If your mind begins to wander – you are reading too slowlyJan 02, 2018
This is without a doubt one of the major reasons people sign up for my speed reading courses. Their constant lack of focus while they are reading. They begin reading some text and half-way through the page – and not even half-way through – their mind begins to wander. They get caught up with their everyday worries, trying to remember some task, a quote from a movie, a conversation with a friend, what they want for dinner, what they want to do over the weekend and so on.
Has this happened to you?
Well, it most likely has since over 97% of the people joining my course have experienced this.
One of the main reasons for this is that we are bored while reading – our old reading habits hamper the flow of information that is processed in our mind – and our mind tunes out – begins to wander.
The main problem is our habit to read silently aloud – to vocalize the words - in our mind. A habit that starts at an early age – when we are asked to read aloud – for our parents or teachers. When we mastered that skill – no one wanted to listen to us read aloud anymore and they asked us to read silently by ourselves. What happens is that we keep the habit of reading aloud – we only do it silently – word for word – in our mind.
This is one of the habits we must learn to discard as we begin to evolve our reading technique.
Keep in mind that a person who is talking can never talk as fast as his or her brain functions. Your mind has the potential to work through material and information at far greater speed. If you are stuck with the habit of reading aloud – word for word – through your text, even if you are reading silently, you are limiting your mind of unleashing its processing power. Your mind has the ability to go much faster – and it wants to go faster – but your outdated reading habits are preventing you to go faster.
The minimum reading speed we should try to achieve is 400 wpm or 400 words per minute. That is close to the highest speed a very fast-talking person can talk with accuracy. At 400 wpm we are close to - and even just beyond - the maximum speed our brain can fluently read the text word-for-word. In most instances, our mind should instinctively be beginning to group words together, which is exactly what we should be doing when we are reading.
When we reach 400 wpm, our mind can achieve more focus and comprehension while reading. Why?
If we are reading at 200 wpm – word for word - but our mind is capable of reading at 400 wpm – we are only using half of the processing power of our brain. Our brain wants to use that processing power – and it starts to multitask, it starts to think about some of our daily worries, like trying to remember some task, a quote from a movie, a conversation with a friend, what we want for dinner, what we want to do over the weekend and so on.
What happens is that we lose focus because the flow of information we are gathering while reading is too slow – our brain is bored when it’s only working at half speed.
I will give you a short demonstration on how bored your mind is at half speed. We are watching a movie – a two-hour action-packed movie. If we decide to slow the movie down – while we are watching it – to only half of its natural speed. How much fun would that be? Would we enjoy the movie at this speed or would we be bored? Or would we want to be doing – close to anything else – rather than sit through that?
What we have done is taken a two-hour fun-filled entertainment and turned it into a four-hour nightmarish experience. A nightmare where we need to sit through a movie at half its speed – trying to gather information in four hours when we should only need two hours for the task.
This is why you lose focus while reading. This is why you need to pick up your speed while reading. When you reach 400 wpm – your brain is far less likely to try to multitask. It must use all of its processing power to gather information and work through the text.
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