Getting to know who you are can sometimes be an endless journey. There are many aspects that we all must go through daily. Beyond learning what to do in the moment, we all change over time. In fact, our brains are set up to change every night by dreaming. This mechanism allows us to determine courses of action without actually doing them. So what are a few methods we can dream with our eyes open? We have TV and movies, but those are incredibly descriptive and don’t allow for much mental wiggle room. Here are four ways you can find yourself by getting lost in a book.
Method 1: Escape
Our daily lives can be filled with necessity. They can be so filled with this maintenance that we grow weary. The monotony isn’t a bad thing, after all it allows us to sustain our existence. If we are lucky it helps us derive purpose on why we are here. On occasion though, we need to escape from this constant pressure to continue. For those cases, we enjoy escaping into life and death situations. These escapes allow us several things: relief, excitement, and wonder. The best part of the escapes is that they help our brains switch tasks. By breaking up the tasks into different chunks, it allows us better focus on the individual pieces. Our brains were not meant to be focused for every minute of the day. Instead, we need to have regular brain breaks. Reading allows us to venture into new territories and then re-focus back on the regular stuff. That’s why we admire the sense of tension in an action novel, wonder in a fantasy novel, or creepiness in a horror novel. These things allow us to marvel at the art without needing to be required to make it.
Method 2: Empathy
Another common method of finding yourself by reading a book is to read a story that is far from your own. If you read a story that entails hardships you’ve never faced, you get a better understanding of that person. This allows our empathy to grow and allows us to build better connections with each other. Instead of thinking we know it all, we can live it all in a variety of different ways. That perspective is extremely important to growing as a well-rounded person. Beyond teaching us how to empathize, books can also be centered around eras in time. That allows us to know what it was like to live in a time period or situation that is even further from our own. Living through the ages allows us to see what threads connect each generation. Some languages and traditions transcend time, and that’s where historical books shine.
Method 3: Possibility
Intelligence and research often build unique results, and those results can be in books as well. Many modern-day inventions were talked about in books before they were created. This is because books can inspire the next generation to build unique products and ideas. Sci-Fi is full of different ideas on where we could go from a technical perspective. This can be a double-sided adventure as well. Not only can these tales tell us where we could go with wonderful inventions, they tell us what could go wrong. This not only helps inspire us to build inventions, but use them correctly for the future. Using them correctly may involve building oversight structures or put in key minimizing structures. The first thought into this was Frankenstein, which then helped Asimov write about the laws of robotics. These laws then help modern robot makers by thinking of the worst case scenario with their projects. Without these initial forays into the realm of creation, these scientists would not have as much progress.
Method 4: Movement
The last method I’ll discuss is that books can start ideas. Some books speak to truths that society wants to keep buried or not discussed. Once the book is out, this can resonate with an underserved population. This frequency can spread and before you know it a full movement is taking place across the country. Many books have sparked controversy and build followings because of the political or social boundaries they smashed. To Kill a Mockingbird and Atlas Shrugged are two examples of each book. In addition, controversial leaders may publish manifesto’s that give people an insight into how their minds work. That allows future generations to have an unfiltered look into the center of a particular movement. Not only can they see the results of the thinking, but they can also examine it right down to the roots. This can allow them to better understand the thought and the world’s consequences with those particular thoughts.
While there are many ways to lose yourself in a book, there are also many ways to find out who you are in a book. Books can teach us to better focus on our routine filled lives. Books can teach us how to be full of empathy or how to relate to the past. Books can teach us about cool inventions and the potential downsides. Books can teach us about political and social ideas; including their place in the world. Ultimately, books can teach us where we fit in this world. The only thing that needs to be done is to flip the page and continue to read on. This could be sci-fi, history, romance, fantasy, action, non-fiction, and more. The trick with this flow of information is to continue it and make yourself happy with whatever you decide to read. If you continue to enjoy what you are reading, then you know you are slowly becoming what you desire to become. That may not be a wild adventurer or some time traveling cop, but it will be a more empathetic and intelligent human. While those may appear to be soft skills, they are some of the essential skills we need to learn.