Hello, I’m Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed and welcome to my first podcast, living a life through books. I’m a pediatric dentist, but that is not totally relevant to this podcast. It may have some relevance later on, but for now a little bit of background. This podcast originally started as a personal reading experiment. Yes, I said experiment. There was no podcast. There was just me, trying to get back into the habit of reading. I had set a goal for myself in 2017 to read one book a month. It was a New’s Year’s Resolution and when 2018 rolled around, I didn’t think about it. I had forgotten. And then it suddenly hit me. I finished my book goal. Yes, I actually read 12 books in 2017. I know there’s some of you smirking at me and rolling your eyes and thinking or saying out aloud, “ONLY 12? Seriously?” Oh go away! The thing is, I’ve never really finished anything before, well, except dental school, but we won’t go there.
So, before I started this project, I had some rules with my goals. Simple rules.
Rule number 1: Do not compare yourself to others. There are people out there with lofty reading habits of maybe even 50 books a month. Is that possible? But anyway, rule number 1. No comparison. So, if you’ve read a lot of books a month, don’t call me and brag. I don’t care.
Rule number 2: You set your goal. If I wanted to set a goal of 6 books a year. That was fine. If my goal was one book a year. That is also fine. I defined my goal.
Rule number 3: No rule to what kind of book you read. No rule to how many pages the book must have. There are months I’ve read a 100 page book. Doesn’t matter. Again, one book is one book.
So when 2017 showed up, armed with only the above rules, I started bravely on my reading journey. I know there are some of you out there asking, “But HOW did you do it? I don’t have the time!”
That’s a great question because that’s an integral part of this journey. I also have always felt scraped for time. Instead, I would numb my brain, scrolling through repeated Facebook feeds over and over and over as though I would miss something magical or something new if I didn’t check it every 5 minutes. Then one day, magic did happen.
I found a video through my Facebook scrolling about how the average person can read 400 books a year. 200 books a years was nothing. For real? I thought, “Dude. I would be happy with ONE book. ONE.” Anyway, I watched the video. It basically boils the math down. I didn’t save the video to reference it, but it talked about the average book. The average book had X number of words. The average person reads at a speed of X number of words a minute. So, it calculated the time to read an average book by an average person. I can’t recall the numbers but then he mentioned that the average person is on Facebook for 6 hours a day. 6? That’s a lot. And then it hit me with my mind numbing scrolling through the feeds. Yes, it was possible. If I were to substitute HALF my Facebook time for reading time, then voila, it would almost be about 200 books, well, at my reading speed, not that much, but I’d get some reading done for sure.
I actually experimented with the idea and I took Facebook out of my night routine. I substituted it for reading. And before I knew it, in a week I was finished with a book. I was shocked. A week. Finished. With a book.
That was end of 2016 and that’s actually how the goal for 2017 even got started. How did this podcast come about though, you ask? Well, I was narrating this story that I just told you guys about my reading goals and experiments and finishing 2017 goals, to my friend and then my cousin. I didn’t tell them to read. I just told them about the Facebook post and my goals and how it was great.
They both wanted to do it. Furthermore, they both were somehow excited about this project.
One, my friends, Erin, was so motivated by this project, I realized she started telling her friends about this idea. I felt like I created some sort of movement. Like Forrest Gump, “just felt like running” “I just felt like reading” and I can’t believe it. I thought I wanted to do a VLOG, or a book review and after discussing with more of my close friends and people whose ideas I trust, I came upon the idea for this podcast. And I’m actually here doing this podcast. WOW. How cool is that?
So, what to expect. I think I’m going to talk about stuff I’ve learned about life and people or stuff I’ve realized through this journey. I may do some hard core book reviews, my style. Maybe do a podcast interview with my friend at some point, but here I am.
I am hopeful that you, my listeners, can get motivated through my experiences and have fun listening to my verbal diarrhea. I promise to keep it light hearted as much as possible. So tune in to hear about my journey through books. I will post a podcast every 2 weeks. That has nothing to do with my 2 books a month goal for 2018 but with that goal, we can have more material to talk about.
Before I go, I am reminded about the last scene in the show Avenue Q. Throughout this show, we have this character looking for his purpose and finally in an AH HA moment he realizes his purpose is to help recent college graduates and so there’s this kid that comes on stage and you have the main character go up to him to tries to tell him that there’s so much in life he needs to know or something like that and the kid say, “F*&^ you!” I thought about my AH HA moment with this podcast and the whole “reading is great” part and I thought, “well, you can ’t really call me to say F you with a podcast? Can you?” Maybe you can, but please don’t.
Just message me nice things, so I can live in my own dreamy world. Alright with that said, I’m signing off. This is Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with living a life through books and I want to remind you to Water the seeds within you. It’s time.