Feeling guilty about not reading? Here is what you need to know

If you’re a lifelong learner but scroll through TikTok and Instagram until dawn, there is something you own but haven’t tapped into yet. That is your knowledge library. This story is for avid learners who feel terrible about not reading enough and what they can do about it.  

“Our standard school system train us to get good grades, not be prolific thinkers and creators.”    


Learning is what makes you human    

No alt text provided for this image
These four core human drives illustrated by Beehive, 2023                


When you type ‘I don’t read enough’ in Google Search, you get bombarded by anxiety-ridden Quora and Reddit entries from people like you and me whining. They say: I don’t read enough, should I be worried? Feel that I’ll never be reading enough…    

I am an honest friend and will tell you the truth: you aren’t reading enough, but it’s not completely your fault. Most of us live comfortable lives that don’t demand transcendence. Our reliance on technology and our standard school system train us to get good grades, not be prolific thinkers and creators. Our minds don’t generate as much goodness as Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci because we weren’t trained to.    

Here is the good news. Learning is your birthright, regardless of your environment, education level, or even your lack of desire to read. You have to tap into what you already know.    


Your knowledge is a credit card


No alt text provided for this image
A cluster of Quora entries on the subject of 'I don't read enough'                


You might have heard of compound interest. A typical credit card has an interest rate of 19,99%. You’re charged when you don’t pay on time. Unlike destructive credit, your mind has a positive interest rate, a compounding, exponential one. When you learn, you bring stored, related information back to the surface. Reading Carl Yung, Dambisa Moyo, Samantha Power is co-creating with them. It sends fresh signals back to your brain to fuel creative, divergent ideas. You are already data-rich, so act like it.    


Some practical tips to feel less guilty  


 I won’t tell you to build up a habit to read more. Instead, change those anxious thoughts and see the big picture. Do you continue to learn? The answer is yes. So, here’s what else you can do:    

  1. Don’t read. For now, at least, continue to listen to your favorite podcasts or watch long-form content. Growing up, reading autobiographies was my hobby. Today, I supplement that with ‘autobiographical’ interviews of prolific filmmakers, talks on the business of fashion and vlogs. There are so many opportunities to learn. Educational videos and audio count too.
  2. Build a knowledge library. In 2019, I discovered Dropbox Paper and created a digital knowledge library. From there on, instead of focusing on what seemed like the abyss of all the knowledge in the world, I realized there is a lot of useful information in my brain. I increased my desire to read.
  3. Read broad. And it is not a crime to skip chapters. Even if you do skip, read a wide range of subjects, so your brain makes complex connections the majority of people won’t. Read about politics one morning and about the routines of Renaissance painters the next day. Read about the impact of technology in Wal-Mart’s supply chain and the creative process of a filmmaker. You will have a creative beast of a mind no one can replicate.


Reading gives me confidence and increases my creativity. But, I decided not to feel guilty about not reading as much. I will always learn. I will climb day and night to gain a fresh perspective. If you’re curious about my top books to read, check out this list. Let me know if you want to see the structure of my digital knowledge library. I encourage you to build yours and you will see that you are a search engine of your own.    

Let's stay in touch

Subscribe to read the latest posts every so often.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.