4 Secrets to Comprehending at Super Fast Rates That You Need to Speed Read?

89A favorite pastime of mine is to ask people what it means to “speed read?” Invariably the more people I ask, the more different answers I get. Usually their answers have something to do with reading faster than they currently do.

Rarely does someone include in the definition mentioning comprehension, or understanding printed material along with the speed. Unfortunately if you do not understand material while reading it, then it is not reading! In fact, one of the most often questions I get concerns the possibility of comprehending at fast speeds, especially speeds over 600 words per minute.

There are 4 secrets to comprehension at what we would call “super fast” speed reading, with speeds above 600 words per minute. Below that speed threshold then the type of reading being done is pretty much faster traditional linear reading with the eyes moving generally left to right and line-by-line.

The four secrets to comprehension at high speeds are:

1. Reading visually – due to how you were originally trained to read you probably learned to sound out words aloud. In the beginning years of your reading life you also probably read aloud in order to get the reinforcement from an adult teacher or parent. Now, as an adult reader you are probably still sounding things out in your head. This is called sub-vocalization.

Sub-vocalization creates a problem for the speed reader because our minds can only understand spoken language up to about 450, and no more than 600 words per minute.

Reading is taking visual symbols (the print) and getting meaning from them. Comprehension does not require us to sound things out and hear them. So learn to read and rely on the visual input.

2. Read for meanings, not grammatical sequence – This will allow you to read above that 600 words per minute threshold especially for informational types of reading. Reading is a thinking skill, or cognitive skill. How often do you think in grammatically correct sentences? Thinking is comprised of images, feelings, ideas, and concepts. Seldom do we need to think in grammatical sequence. When learning to speed read, this becomes a challenge merely because of habit. Understand me you do? Yes, that sentence is purposely out of grammatical sequence to demonstrate that we can understand meaning outside of expected order.

3. Use Your Natural Dimensional Sight – Our sight is naturally dimensional. We see things as wholes. There is a vertical and horizontal axis that when applied to print at normal reading distances is usually about 1- 3 inches in diameter. If you look at a printed page and experiment by looking at a chunk of text without trying to understand it, you’ll observe that you can clearly see all the words contained inside that “cone of sight.” We refer to this cone of sight as dimensional sight.

4. Perceiving Wholes – Our brain naturally seeks understandings as wholes, not pieces or parts. For example, when you look at a chair, the mind understands “chair,” rather than wood + legs + seat + seat back = chair. The latter is how most people approach comprehension and contributes heavily to the failure to read much above 450-600 words per minute. Perceiving wholes requires a complete shift in how we approach comprehension.

These 4 secrets are natural abilities of your brain/mind. However, due to your old ingrained habits you are not applying them to your reading. With proper training and practice you will be able to make the shift to becoming a dynamic speed reader with whatever level of comprehension you desire. From that practice a whole new world of learning will unfold for you. Will you take that challenge?

Got Brain Acceleration?

88The Secret of Brain Acceleration

Are you in the world of persuasion and influence, and convincing folks to
choose and value your ideas?

The Gallup Poll over the past five decades indicates the public is insulted
by being called a salesperson – one who must convince others what to believe,
and to act on their belief.

Even the President must convince the electorate, the Congress and the
Supreme Court. Lawyers have to persuade clients to retain their services, opposing counsel to negotiate a settlement, or a judge and jury to accept the merits of their
arguments.

How often do you ask yourself the sanity-preserving questions –
So What? – Who Cares? – and, Whats In It For Me? Do you realize
the rest of the world is always asking these three questions about everything
they hear, read, see, and feel?

The goal of most sane folks is to be as relevant and practical as we can, so others
consider us a useful and valuable resource. I find that my layman’s interest in neuroscience and how the brain functions, makes me suspect as a businessperson
and often a pariah as a social being. My solution is to keep the latest scientific breakthroughs to myself and stick to speed-reading techniques.

Not. Some of the new stuff is too sweet not to divulge when it relates to tripling
your reading speed and doubling your memory.

Neuroscience and Rapid Learning

MIT researchers headed by Thomas J. McHugh stood up at a session of the Society
for Neuroscience October 18, 2006, and said, Alzheimers or injury to the brain causes a loss of our ability to create and save new memories. Not new. What is new is that now we know exactly where it is located.

So What?

This Sweet-Spot is also critical for Speed (Rapid) Learning. Because Use-it-or-Lose-it – referring to your brain, is a scientific truth – you should exercise your prefrontal cortex by remembering the location of where all our mysterious learning occurs.

It is called Dentate (tooth-like) Gyrus (ring), a serrated piece of brain structure, wrapped around your Hippocampus (Sea Horse shape) area, located in the Limbic
System. When the MITs engineered a mouse without this receptor for a key neurotransmitter (hormone-like) in the Dentate Gyrus, the poor mouser had no new
memories to save. He/she could not recognize or recall new locations. To humans as
well as mice – environmental recall is life itself because it is how we remember
the episodes of our daily existence. Before information is usable to cope with
our existence – it enters into short term memory and then saved at synapses
between neurons (brain cells) for long-term recall.

Who Cares?

Knowing the neurotransmitter in the Dentate Gyrus for the first time, (located in the hippocampal circuit) researchers can begin serious work on Alzheimers and
other memory deficits. For Speed Reading – it means accelerated learning is directly
linked to these synapses (junctures – from Greek, clasped together), right at this
Dentate Gyrus – thingo.

Can we train the DG for rapid reading? Give them a break, they just discovered it.

Meditation Changes the Structure and Function the Brain

I started full time meditating for twenty-minutes, twice daily, six-months ago.
Started off hating it, being bored and wanting to quit about three-times weekly.
Reviewing the past ten-years of knowledge seeking, meditating has produced the most meaningful improvements in my behaviors and feelings.

Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, submitted research on his experiments with a group of Tibetan Monks. These folks are both experienced and
lifelong masters in deep meditation. They submitted to fMRIs which indicated their
brain was producing high frequency Gamma cycles per second, together with brain
synchrony and coordination. It was unlike ordinary humans produce.

I know you are dying to know what part of the brain these Monks involve in meditation – it is the left Pre-Frontal cortex. Practice modifies the brain, the same as
practice in sports improves playing skills. One enhances the function of the brain,
while sports practice improves personal performance.

So What Again?

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the science of
Neuroplasticity (modification of brain structures) is improved by Meditation. Wait – we can jumpstart our mental processes by exercising our brain circuits. That means there is proof meditation can modify the structure and function of our neural networks. Davidson offers his opinion that these positive changes are permanent.

Google: Meditation to see how this empowers meditators. Check out learning this skill for life enhancement.

Endwords

What areas of life are impacted by meditating?

Permanent release of stress, anxiety and angst. No doubt. How about
personal healing? Research at Harvard University Hospital by Dr. Herbert
Benson indicates the function of our immune systems are accelerated and improved.

Included are our Natural Killer Immune Cells, Bone Marrow Immune Cells, and Thymus Immune Cells. Add to that our Leucocytes, Phagocytes, Lymphocytes, and
MacroPhages – all involved in destroying viruses and toxins.

Based on a CBA – Cost-Benefit-Analysis, forty-minutes of daily meditation is a killer strategy.

What about learning speed reading skills – how will it affect your career?
When you 3x your reading speed, and 2x your memory skills, you accelerate to
the fast-track with competitive-advantages. Tell me – if you can read-and-remember
three books, articles and reports in the time others can hardly finish even one – is that a serious competitive-advantage?

Brain GYM and Reading

87My day began with taking a class on Brain Gym 101, led by Mari Miyoshi.

She is such a delight!

Brain Gym is this self-improvement technique discovered by Dr. Paul Dennison. It caught my attention because Dennison worked as a public school teacher and reading specialist in the 1960s, researching more effective ways to help children and adults with learning difficulties. As a result, he came up with this technique.

It consists of 26 movements and works towards balancing your brain.

One of my absolute favorites was the sequence called PACE.

It begins with taking a sip of water, which nourishes your nervous system.

Sipping Water stands for E (Energy) in PACE.

BRAIN BUTTONS stands for C (Clear) in PACE.

Rest one hand over your navel. With the thumb and fingers of the other hand, feel for the two hollow areas under the collarbone, about one inch out from the center of the chest. Rub these areas vigorously for 30 seconds. If you want to add an extra level of complexity, you can also look from left to right.

Why do we do it? This stimulates the carotid arteries which supply freshly oxygenated blood to the brain. They help re-establish directional messages from parts of the body to the brain, improving reading, writing, speaking and the ability to follow directions.

CROSS-CRAWL stands for A (Active) in PACE.

Standing up, “march” in place, alternately touching each hand to the opposite knee.

Continue during the course of four to eight complete, relaxed breaths.

Why do we do this? This exercise is wonderful for improving reading, listening, writing and memory. It co-ordinates the whole brain.

The last exercise in the sequence called Hook-Ups. It stands for P (Positive) in PACE.

Start by sitting in a chair, resting your left ankle on top of your right knee. Grasp your left ankle with your right hand and the ball of your right foot with your right hand. As you inhale, place your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, about one-quarter of an inch behind your front teeth. Relax your tongue as you exhale. Close your eyes and rest in this posture for four to eight complete breaths.

Now uncross your legs, placing your feet flat on the floor. Lightly steeple the fingertips of both hands

together, as if you were enclosing a ball.

Keep your eyes closed as you continue to lift your tongue on the inhalation and lower it on the exhalation, relaxing in this position during the course of four to eight complete breaths.

This exercise connects the two hemispheres of the brain and strengthens the body’s electrical energy, particularly in stressful environments such as offices. Reported benefits are increased vitality and improved self-esteem.

I plan to use this sequence to set the stage for learning and reading. It certainly had an energizing and soothing effect on my brain. I highly recommend the program!

5 of Your Good Questions About Speed Reading

86We spent an average time of 126 hours and 57 minutes per year in reading. Reading speed depends on the objective of the reading:150-250 words per minute (wpm) for a comprehension, 100 wpm for a memorization, 100-200 wpm for a learning, 300 wpm is typical of a college reader, 400-700 wpm for skimming and 700 wpm for scanning. Some people read as quick as they speak (up to 240 wpm) or at best as fast as they hear (up to 360 wpm), which is still very limited speed.

Power comes from knowledge. Knowledge results mainly from reading. So people need to read more and more as we are bombarded with tons of information and knowledge everyday. To achieve this goal, reading speed is one of the program for self-improvement. Here are five of your good questions that need to be answered about it.

1.What is speed reading?

Speed reading is a priceless information processing skill using for the best way the right brain and the eye muscles. The brain can process more things visually. This method quickens the rate of our reading without reducing our retention or comprehension. The result is an expansion of our general knowledge.

Reading speed is a mind technique power which enables you to appreciate the beauty of Paris while rushing along the streets at extremely high speeds of 200 km/h.

Speed-reading is a great tool for managing information and time and for making you more knowledgeable and efficient. We speak of speed reading when you reach more than 500 wpm. Some systems claim to be able to read up to 20,000 wpm. More realistic speeds, allowing comprehension of the words on the page, vary from 600 to 2,000 wpm:

2. What does reduce speed reading?

When we make conversation with someone, our brain can easily handle 1000 wpm. But our reading speed is reduced due do the following:

– The bad habits of slow readers that we get when we are taught to read at school. Each word must be read one by one;
– When we read we stop on a word or group of words for a certain length of time;
– We re-read some paragraph to have a better understanding;
– Vocalization which is mouthing the words or pronouncing words aloud;
– sub-vocalization, which is sounding out what you are reading or saying the word in your mind, can reduce your speed by more than 18%
– lack of concentration.

3. Who needs speed reading?

Speed reading is useful for pleasure, learning, studying and working. It makes things faster and a lot easier. Reading speed is for three categories of people:

– People who enjoy reading novels, newspapers, magazines for pleasure
– The academic world

  • College students
  • Universities students
  • Language students

– The business world who is reading written reports as minutes, reports, proposals, brochures, and e-mails.
– Work employees
– manager
– Corporate executive overloaded with information

Speed reading is designed for ordinary, nontechnical material. It is not advised for some readers such as kids under ten who are still learning how to read, those who have the difficulty in reading or suffer from dyslexia.

4. What are the techniques of speed reading?

The techniques are based on the following four principles:

1- Wider the visual span to see more words, or more lines per fixation.;
2- Minimize the vocalization;
3- Minimize the sub-vocalization;
4- Focus your mind to locate, consume and process the most important information in a short time.

Here are some techniques used for reading speed:

– Look shortly at the cover and see what is the subject matter about
– Look into the table of contents to see how the document flows and what is the basic idea
– Scan through the document quickly, only a few seconds per page. Browse the starting and closing paragraphs, the chapter titles, the pictures and captions, and everything bold in the text. Make a mental note of how it is put together and what interests you.
– Get an overall view of what the document is about and what is the purpose for the writing.
– Highlight the topics that you will want to study in details later.
– Eliminate wasted time such as the frequency and the duration of our fixations on a word or group of words
– Avoid to re-read the paragraph
– Eliminate distractions by using for instance earplugs
– Pay attention in the information
– Mental preparation: have a strategic goal in mind before starting your reading. Your mind will focus more on important points and filter unused information when you know what you are looking.
– Do not read aloud: concentrate on making reading an activity that only involves your eyes and your brain.

5. What are the forms of speed reading course?

Speed reading course can take many forms:

– on line course;
– book course;
– college or community education course;
– audio and software.

How Your Brain Affects Your Personality

85In a previous article I told you a bit about low Gaba and Serotonin levels in your brain, and how such a lack may throw you into many unpleasant and stressful condition. I received many calls and visits after that article.

So many of you could identify with the conditions of low Gaba and low Serotonin. Of course there is seldom just one factor that creates a certain condition; our bodies are complex and it takes a holistic approach, and sometimes medical for an acute situation, to bring back synergy and balance.

Today I want to introduce to you the other two brain chemicals that are important to be balanced. What I do not mean by that is that Gaba, Serotonin, Acetylcholine and Dopamine should be present in equally divided amounts; far from it. But you do have all four present in your brain. Whichever dominates gives your personality a certain trait.

What does that mean? If your brain produces more Gaba, you are usually a very balanced and stable person. When you produce more Serotonin, you may take the challenges of your day in a playful manner. A personality with a strong Acetylcholine output is usually creative and sociable, open to new ideas as long as they excite. They are fast thinkers and use all of their senses. Dopamine personalities thrive on high energy; they feel empowered and energetic. They usually move fast, love to finish things and be in control.

Before I go more into the Dopamine and Acetylcholine characteristics, it is important to recall that all of us have all four brain-chemicals present. The question is how to create a better balance? There are typically certain characteristics in people with a stronger presence of any of the four brain chemicals, and it is not my intention to advise changing your personality. A significantly low amount in any of these four essential brain chemicals will create as many problems as will a significantly large amount of the one that supports your personality. In other words: too much of a good thing is bad. You will feel the effects of a diminished amount of your dominant brain chemical most definitely. How? You just do not “feel like yourself”, you feel “off”. I had a person ask me, and I quote: “drown me in Gaba!” This person could not handle the stress, anxiety and insomnia she suffered. Gaba can help, but it still needs to be balanced with other issues that may need to be addressed as well.

Now let us discover a bit more about Acetylcholine.

If you are usually a fast thinker and create your days, weeks and months with a clear vision of what you want to do, but lately have not been able to even visualize what tomorrow may bring, your Acetylcholine may be too low. Your thought processes are slow, you can’t remember why or how to do something, having an attention deficit, are all related to a reduced brain speed and lack of sufficient Acetylcholine. If untreated, early Dementia and Alzheimer disease could develop. Let me also advise you to limit your exposure to aluminum that is found in so many products of modern life. Aluminum is known as a factor in Alzheimer disease; it also depletes your body of Acetylcholine. Another less known activity depleting your body of this vital brain amino acid is watching violent movies, including aggressive behavior and listening to foul or degrading comments. What you see, hear or feel has an effect on your body’s chemistry, which starts in your brain! I recommend daily body and mind exercises, including meditation and spiritual practices to recharge your body with Acetylcholine.

The fourth brain chemical I want to tell you a bit about is Dopamine. If your dominant personality characteristic is a strong will, a powerful intention with a mind to get what you want, and usually get it, Dopamine may be responsible for that. You find a lot of people who are good with numbers and facts, but not too great with imagination and feelings in this group. People who are Dopamine dominant have a tendency to criticize others, but don’t take it that well for themselves. Dopamine personalities are more open and may accept a more aggressive treatment to bring back their normal level, because they feel the lack of “power” as unacceptable. Do you remember that Acetylcholine is responsible for your brain’s speed? Dopamine is responsible for your brain’s power, the voltage. Extremely high amounts of Dopamine are found in people with a tendency to violent and excessively aggressive behavior.

Some of the symptoms of dopamine deficiency are a lack of concentration. Everything takes more effort to accomplish; you need stimulants to get your performance going. You feel burned out and tired even after a good sleep. There is all around a lack of energy (voltage) in your brain and body. The ability to gain or lose weight is also closely related to Dopamine. One of the first signs of decreased Dopamine may be a significant weight gain.

There is so much more to say about how the four brain chemicals: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Serotonin and Gaba affect everything in your physical body, including your mental and emotional behavior. But again I can only ‘touch the surface’ in this article. I learned so much more about brain chemistry on my recent trip to Dr. Braverman’s Path Medical Center in New York where I had my brain tested with very sophisticated equipment. Some of the tests that you can do on your own are available in print.