Why Mieke Van de Capelle Challenges Herself to Read More

The Chief Human Resources Officer explains how reading helps expand her perspective.

Everyone should find their own way to resource themselves, because no one size fits all. I started doing sports as a New Year’s resolution for probably the past 25 years, and frankly it is the thing I need to force myself most to keep up. Give me a Dostoevsky instead and I’ll be out of this world for two weeks with pleasure. What works for you may not work for me and that’s fine. It’s important to find the well-being practices that work best for you, and if you’re forcing it, it may not be the right fit.

Being more a literary person than a sports-oriented one, I challenged myself after two decades of too little reading to my taste (and when I did read it was way too business-oriented) to pick up the trail again of the many books in my home library that were on my “to read when retired” list. I am often guilty of tech and data overload. I tend to be glued to my phone, on emails, social media, or Candy Crush Soda Saga as a guilty pleasure. Reading makes me completely kick all that. I love getting immersed in a story and after 30 minutes my mental need to check my phone has already diminished.

As I won’t be retiring ever in my life (I hate the concept, people will do different things but should never retire) I started by reading again, one by one. So far I’ve dug into Ilya Leonard Pfeijffer’s Grand Hotel Europa, Charles Bukowski’s Women, Checkov’s Le Cérisier, Jonathan Franzen’s Purity and many more over just four months. I’ve got the biography of the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and the new Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads on my table to read next. Whether it’s cycling or reading, it’s important to engage in something that challenges and relaxes at the same time. Change of perspective is so good!

I challenged myself to start reading more because I recognized the need to make choices that better myself. It’s not acceptable to me to not improve my mind through extensive reading. It allows me to explore other worlds and gain deep and different perspectives. There is just no excuse for not making time to read. Ever.

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