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25. Why A Book... When There's Netflix?

Reading for pleasure has always been deemed as a minority occupation. Whether that is due to reading's introduction in school, do we naturally associate reading with work? Or does it require too much of our brain's concentration to read? Within our busy lives, it just seems absurd nowadays to genuinely sit down and pick up a book! But we always seem to dedicate time towards Netflix, that is never a problem. So if I claim that reading books acquires more pleasure than watching Netflix; why do we always facilitate time for Netflix rather than reading books?

I would like to proclaim oneself as a good reader, or at least someone who likes to read for pleasure. For instance, this year I am on my sixth good novel, but in saying that I would have liked to have read more. At this rate, I am on track to achieve my goal of 20 books this year and the quarantine has definitely facilitated time for reading. And typically this time of the year is not stricken with the fullest of schedules, therefore with my reading pace now - as just scraping by corresponding to achieving such goal - I will not end up reading the 20 books for pleasure this year. Yet, we have 8 more months, therefore reading 14 additional books would mean that I should be reading 1.75 books a month - a highly doable case. Although statistically speaking I should have no problem reading 20 books this year, instantly I can recognise an inevitable obstacle in my path: Netflix.

Contrarily, I actually have no goal for my Netflix viewing. I am not striving for 20 TV shows this year nor 20 movies, because watching Netflix is not something I am necessarily proud of. As minimum effort is required in watching Netflix, I fear for knowing how much of it I have watched, as I am sure that that diabolical figure is something that will shock my system. Thank God that to my knowledge there is no 'screen time' feature on Netflix, maybe that doesn't exist for good reason. With the substantial quantity of Netflix viewing that one has acquired (and I regret to say will continue to acquire), I could almost guarantee that I could of read an entire library's worth of books.

Here's the thing, we have established that my Netflix to reading ratio is completely out of whack; why is that the case if I consciously am aware of the fact that I actually gather much more pleasure from a book in comparison to a TV show or movie. Hmmmm... what a peculiar case, right? By delving into this matter, I have figured out as to why this is the case for me and probably for many more people, probably for YOU reading this right now. It happens to funnel down to that very familiar concept: effort! Effort; a vigorous or determined attempt as defined by our friends at the Oxford English Dictionary. Here is the thing: Netflix requires no vigorous or determined attempt, quite the opposite really - absentminded entertainment that fills some sort of void. You just find something that looks mildly interesting, click it and voilà! The act of picking up a book requires little effort when you think about it but it requires your brain to solely focus on one activity: the task (book) at (in) hand.

Let's say we're watching Netflix's hot new show Too Hot To Handle for instance. Absolute golden garbage entertainment of the such does not merely require the tiniest ounce of brain capacity, rather than enhancing my brain cell count, I think it actually deteriorates my already existing cells. Then let's say I pick up a book that I have currently been reading Hippie by Paulo Coelho in Spanish. Aside from the obvious fact that it is in a language that happens to not be of my mother tongue, it as well deals with political, socio-economical and cultural references that will all extend my current state of knowledge. Topics that actually broaden one's academic capacity and beyond, enlightening the intellectual mind. Without a doubt, Hippie would attain a much greater pleasure status than Too Hot To Handle. But due to the effort involved in the act of physically reading and fixating all attention towards the novel, one generally steers toward the path of nonsense.

Even though so much less effort is required through watching something on Netflix, now I actually use what I call as 'The Feeling After' to determine future actions and decision making. Rather than acting completely by the gravitational force of instinct (the instinct to watch Too Hot To Handle), I will pause for a second and ask myself whether I could read right now. I have written an entire blog post dedicated to 'The Feeling After' that I will link down below if you are interested. How will I feel after reading opposed to watching Netflix? The answer is probably something along the lines of: enlightened and much more enthused towards life. Ask yourself that question before you sit down and travel through the hole of Netflix's nothing, could I be reading right now? And begin by using the minimum viable effort approach to create a habit. Make a goal so simple for yourself to achieve that you have no option but to do it. Read ONE page, that's minimum viable effort for ya.

So far I think I have only alluded to quite a structured and mathematical approach to reading, which should not be the case at all. Reading whisks you up and takes you away into this mystical land that only you have the honour of knowing. The mystical lands that you can find yourself in are limitless. The uniqueness of the story that you create in your mind is one of a kind and that is the power of it; knowing that your imagination is one of a kind and that no one has or will experience the very world that you have created. In these quarantine times, reading becomes especially powerful: reading gives us somewhere to go even when we have to stay where we are. I can babble on about the likelihood of reading 20 books this year and the 1.75 books I need to read each month but that just eliminates the magic of reading. As you loose yourself in a book, you happen to find yourself in the very same space. Say no to Netflix every once in a while and read, it is more powerful than you think.


~ How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content by Max Joseph:

~ How I Rediscovered Books (in the Digital Age) by Nathaniel Drew:

~ The Feeling After by Ella Gibson:

Image: Via Tumblr.

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This blog will encompass the life of a 19-year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations, videos and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface.

For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected twice a week. Take this present moment now and rock it!

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