Reading, the cure for poverty

To stir in the murky waters of life it’s ideal to have sufficient information about the destination and how to get there.

By Malvern Marufu

Everyone wants to be successful in life, but very few people know how to achieve success. Every successful person has passed through specific phases in their lives which have turned their whole life around but there is something that is so common and profound in each person which has achieved success. Knowledge is the differentiating factor that separates the successful and the rest. Those who are successful have come across wisdom which they use to reach their desired destination. The most amazing part about it all is that the successful people have written down what they have learned and how they achieved their success. One very insightful authority highlighted, “There is no new problem that you will face that someone hasn’t faced and written down solution for it”.

The sad thing about us as Zimbabweans is that we do not have a reading culture. Reading is seen as boring and unworthy of getting people’s attention. Our so called graduates are also caught up in this frenzy where they believe that they are now learned and therefore do not need to read. Students only read so that they will pass their exams.

They do not learn in order to acquire understanding. When they then get their Degrees they have forgotten half of what they learned.

Books are the doorway to success. They provide so much insight into so many topics. A well-established authority argued that “A good book can change your life”. The difference between the poor and the rich can be measured by how much one has wisdom and understanding. The rich have acquired wisdom especially about using money that the poor people haven’t gotten. It is regrettable that some of the readers of this article will fail to read to the end of this article because they are lazy to read. This laziness to reading is the true enemy to anyone’s success.

When we are talking about reading we are talking about reading constructive books such as business books. If you were in the field of marketing and sales and you happen to read a book about negotiation won’t that help you in your occupation as a sales person. It is equally true to all other endeavours, if you want to be an entrepreneur there are so many books on the subject which will open up your mind to opportunities which you could have never conceived.

Lee Keun Yew former President of Singapore once said in one of his intense speeches on a rainy day that knowledge and wisdom cannot be transferred like the way it done by computers. When transferring information with computers you just put a drive in a computer then copy information and transfer it to another computer. It’s very simple with computers but with the human mind it is very difficult to transfer information and wisdom but one of the sure ways of transferring wisdom from one person to the other is through reading. We are very blessed in Zimbabwe to have such high literacy rate.

The common misconception is that reading is boring but once you try reading, it will blow your mind your imagination will be more active than ever. You can travel to distant places in your mind. Your mind can ponder on advanced ideas which will work to build your mind into an idea generator. It is different from watching television were your imagination will be dormant and as a result your imagination will not be as active. Martin Luther King’s most popular speeches starts with “I have a dream….”. Dreams are but a figment of imagination. One is wondering why we are discussing about imagination. It’s one of the most important aspect of the human mind it allows for idea formation and knowledge creation which are critical components to innovation. Innovation is critical for any business to succeed it will give a person ability to solve complex problems in a novel way. You will get all this by simply reading a good book.

Formal education stops when you get your qualification and certificate. Learning on the other hand never stops and when you stop learning that’s when you are left behind. Look at how everything has changed in the world. Everyone now is using a smart phone which wasn’t the case back in the early 90s. There is now mobile money which never existed in the past. If you think you know it all that’s when you are at risk falling behind because you won’t continuously learn then you will discover that what you thought you knew will be redundant. The Japanese have built this culture around the word “Kiazen” which simply means continuous improvement. That is the difference between us as a people and the rest of the world we have stopped improving. It boggles the mind how an organisation can sell the exactly the same product for years and expect that same product to sell. Competitors have come in with far better products for the customers which will be lighter on electricity consumption and will be better in functionality.

Those people who are small minded will argue books are expensive I can’t afford to buy them. Guess what they are so many library’s here in Zimbabwe. Better still, the very same person have smart phones. They can simply download free e-books from the internet using free wifi from internet services providers offering free wifi for the first 30 minutes as a promotion. You can then read the ebooks from your smart phone. All small minded people think about is finding jokes to circulate on social media the whole day. The same corresponding small minds will not read anything useful on social media. Don’t get me wrong social media is great it has created so many opportunities for various entrepreneurs. I’m using seemingly offensive language intentionally because it has been discovered by experts in change management such as Kert Lewin that the human mind is difficult to change and the only way to change them is to first put the person in a zone of discomfort thereby unfreezing their mind and then they will be willing to accept change.

The Shona saying “kusa ziya kufa” and the mantra “Knowledge is power” all agree that knowledge is of the utmost importance to anyone. The Holy Bible is also very clear in Proverbs 16:16, “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver”. The Holy Bible is clearly saying that it is better to seek wisdom than to seek riches. If one were to do a quick survey on how many people seek wisdom and understanding you will find out that the majority of people are doing the opposite. They are chasing riches blindly without acquiring wisdom. This is dangerous on so many levels first of all if a fool was to be rich by winning the lotto for instance. How long will that person be able to keep that money? The statement, “a Fool and his money are soon parted” sums up everything. Reading is the ultimate way of acquiring knowledge and wisdom.

The true successful people such as Strive Masiwa and Lebo Gunguluza of South Africa all have at some point in their life read extensively. Strive at one point in his life read the Holy Bible in only two weeks and look at what he has achieved. The ordinary person on the other hand doesn’t want to read but they still want success how then do you achieve success? Lebo Gunguluza one of the Investors of Dragons Den South Africa when he was narrating how he achieved his success. He highlighted that he came to this point where he was worried and thinking to himself why he was not getting much money and what he then did was to go to the Library to go study about the wealthy men of this world. He said at one point he had borrowed the maximum number of books allowed but still he wanted more books so he had to change his cloths and go back to the library and to try to get more books. Look at him now he became a millionaire at the age of 27 years.

There are so many books in the world and they are more accessible more than ever because of the advancement of technology. Reading is for those that want to be guarded by wisdom in their life. It won’t hurt anyone to read but it will certainly hold you back if you don’t read. Those that are more knowledgeable have what is known as expect power.

This power you can use to achieve success because you know your field of endeavour more than anyone.

Our Partners:   NewsDay   The Independent   TheStandard  MyClassifieds