Why readers are no longer leaders
Growing up, I was always reading because I heard people say readers are leaders. That looked true then but now that we have more readers who have no idea of what it takes to be a leader, I guess it now takes more than just a reader to become a leader.
If readers are leaders, then the world would have become a better place than it is at the moment. When I talk about leaders, I don’t mean people who just occupy the position of leadership, leadership is following the right course of life and the ability to make people do the same without abusing their volition.
How many of those in positions of leadership know the right course and are willing to follow and make us do the same at will? Are they not the leaders that the readers emulate and hope to be like one day? So how do readers become leaders?
If readers are leaders, then most young men in Nigeria would have become great leaders by reading sport news and checking related information online, but is that the case?
If readers are leaders as said, then almost everyone, especially the females on BBM, WhatsApp, Facebook etc would have become leaders by what they read on those platforms but is this what we have?
If readers are leaders, are we going to have a lot of graduates walking around the streets unemployed and can’t be employed after passing through institutions of learning to read and become leaders?
In this part of the world, it is easier to make a youth seeking admission to the university to share a joke than to share an educative message. With that, will they become leaders?
And if your answer is yes, what type of leaders will they become?
As a professional writer, I have experienced a lot of setbacks trying to get people to read sensible stuffs but they seem to prefer frivolities.
Sometime ago, a friend of mine added me to a WhatsApp group where relationship issues were discussed. Unfortunately I couldn’t participate in the discussion because I was busy and turned my data off. I received about 1300 messages from the group and I made sure I read all.
There was a lady therein who narrated how she was dumped by her boyfriend after a promise of marriage. She was in pains, feeling unconscionably used. She was hurt, heartbroken and needed a way out. I saved her number and sent a link to her to read.
The link contained an essay that could help her to overcome her heartbreak and avoid such a mistake in the future. It is titled, Dating and Heartbreak and can be found on soulerhymezinspirations.blogspot.com. Even though I told her there are solutions to her several emotional issues therein, she didn’t open the link.
She returned my chats even faster and read the messages I sent appreciating her person and beauty but wouldn’t touch an essay that was likely to change her life. I even sent some quotes to her and after several rebukes, this was her last response: “I have told you to stop sending me these things, stop sending them to me or I will block you”.
That sounded strange? Not to me anyway, I am synonymous with “Blocking”. I have seen that many friends blocked me because I sent them life-changing write-ups to read.Do these people not read? Of course, they do.
Most of them can use their last mobile data to send jokes and messages that do not add value to either their lives or the lives of the recipients, but they wouldn’t do such with important messages.
Facebook has become debris for such frivolous reading. A female Facebook user could write about her admirer without any educative or moral lessons for the audience but within two hours you are likely to see 50 comments and 105 likes but if a male Facebook user who has spent time making research, write, edit and rewrite and post it on Facebook, I tell you, in two weeks he might not get more than two comments and 15 likes if not fewer.
The problem is not the likes and the comments and they must not bother you; it is a revelation of the type of readers that we have. If such readers are to become leaders, what type of leaders will they be become?
If anyone comes out saying the youths don’t read then it means such a person is not on any social media platform or knows what goes on there. The youths read more than ever before but what they read has made them become less studious than ever before. The reading culture is not dead, what is dead and buried is a learning culture.
Someone said about Nigeria that, the best place to hide a secret from them is to put it in a book. That’s true but that’s not because they don’t read, it is because they read irrelevant things and might never pick up the relevant ones. The best most females read is romantic novels, gossips and the like, while the males go for sports and entertainments and comedy.
By reading such things do they enhance their intellectual capacity? Does reading those stuffs enhance their relationship with others? Do they make them leaders? Do they not just make them trend followers?
An average youths find reading school books boring and most of them might never attempt any motivational book.That’s a testimony that they only read for pleasure and not to learn.
A year ago while I was in the car with an older friend discussing, I talked about the book I was on and here is his response: “I do not think I need such books to be better, those guys just want us to copy their philosophies and I am not interested in such, I can always get better in other ways.” He spoke the mind of a lot of youths and it is evident why they are so limited in knowledge and might never become leaders even as they read every day.
It is not reading that makes a reader a leader, it is what is read, and proper implementation of them that brings out the leaders in readers.
Most people that reject motivational books lack understanding of the fact they are life experiences of people and lessons learnt for years, summed into pages and sold for token. Most of the motivational books contain priceless messages that money can’t buy but how can they be discovered if they are not bought out of the stores or when people read only the introductions?
When it comes to readers becoming leaders, a lot of folks believe it is all about becoming a student of an institution of learning and graduating, I guess this is the reason why many of young folks in Nigeria are proud to say: “I am waiting for admission.”
Schools are all about learning, but learning is not restricted to the walls of schools alone, so why wait to get into school before you start learning when you can learn anywhere? No doubt being a student of a school is good and can enhance learning but people don’t have to wait for it before they start learning and be considered educated. Learning transcends the walls of any school regardless of what is being taught there.
When I was still struggling to get admission to university, I was never waiting; I picked up handouts and read. I made sure out of the peanuts I earned I bought a book and read at least two in a month. The truth is, even before getting the admission, I was educated and without it would still have been very much educated because the books were everywhere and I was willing to pick them up and read.
Abraham Lincoln, former U.S.A. president and Charles Dickens, the writer of Oliver Twist are examples of folks who chose to lead by reading and with a very little of what you regard as education here. Lincoln ruled America and Dickens ruled the literary world with his books. If you decide to call Lincoln and Dickens illiterates because they both had less than four years within the walls of schools then you’ll need to define to all Americans what education is.
Did these guys become leaders because they didn’t go to school? No. Were they less leaders because they didn’t go to school? No. So what is the difference?
The difference between you and them is in what are what they read, how often they read and the implementation of that which they read.
I defined leadership as following the right course of life and the ability to make people follow it without abusing their volition. These men knew the right course for their lives, they followed it with tenacity and today, they are leaders we are willing to learn their ideologies without being forced to do so.
Someone said he hadn’t read a book for two years and looking at the quality of his life, information and relationship with people, I could see he was on a decline.
They say if you stop learning, you start dying, that’s true, but reading is the most important mode of learning because most valuable information often comes in written form.
My uncle always advised me to be a promiscuous reader, thus I read virtually every readable sent to me, at worst I leave them for some time before reading.
It is not much about what I read but about what I want from them and if what I want from them isn’t there, I discard them but not before reading. There is a saying that in all nonsense, there is a sense, thus the best way to get the best out of what you read is to focus on acquiring some sense from them.
If there is sense in nonsense, won’t there be more sense in things that are considered sensible? Thus, while you should get the best possible sense from nonsense, concentrate on the sensible things to get more sense.
Some people don’t read certain things because they consider the writers inexperienced in such fields, they say; if it hasn’t worked for him then it’s not worth it, thus they ignore whatsoever they offer. That’s an attitude of stereotypes. They forget when it comes to saying and not doing, the wise ones pick up the lessons without giving attention to the bearer who refuses to utilise it but the fools concentrate on the bearer leaving the lessons unlearnt.
They ought to have taken what is offered which might be useful but, they rejected them. Not reading for the purpose of learning is one reason why readers are no longer leaders.
Reading for the purpose of learning is the fastest way to grow, this is how we can discover ourselves and not be thrown around without sense of direction, this is how we take hold of our destinies and be the best we can be. If you want to be a leader then concentrate more on reading to learn than to be entertained.
Take note, many people are failures today not because they are destined to be but because they always want to be entertained.
• Eneji, a poet, public speaker and social analyst, lives in Lagos