Use Medium to Build a Reading Habit

How to read more and develop lifelong learning

Credits: Unsplash

For many of us, reading and learning stop along with school. Once we set foot in the real world, we are supposed to be fully-grown adults, with a complete package of knowledge ready to go, right?

Well, obviously not.

Lifelong learning is essential for keeping your brain active and hungry for knowledge while making us grow as people. And a reading habit is the perfect foundation for it.

But what is it that we should read? And how often should we read it? Is there an upper limit for how much to read? And where should we go to find the best reading materials?

Because of all these free-floating questions, I decided to write an article to help you find a foundation for reading more and building a lifelong learning habit.

And along with this advice, I will also argue why Medium is the best place to develop a reading habit from scratch. How do I know this? Well, I don’t, but it worked out quite well for me, so there’s that.

Not a Medium member yet? Click here to become one now!

Micro Reading vs Deep Reading

The first step towards learning how to read more is to acknowledge the difference between micro reading and deep reading.

In short, micro reading refers to short, but frequent sessions of reading, mainly targeted at articles, opinion pieces, and so on. Micro reading should be the foundation of your reading habit, as it sparks curiosity and intrigue.

Deep reading, on the other hand, implies longer, more comprehensive reading sessions, targeted at longer materials, and focused on a single topic. During these sessions, you internalize ideas, engage with the content, and ask yourself questions to develop your thoughts.

We need to keep in mind that, when building a habit, frequency is key. The more you practice something, the better it begins to fit in your overall schedule. Thus, to build a reading habit the right way, you need to start with micro reading.

Scatter a few 10–20 minute windows throughout your day to read articles on topics that you are curious about, stuff that is interesting to you. The number of sessions itself does not matter. The crucial thing is to have such a session every single day (at least at the beginning).

In doing so, you condition your brain to get used to processing new information every day, making it more receptible to learning new concepts and doing more thinking. This is the foundation of lifelong learning.

As your curiosity about things develops, you will want to have longer, more immersive reading sessions every couple of days. This is where the deep reading part comes in, helping you increase your understanding of a topic tenfold.

So, to recap what we have so far: read articles on topics of interest to build the daily reading habit, then approach some topics in-depth during longer sessions to internalize the information better.

Essentially, the deep reading sessions are built on top of the daily reading sessions, hence why the latter is so important.

Make It Enjoyable

The top reason why people fail to build habits is that they don’t actually enjoy doing them. We all know that lifelong learning is important, but doing something about it every day can become stressful.

Luckily, reading is not as complicated as, say, fitness. You can and should read whatever you want. It can be self-help, fiction, science, poetry, or anything in-between. The only condition is for you to enjoy it.

No, you shouldn’t learn about making money and starting a business if you don’t like that. You shouldn’t read books on a philosophy that you think is bullshit. And you shouldn’t read more than you are comfortable with.

You should leverage your inherent curiosity about the world (or re-learn how to use it) to create a daily reading habit that you truly enjoy. That way, it will never feel like a chore, and it will not get boring.

But what if reading what you like does not help you learn anything new? Well, you should not worry about that. Curiosity is built in such a way as to point you in different directions by itself. You are bound to learn something new at some point.

Another thing that may help is to develop a growth mindset. Essentially, this means viewing anything, including a reading habit, as a learning opportunity. This will help you see value even in the weirdest of places. With a growth mindset, anything you read becomes a learning opportunity.

To recap: you want to keep your reading enjoyment high and not smother your passions just to learn new stuff that you don’t like. Let your curiosity flow freely and see what happens.

Why Medium?

Ultimately, why is Medium the best place to create a reading habit? There is a handful of reasons for it.

Firstly, the writers here are not authority voices. When you read something from The Guardian or The Economist, you assume that accredited people wrote that. Thus, you convey authority to them and tend to take things at face value.

However, this is not a great approach. You shouldn’t just ingest ideas without asking questions. Instead, you should wonder whether the author may be wrong and do as much mental gymnastics as possible to properly develop lifelong learning.

On Medium, it’s easy to think that a writer may be wrong. There is no psychological barrier to building a case against what the author believes. And I can vouch that these things are much more important than they seem now.

Medium also lets you directly engage with authors by writing responses, starting debates, and developing ideas further than face-value. These activities can also bring much more enjoyment to your reading habit, as they are more exciting.

Secondly, it is perfect to follow up with deep reading sessions. Reading 2–3 articles with different points of view makes it more interesting to read an in-depth piece about the topic. The more active learning you do, the better information sticks.

Lastly, Medium is a platform where you can directly reward writers. By spending more reading time on their articles, they get a proportional share of your membership fee. This helps you actively support the writers that you like, while also cheaply buying you access to unlimited articles every month.

There is a lot of diversity in topics, many talented writers, and many articles available at all times. You are bound to find what you like, one way or the other.

To make things easier on your end, I propose a challenge. For the next 2 weeks, starting today:

  • Read 1–2 articles every single day (1-day breaks each week are allowed);
  • Have a longer reading session each week (2–3 hours).

I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a go. Click here to join Medium today and start your daily reading habit without any further delay. By using the link above, you help support my writing at no additional cost to you.

For those of you who are interested, welcome to Medium, and welcome to lifelong learning!

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