perspective

Speed Reading

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The book was “Go Dog, Go.” It’s the stuff of family lore.  I pulled it off the shelf at age 2, plopped down on our orange linoleum kitchen floor and read it out loud cover to cover.

My parents loved to tell this story of what a precocious reader I was. (My brothers would spitefully say I just memorized it because they read it to me every day.)   Still, I was in the Redbird group in Ms. Levell’s first grade class, which everyone knew was the highest group.  I’m not sure I always loved to read, but I had a knack for it from a young age.

As if that wasn’t enough, when I was in late elementary school, my Dad thought I should learn to speed read.  I’m not really sure how I learned it, but at some point I started using techniques that caused me to try to read as fast as I could.  It’s about inhaling chunks of text instead of individual words.  Larger and larger units. Zooming through page after page.

You may not be surprised that this change of speed made my understanding of what I was reading plummet.  I would fly through pages and have no idea what I had just read.  Through high school, college, and my PhD, I spent untold hours reading and rereading to slow myself down.

Even all these years later, I think I’ve still got the mentality of “faster is better” inside my reading mind.  Once I made reading a priority during quarantine, I’ve been off to the races consuming books.

As I’ve said before, the books I am reading are about mindset change.  I’ve plowed quite a few of them in a row now, more like they are mindless romance novels than anything worth ruminating over.  There’s been a nagging voice in the back of my head that says “slow down and think about it…”  Or in a couple of them, the author asks questions at the end of each chapter.  Still, I’ve breezed through them, thinking I would come back to them at some point.  That hasn’t happened.

Right now I’m reading Chasing Cupcakes, recommended by many in the Stronger U Community.  I actually didn’t love the book at first. The author came at me from the very beginning, warning that I couldn’t just traipse through the chapters without doing any work.

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Today in my reading she talked about four stages of problem solving.  The first step is sensing, where you’ve identified an issue and are looking for information to remedy it. I’ve been in this stage for months now.  Reading mindset book after mindset book is interesting…I learn something different from each one.  But I haven’t really done anything concrete with it. Yes, I’ve changed my internal soundtrack, but I need to push forward in new directions. All this endless seeking makes little difference if it doesn’t change into doing.  At some point I have to move into solving, then I can circle back if things aren’t working out.

Time to stop piling on the information and pretending that is progress.  On to doing something.  I’m daring myself to get clear on what I’m chasing and move forward.

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