I used to be “that guy” who never had time to read fiction. I was too busy to occupy my mind with unnecessary content. After all, I got stuff done. Learning was a priority. I held action words like driven, disciplined and productive in the highest regard. Why would I spend time reading something that didn’t have immediate application for success? At some point, and I honestly don’t remember when, I got woke (I think that’s what all the cool kids say these days). I realized I was one dimensional, boring and unimaginative without fiction in my life. Seriously. Can you picture me boring?
Much can be said about the value of reading good stories. However, my aim here is simply to point out the value of fiction. You might not be like me. Maybe all you read is fiction. If that is you, then please read more substantive content. But for those of you who only read nonfiction, consider the value of a good novel.
Don’t think of fiction as helping you think outside of the box. Instead, fiction helps you look at the box differently. Fiction forces you to see the world through someone else’s perspective. For instance, The Godfather causes us to ponder the meaning of friendship when speaking about opposing mafia Dons:
“It was not perhaps the warmest friendship in the world, they would not send each other Christmas gift greetings, but they would not murder each other.”
Of course, I am using this as a humorous example — I assume none of you would go so far as to murder someone. But the Don’s perspective could cause us to see our friendships in a slightly different way.
Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” In other words, good art imitates the real world in such a way, it causes us to see underlying realities we may not have otherwise seen or considered. So I suggest giving fiction a chance.