I love to read

George R. R. Martin, the American author of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, probably known better to you as Game of Thrones wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.

― George R. R. Martin, A dance with Dragons (2011).

I have to admit it, I love reading books – good old fashioned hardback books.  They appeal to my senses – they‘re tactile, they rustle when you turn the pages and they smell like a book, which is more than can be said for a tablet or an electronic reader.  They are a way to escape, to use your imagination, to love, cry and also to learn, to gain new knowledge and they can transport you to places in the past or in the future as a monk or as a detective space ranger!

Books influence our thinking!

I am humbled by the immensity of some of the minds that have influenced me such as Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Wilbur Smith, Homer, and many, many more!  I have been on ships fighting the Greeks and I have fought the empire as a member of the foundation!  As a young scholar I remember reading about the burning of the Bibliotheca at Alexandria and how many historians use this to represent an irretrievable loss of a body of collective knowledge.  Another book that made me think about losing knowledge and different ideas was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, where books are burned to control the spread of different or alternative ideas and one often hears the truism associated with Winston Churchill, “History is written by the victors!

The thought of losing a body knowledge like that struck a deep chord in me as tragic, take a moment to consider some of the things that have been lost over the years ……..Ulfberht metal, how to build Pyramids, Roman Cement, Damascus steel, Greek fire and a variety of ancient plant drugs that could have enormous medical value to name just a few.

The Bibliotheca at Alexandria was a great centre for learning for 600 years before it burned down sometime during the 3rd century. In those days, the writing medium was papyrus or parchment which was expensive and difficult to come by and there was also the problem of employing someone capable of writing down the wisdoms of the day coupled with the inevitable loss of meaning in translation.

130 million books in the world

These days the Internet technology provides us with a much bigger bibliotheca! My friend Professor Google informs me that there are some 130 million books in the world.  But, it is not just books!  We have progressed to the point where any literate person may add to the body of knowledge or more often, simply express their opinions.  We can tweet, text, add stuff to our Facebook pages and the plethora of other numerous social personas, all using the associated mediums of digital electronics and the current trend seems to be the need to write and publish an e-book.

Does this really benefit anyone?

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King. On Writing (2000).

Actually, I think it does have a benefit!  I’m not talking about detailing your life on Facebook, although this seems to occupy and fascinate many but I am talking about writing a short article or an essay or even a simple personal journal.  Put your experience and knowledge down on paper, tell us your story, share your inner thoughts and help me understand how I can make something or how I can do something better!

I am telling you that writing is essentially good for you!

It enables self-expression and if you are writing for an audience it causes you to rise above the mundane trivia and work harder to frame your arguments in order to get your point across.  This has proven positive effects on self-esteem (O’Connor, 2011), it helps to improve your attention span and can be incredibly cathartic whilst providing valuable insights to the real you, often with elements of humour, all of which can entertain and inspire others.  Many meditation teachers state that writing can be used as a form of meditation because it can create a focused state similar to the meditative state (Brunette, 2013).

Emotional release

Why not have a go at writing an article about something you feel passionate about and see where it takes you?  If you are feeling down or fed-up, write about the problem and how it makes you feel and then look for positive ways to address the problem and share it with a friend or a Coach and start working on clearing any negativity issues and debilitating emotions such as anger, jealousy, guilt and sadness.

Once you have written something, ask yourself if you want to share it?  Is this for you or is it something you want to share with a wider audience?  If it is for a wider audience, remember that before you publish yourself, proofread your work, check for jargon and make sure it is relevant and not selfishly about you – try to give your audience something to take away.  Then share it with a couple of trusted “sounding boards” who will give you honest constructive feedback.  Use their comments and feedback to revise and improve your article and once you have it finished, polished and ready for the world, put it out there for the world to see via a blogging forum, on a website or through your favourite social media.

Should you choose NOT to publish, remember that there is something innately therapeutic to describing a problem in writing to “get it off your chest” and I concur with some Eastern style philosophies that encourage individuals to write down their thoughts and concerns for the purpose of physically burning the papers, floating them away on a river or in a Chinese sky lantern or burying them – essentially enabling you to recognise the emotions and to then destroy them, so you can enable yourself to move on.

Try it – you will be amazed!  Thank you for taking the time with me today, I really do hope that you craft something that works for you!

Mike Jackson is a practicing student prosateur totally immersed in the University of Life and loving every second of it! As a successful coach, he cherishes any opportunity to take people to new and wonderful places and helps them experience their life and work in a better way.

Executive Coaching is available by special arrangement. – Together, we make a difference!

Mike Jackson – Executive Leadership Coach and Action Effect-u-ator.

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O’Connor, D. B. (2011). Effects of written emotional disclosure on implicit self-esteem and body image. British Journal of Health Psychology.

Brunette, J. (2013). Hw to use writing as a meditation practice. Huffington Post .