Meta Learning: The ability to learn faster. In this information rich era, the only tools that can give us an edge are: learning better and faster than our competitions and our previous selves.
“If knowledge is power, learning is a superpower.”– Jim Kwik
This technique was mentioned on podcasts and many other teaching classes by Jim Kwik. Also, there is a book called speed reading that talks about similar techniques.
Action Item: Take a nearest book, set a timer of 60 seconds and count your ‘Words Per Minute(WPM)’ by multiplying the number of lines with avg words per line (at least more than 5 words per line). Make a note of it.
After reading and understanding the techniques, repeat the process to count the WPM and compare the results, post the results below in the comment if it worked for you.
Technique One : Know you can improve with practice
We usually end up believing that fast readers and learners are born that way, that they are talented. But that is further from the truth, in reality, we have more control over what we can do and achieve, than we think.
So having a belief that with time and effort, and by applying the tips mentioned below, we can improve is of prime importance.
Technique Two : Focus
Brain is a ‘Supercomputer’ and we can train our supercomputers to focus on the task at hand and get more out of what we are doing.
Tips to improve Focus:
- Remove distractions (mobile/TV)
- Be prepared to read
- Improve posture (siting upright)
Focus and reading fast go hand in hand, it stimulates the brain and provides and improved challenge, and our brains love challenges.
Also, consider this metaphor, when we drive slow, we are not at all focused, we are listening to music/podcasts, talking, and our minds wanders at times. But during racing events, racers are driving at speeds of 200-300 kmph and making turns at 100kmph, since they are going fast, they need more focus, and the more they can focus the faster they can go.
Technique Three :Read with your eyes (avoid sub vocalization)
Notice when you read something, we are reading aloud in our minds(also known as sub-vocalization), that’s how we were taught in schools, this act limits our reading speed to our talking speeds, that is way slower than whats possible.
Also note that some words we understand the meaning without reading them completely, words like: ‘ apple, and, for, of, tree, paper, mobile phone, tv’, we have seen these words so many times, that we can understand them by just looking at them.
So we need to learn to practice without reading aloud in our minds, some people benefit by humming to avoid sub-vocalization, just try and practice this for a while, read with your eyes, word by word, and you will know that you can comprehend what is just being read. (It does work, but needs sufficient practice.)
Technique Four : Use a visual pacer
Visual pacer is nothing but using a pen or a pencil and pointing it at the text you are reading, keeping it just above the surface and moving it at a decent consistent pace to read with a flow.
This also avoids back tracking and re-reading of words or sentences, and improves focus.
Technique Five : Practice
Improving speeds 1.5 to 2 times takes practice and effort, practice the above techniques separately, and later on together to see improved results.
Note: Know when Speed reading is useful and when it is not
Speed Reading Useful:
- Reading through fiction/novels
- Reading on Wikipedia to compile information
- Reading news to know whats up
- Reading Blog posts to improve knowledge in a niche
- Reading through familiar texts
- Reading through lengthy WhatsApp texts that seldom contain vital information
Speed Reading Not-useful:
- Reading Legal documents and Agreements (Read and then Re-read)
- Reading Poetry or texts with deep hidden meaning
- High language like that of Shakespeare or Marcus Aurelius
- Completely New Information/Area of research
Using these 5 simple techniques of belief, focus, reading with our eyes, using a visual pacer, and practicing, and knowing when to Speed read, you can read as much as twice as fast and tick off books from your reading lists, faster than before.
A Student of life.
PS: If this post resonated with you, let me know in the comments, also share if you think it will be useful to others. Thank you, and have a great day.
All the images in this post are a courtesy of Pexels.com