In a book club discussion, not too long ago, someone said, “I don’t read fiction. It’s just a waste of time.” The remark stung me a bit because I read a lot of fiction. But as is usually my wont I did not say anything at the time because, maybe, the person was right. Maybe reading fiction was a waste of time.
I had, however, forgotten all about the discussion and was merrily going on with my fiction reading routine, until something brought the subject back to my attention. Not surprisingly, I turned to the Internet for answers and found that reading fiction, especially literary fiction, made you a better person indeed. There is even a published study and a review that talk about how reading fiction is good for you, even more than reading non-fiction.
My faith in fiction being restored, I then decided to look into my own experiences to figure out how reading has helped me.
A quote from a popular Hindi movie goes:
“When your friend fails, you feel bad… but you feel worse when your friend comes first.”
A lot of people will agree with this. I know because I do.
To be truly happy for others is something very few people can do. How a person reacts to other people’s success is a true measure of how satisfied a person is with his or her own life. Usually another person’s success has little or no bearing on your life, and you yet you can’t be happy for the person, because that person’s success reminds you of your own failures.
Yesterday, as I was watching the Oscars I was thinking to myself: “This is an amazing event indeed. Not only are they doing it live, they are doing it without a single stutter in the entire show.”
This was around the time when Emma Stone got the Oscar for the best actress. I stopped watching after that as there was something else that demanded my immediate attention. A few minutes later, I logged on to Twitter and was surprised to see my Timeline flooded with tweets about the goof up at the Oscars.
Here is a question for you:
It’s 2 AM. You are tired, but still not ready to call it a day. You think for a moment and come up with two things you could do:
a) Play your favourite video game.
b) Study, or finish some work you need to finish as soon as possible.
What do you do?
If you chose (b), you should stop reading now. This article is definitely not for you. If you chose (a), read on.
The one piece of advice that everyone gets when they are about to do something new or special is, “Have Confidence!”
As if confidence is a commodity that you can get off the shelf in a supermarket.
Before I talk any more about confidence, let me relate a couple of examples from my life.
For most of my life, I have had a certain degree of confidence in my ability to write. I may not be able to write great stuff, but readable stuff, any day. Over time this confidence grew and it was difficult for me to believe people who said they just couldn’t write. Writing, after all, is just another way of communicating. If you can speak, you shouldn’t have any trouble writing.