A few months ago, I wrote about speed-reading after picking up (and reading too, look at me!) Anthony Robbins’ book. The central tenet being that the quicker you can read, the more you can consume. And more is better! I am not a fast or even avid reader, for years treating books as taking me away from doing things. But I was thirsty for knowledge! I figured quicker reading would help, and so off I set. As instructed by Anthony I timed my reading of a page. It was about 250-260 words per minute. Adopting different techniques this increased to 300 quite quickly. Well, I’m happy to say that many months on, this has changed significantly to . . . 240 words per minute. Gah! What the hell happened? I’ve literally retarded!
Well, I changed my view of reading. Instead of being something I consume guiltily as I hasten on to something else, I realised that since I love writing, reading is effectively study. Additionally, it’s extremely relaxing. As per my last post, snuggling up on the couch with a book in the sunshine with a cup of tea and a biscuit will be my first request before facing the firing squad. Well, second request. First request will be ‘can I have the guns please?’
The method that we use to consume knowledge now seems as important as the skill itself, and how quickly we can attain it. And why not? This enables you to move onto the next life-changing kernel of understanding, after all. Whilst acquiring knowledge certainly isn’t to be poo-pooed, for me re-discovering that I thoroughly enjoyed reading a good book and not labouring through one for speed’s sake meant a great deal. I plod through at a comfortable pace, a little above the average of 200 words per minute, but well below the 700 or even 1000 words per minute of the top 0.5% of society. And you know what? I’m fine with that.
On the other side of the fence to constant and quicker achievement is mindfulness, of being present in the moment and enjoying it for what it is. If the subject is of particular interest or there is some beautiful wordplay which has captured my eye, I’ll slow down, re-read it once or twice, and perhaps deliberate on the finer points. I may stare out of the window and let it swirl in my mind like rustling autumnal leaves caught in the wind, then ease my way back to the book to continue. Probably putting the kettle on in the process (not literally, obviously). It may not be speedy reading, but it’s immensely pleasurable.
Speed Reading Test
If you’re interested though, you can take a free speed-reading test at Readingsoft where it not only measures your speed (I hit 324 per minute when going as quick as I could) but also your comprehension – mine was 72%, giving myself the grace of selecting one wrong button like a real doofus! But the point for me is that speed-reading wasn’t in any way enjoyable. Like going for a walk on a cool summer’s night or quaffing a delectable cup of tea, the enjoyment is entirely removed if I speed walk right through nature, face-palming grannies out of the path, or try to gulp down some steaming hot tea, inevitably boiling my tonsils and then nose hairs as it sputters straight out again. And perhaps that’s entirely the point: ratchet up the speed if needs must, take your time when you can.
Note: I have no affiliation to Readingsoft
Writing and writing...