Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”
How often do we try to read a book or study just to “know more.” Socrates proposes that it’s not just about “filling our vessels” but “kindling a flame.” Yes, to be Fired Up by learning!
What we read ought to light the fire in us; to ignite an idea, to motivate us, to deepen our appreciation, and to help others!
The intention of learning is already there, like an unlit candle. When the intention meets knowledge, then the kindling of passion happens. We read to be inspired — to be “in Spirit.” Our spirits need to be aflame!
Albert Einstein warns us:
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”
Einstein’s point is to use reading as a way to improve our thinking. Exactly to kindle a flame of ideas within us. Reading helps us live a more passionate life.
How do we get into the habit of reading and thinking with passion?
“My Alma mater was books, a good library… I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity” (Malcolm X).
What are you curious about? God has instilled in us a unique combination of curiosities. No two people have the same set of curiosities. If you have a collection of books, try to sort them out and learn more about yourself. I have found out that I’m curious about Spirituality, Design, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Leadership, Training, and Music. A combination of these subjects make me who I uniquely am. Of course, you also have to find out which of these interests will you pursue more. Keep on being curious. This makes reading truly a gateway to thinking.
“I was reading a book… ‘the history of glue’ – I couldn’t put it down” (Tim Vine).
Those who can stick to what they are reading for many hours have found the pleasure in it. How do you find the fun in reading?
First, pursue a subject matter that answers your biggest questions. This is connected to being curious. But more than being curious, how does your topic fire you up? Often, the questions that you ask yourself — and find hard looking for answers — are what makes you pick up a book (or click on a book) and buy it.
Second, choose a favorite author. There are writing styles that appeal to certain people. A friend of mine, while I was studying theology, advised me, “If you think that author has made you understand your theology better, then collect his books.” That tip helped me a lot. Perspectives from various authors can make your understanding holistic – and that’s important. It’s good to read different authors on a subject, but spend more time with one that can make your reading more fun.
Here’s something that Thomas Merton said when He reads the Bible:
“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.”
To feel “fire and music under your feet.” Isn’t that great! The Bible surely ignites our souls.
Read books that keep you nourished and motivated! Observe how these books, when read in the morning, can make your day productive and awesome! I suggest you read books that fire up your soul first, then follow through with books that motivate you mentally and emotionally.
Be curious, have fun, and collect books that kindles a flame within you! These are the three things that make you a passionate reader. Let the drive to learn sustain your fire! Continue to live a Fired Up life!
Kirby is an author, motivational speaker, trainer, and songwriter. He wrote the book “The Fired Up Life: Passion Principles to Motivate You for Work and Life.” He finished his Masters of Arts in Theology at the San Carlos Seminary Graduate School of Theology in March 2016 and currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Ateneo de Manila. He was a full-time missionary of Couples for Christ for 16 years and currently the owner of Uplift Learning Enterprise, a training and development company.