ZigZag 3 | The Importance of Reading

I’ve never been a huge reader, I still don’t consider myself one. Even though I’ve heard of all the benefits of reading books, I’ve always made up shitty excuses like “I’m so busy all the time, reading is the last thing I need to be doing”.

I was completely wrong. I wasn’t busy, I was just cluttering my schedule up with heaps of new tabs and irrelevant, uninteresting YouTube videos, until I stumbled across Matt D’Avella, who makes content about cutting down on the distractions and being productive.

Immediately after watching a few of his videos about reading books (again, the irony), I bought the first book that I’ve picked up since I was maybe 15 or 16 - I’m barely 18 now. Bearing in mind that the last book I properly read was a Dan Brown novel, Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running didn’t seem like an obvious choice for me, but the character and pace of the extract I read online just appealed to me.

As soon as this book arrived, I sat down and read a chapter or two, and felt twice as calm when I put the book down. That past week had been stressful, between college and work, and reading the book really slowed me down and helped me to realise that everything’s fine and there’s almost nothing to worry about.

The beautiful thing about books, I think at least, is that they take you to somewhere where you’ve never been before. It’s an experience that you can’t get simply by walking to the corner shop or going for a drink, it’s different. And as much as I love going for a drink, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything that tops sitting down and reading a book in bed, on my own, enjoying my own company.

So since reading that first book within the space of two weeks, I’m now onto “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, a much more fixed book about professional fulfillment, and I’ve also got the Charles Mingus autobiography, “Beneath The Underdog” lined up after that. I’ve challenged myself to read at least one book a month - which for some of you might not be much, but for me, it’s a whole lot more than I was reading before - and I’ve committed to doing this for a year.

I really encourage whoever’s reading this to join me now, if you’re not already reading enough, to maybe switch from binge watching the last season of Game Of Thrones to reading the autobiography of one of your idols, or picking up a book about making money from art and turning your passion into a career.

And don’t take this as me judging you - I don’t mind if you watch Game Of Thrones - just binge responsibly. Take control of your habits and reprogram your mind to make time for things you are passionate about and that you want to pursue in the future.

I’m interested in hearing about your favourite books, and if you’d like to keep in touch with me about challenging yourself to read, or any other lifestyle changes that you’re actively trying to make happen this year, shoot me a message on Instagram @dcasteaux , or email me at dominik.casteaux@gmail.com (that’s my personal email, so if you send something on that we’re best friends and you’ve immediately signed up to that).

Big thanks to Emma Seager for helping me edit this one! And thanks for reading guys. I’ll catch you all in the next ZigZag!

Dominik d’Entrecasteaux

Founder and Director at !GWAK