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Every book needs it's setting

I can read a light fiction book over a few hours on a weekend. And yet, I might take well over a week to read a book on the intricacies of human thought patterns, even though the number of pages in both may be the same. And it will take me even longer to read something by Dostoyevsky or Neitzsche.

A light and straight-forward story can be read at any time. It simply involves following a plot that the author is narrating. At best, it involves holding together the details of four or five characters and their interactions in the story-line.

Whereas, a book on psychology or a more complicated topic requires me to be in a state of mind where my mind is actively considering incoming information and figuring out how to question, assimilate and store it. When there is something more than simple entertainment involved, the reading can't happen at any time. I can't read such a book at the end of a tiring day or at a stretch for a few hours over a weekend. It will be the equivalent of bingeing on all the seasons of Black Mirror in one go. It's a lot to take in and process.

It isn't effective to read them in the same way either.

Every book needs a setting and a frame of mind of it's own in order for me to understand what's happening and be able to retain what I read.

While I do have the goal of reading a book a week, if I need to spend more time to do justice to a book, then so be it. Because, the book a week goal is simply a structure to get into the habit of spending seven to ten hours a week reading. What's more important is to actually understand and retain what I read than simply put tick marks against having read something.

This is the same approach I take to traveling as well. Every place I visit needs it's own amount of time and frame of mind to be experienced fully. And simply ticking off having visited a place or rushing through what it has to offer while not savouring the experience is the antithesis of the original goal.

It is common for us to get constrained by how we measure progress and lose track of why we are doing something in the first place.

Are we working because we want to grow professionally and acquire skills in a field that we enjoy or would we forego that in the pursuit of titles and bigger salaries?

This is a question that we can ask ourselves about every aspect of our lives. And only by doing so often will we have definiteness of purpose. Which is a prerequisite to any sort of success.

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