Does reading seem like a waste of time? Perhaps that is why only people who enjoy reading read. People who read history or study subjects that might not directly be part of their work or career often question why they read such subjects. While reading journal entries by John Quincy Adams I came across an entry concerning the subject of reading. It seems that even Mr. Quincy Adams had a hard time believing that his reading was helping him in life.
I have been a severe student, all the days of my life – But an immense proportion of the time I have dedicated to the search of knowledge has been wasted upon subjects which can never be profitable to myself or useful to others – I have derived so little use from my labours, that is has often brought me to the borders of discouragement and I have been attempted to abandon my books altogether – This however that is impossible – for the habit has so long been fixed in me it has become a passion. I must therefore continue to plod and to lose my labour, contenting myself with the consolation that even – science contributes to virtue.
Though it may seem that the study of subjects not directly related to career could be a waste of time. I believe it better to think of reading like John Quincy Adams, a passion, a habit, that will one day pay itself off. That one day, all the reading will contribute to virtue and will be put to use in some shape or form.