Most book lovers and entrepreneurs spend a stupendous amount of time thumbing trees in the name of thrill, passion, and enlightenment. Then there are those fellows glued to Jim Kwik’s a-book-a-week movement in the name of unlocking their hidden potential. In a year, they ensure to read a variety of books in every genre ever created. But in the end, over 50% of these sworn readers confess to feeling stuck after reading. So they never apply what they read!

What a waste?!

How to free yourself from the mental jam when you are feeling stuck after reading a book

If you are a member of this Feeling Stuck After Reading Books Movement, this is for you.

My Mental Jam Story.

I love reading non-fiction books. I even ascribe to the ‘a chapter a day’ rule to ensure that every book I begin reading becomes a journey I must complete. But since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, somehow my brain has decided to block most of the content I read. And that is annoying!

Imagine waking up everyday at 4 pm to indulge in my usual serving of content just to stare at a page for hours without end absorbing anything!

The worst bit of this story is that I always have a book to read, so I never have any excuse as to why I cannot read. My only pain is half of the time I am just staring at the pages. Some kind of traffic jam if you may. This happens whenever I read about three books in a row despite sliding a one-week break between the books. And that causes a major breakup between books and me, as well as a disconnect from my love for writing.

Under normal circumstances, reading a book leaves me feeling relaxed, thrilled, and even enlightened. But sometimes this knowledge acquisition affair or the thrill thereof melts my chocolate castle. This happens when my brain overheats in an attempt to reject the book reading process. The thought of reading yet another book becomes depressing. Loathsome. I then find myself wadding in molten chocolate of unused skills and ideas.

But even more depressing is seeing my less book-acquainted buddies making progress in their lives while the bookworm in me drown in nothingness. I stop contributing to our everyday discussions for lack of fresh ideas. I’m stuck!

Why We Feel Stuck After Reading Books

I recently came across Tim Genning’s thoughts on Quora explaining the reading concept in an amazing way

“We remember 10% of what we read. 20% of what we hear. 30% of what we see. 50% of what we see and hear. 70% of what we discuss with others. 80% of what we personally experience. 95% of what we teach others.”

Let that marinate for a minute in your brain.

Stack Overflow Detected

Regardless of the kind of books you read; fiction or nonfiction, true enjoyment comes from putting the knowledge acquired into use. That further propels the thirst for more. Otherwise, your brain begins to flood with unused ideas and skills. And since your brain loves you, when you read and ignore utilizing the ideas, it senses the flood and rejects your thirst for more.

So every time you pick a book, your brain sends you a ‘flood signal’ discouraging you from further input. You stare at the pages without absorbing content. You hate all books alike. You feel sleepy. Meanwhile, a pile of unread books sit staring at you at your desk.

Sounds familiar?

But you can turn all that around. I have. Here is how I did it.

How to Free Yourself from Mental Jam Whenever You feel Stuck After Reading a Book

It is so simple you could hate yourself for not doing it earlier. You have done it before, you just did not know you were doing it.

1. Learn

Always read to learn. Even when reading for the thrill of it. Here is a secret most of us, authors will not share with our readers.

“We, the authors of your favourite books, write to impact people’s lives, whether through fictitious storytelling or sharing scientific thoughts. We want you to learn something. Your work is to find it and learn.”
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If you do not believe me, read ‘Got Toasted’ right here. Do you see the message hidden in the story?

Another interesting message is in Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Make it your next week’s read. And now that you know the authors’ secret, do not disappoint us.

2. Apply

Most of my articles fall in the self-help category making the insights easy to apply. That is if you are keen to. Which you should. What is there to apply in the fiction sector though?

Look, you may have read several fiction books for the thrill of it, learned a trick or two, then moved on to the next victim. And the next. Lucky you! You escaped the wrath of the molten chocolate. However, that kind of luck is unsustainable. You will soon find out when you begin hating such books. Even claiming that the author has lost touch with their writing skills. But guess what is cooking in your brain, ‘You are feeling stuck after reading lots of books and not applying what you are learning!’

Do this to avoid that kind of burnout. Pick a few phrases or vocabularies and apply them to your daily diction. That way, your brain will appreciate the reading and learning process and encourage you to read some more.

Your brain, just like your tummy wants you to make use of what you read. Chewing the words and pushing them up your mental belly is not enough. Those words contain nutrients that demand absorption. Your system needs them, hence the need for application.

So when you grab that self-help book or a romance novel, avoid reading cover to cover just to brag on Facebook that you nailed it. That is not why the author wrote it. Instead, argue out the author’s thoughts in a review, apply what you find workable, better still, discuss the book with friends.

3. Discover

The application process births something even more delicious than just reading the book. As you write that review or comment for this article, you may realize that there is more than what the author wrote while experimenting. You may even find that not everything they said works for you. That does not mean the author lied. They only shared their opinion. Your work is to meditate on it, test it out, and rewrite your story.

You would never discover what works and what does not until you put to use what you learn. Experience enlightens.

4. Teach

In the abundance of experience, your brain propels you to share. The more you read, the more you find yourself engaging in conversations and activities you otherwise would not venture into.

You argue out points with intelligence and soon surround yourself with folks who turn you into their go-to person in the __(insert the topic you have been reading about). Even though for a season.

You inspire them with the experience garnered from applying what you learnt. And become the new genius in the block. That is how you become a teacher.

5. Expand

Remember every good teacher you have come across this far? What made them stand out?

Nature has a way of rewarding those who share what they know. The more you teach, the more you grow.

Great teachers are those who keep learning, researching and testing what they learn to see what works, when, how, and what does not. And then every time they teach, their students ask questions propelling them to reason from different viewpoints. Thus expanding their mental prowess!

That could be you.

To Read or Not To Read

So whether you are reading E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, or clinging on an old copy of Abbott’s Physics for Today and Tomorrow, the process is the same. You must turn yourself on to keep enjoying. Otherwise, you will soon feel stuck after reading.

People who care always share!
Categories: Blog

Magdalene Kamau

Also known as My_Darling, is a ghostwriter, storyteller and a talent evangelist who advocates for turning talents and passions into products of service to others while making a profit while at it. Twitter | Blog

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