.
Dopamine quickly dissipates in your brain, which leaves you wanting for more. Once the impact of it goes away, your brain will be desperate to get the feeling back.
A habit is formed when you perform a particular behavior over and over. And if it triggers a reward, it becomes a pattern that soon becomes etched into your neural systems. As with most things, your brain starts to crave that reward on a regular basis.
What to do?
Keep in mind that I am no expert in terms of giving advises. I can barely function as a human. Be that as it may, remember that if you can start reading a book, you can certainly finish it. Try to live in the moment as much as you can. Grasp every details of every word.
Books are a collection of foreign concepts, ideas, and experiences waiting to be discovered in sentences and paragraphs. Sure, sometimes a book is just plain bad. But sometimes, it is not the author to blame, but ourselves, we fail to see the purpose, and we lack the will to dig deeper and self-reflect.
There are countless distractions nowadays, you have to power through them to overcome these obstacles. Hold yourself accountable and remain committed.
I adore reading, and I always will. It’s forever etched in me. I may have stop for now, but I am merely taking a break from the flood of information and distractions this digital world brings.
And when I am ready, I know I am a book away in being transported to another world, one where I won’t feel the need to constantly ask for validation.
Are you ready to get back to reading?
Feel free to tell us your thoughts and questions down below! Or you can hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @udouph. And if you liked this story, make sure to stay tuned here on U Do U for more updates!