Thursday, July 7, 2011

Learning = Action

I read recently that a true sign of learning is that the new information actually takes root within us and gives rise to a definable change in our thoughts or actions. When I heard that it made me think about all of the books that I have read over the past few years. Apart from passing on new information to me, have any of the self-help books or theology books given rise to a specific change in my thoughts or actions? That is actually a pretty powerful question. Does all of the time that I spend in books have any lasting impact? Is there any real change in me, or is my reading just a way to kill some time and take in some light entertainment? Am I somehow fundamentally changed by all of this input?

When I first started to think about this question, it actually kind of brought me down because I think that the answer is that the changes in me as a result of all of my reading are minimal at best. After some time has passed, all I can seem to recall from a book is a general theme or style and whether I liked the book or not. It seems like my investment in my reading has not paid any quantifiable dividends. Yet, ultimately I realized that there was more of a pay-off that I had first thought.
  • Reading allows me to educate myself and be able to elucidate what I believe and why, as well as what I don't believe and why.
  • Reading encourages me and strengthens me to continue to stay on course. In other words in prevents drift and laziness.
  • Reading other real-world stories lets me know that I am not alone with my daily struggles. It helps me to maintain perspective.
  • Reading lightens my mind and helps me to relax.
  • Reading keeps my mind limber when other activities might be much more mind-numbing.
  • Reading gives me ideas for course corrections in my life on a day by day basis. Although I may not always remember the seed for a given life adjustment, they are a part of me.
  • Reading allows me to glory in my Lord and causes me to make time to spend with Him.