I recently took a reading course so I could learn to read faster.
I wanted to read faster so I could learn more in less time.
It’s been really amazing how much different I am (as a person) after applying this class.
I’m not just a faster reader (which I am), but I’m also more confident in language, vocabulary, words, sentences, and thinking.
If you’re interested in reading and thinking faster, stick with me in this post. I’ll show you exactly how…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post —Thinking And Reading Faster And Better.
Thinking Time: A Review
I taught you about Thinking Time in this podcast.
If you haven’t listened, it’s a life changer, so do that now.
As a review: it’s so important to spending time thinking on purpose.
Most people spend time consuming.
It’s what we’ve been taught to do.
Listen to our parents.
Listen to our teachers.
Listen to our bosses.
Listen to podcast.
Lots of learning.
Not so much thinking.
We’re taught to consume and regurgitate information.
We’re not taught to think deliberately.
It’s not enough to read and think about someone else’s thoughts.
What about YOUR thoughts?
What are you thinking?
What is your computer-of-a-brain coming up with?
What ideas do you have?
What do you think about any given issue or topic?
These are the questions I want you to think about and answer.
I’ll tell you though: it requires so much more from you.
To read a book and then to think on purpose requires a lot.
It’s easier to read, read, and read again.
It’s harder to come up with your own opinions and thoughts about what the author said.
But this is where you lead your life. This is where you create instead of just consume.
I want to teach you to read and think better so you can change your life faster.
- Input Verses Output (podcast)
- Consuming Information Vs. Taking Action (blog post)
- Money Mindset Exercises Course (free course)
The Results Of Faster Reading And Thinking
There are so many amazing results that come from faster reading and thinking.
You’ll increase your self confidence.
You’ll be more self assured.
You’ll trust yourself more.
You’ll know more, and have the capacity to do more.
You’ll be a better decision maker.
You’ll be a better problem solver.
You’ll have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
You’ll be set for creating a new business.
You’ll be prepared for that next job interview.
You’ll be a better leader
You’re going to be able to enjoy your life more because you’ll understand how to think about life and you’ll have the time to create and relax (both are required for a fulfilling life).
- Resource: Time Management Tools (free course)
Thinking Vs. Reading
Now, let’s talk about thinking compared to reading.
Sounds fascinating to you, I’m sure. 😉
Yet, I’m oh so very serious.
As a student and teacher of the mind, I love me some knowledge. I love learning (as you probably do if you’ve made it this far into the post).
But have you really considered the difference between learning (specifically reading) and then thinking (what is happening in your brain when you have a thought)?
I have a hunch you may not have.
That’s where I come in. To bring you this oh so very important distinction…
- Possibility Thinking (blog post)
- Thought Plateaus And Massive Thinking (podcast)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance Mindset (free course)
Thinking is something you do in your brain.
Neurons fire in your brain (to connect) and create neuropathways.
I like to think of neuropathways as highways.
These neuropathways are thoughts.
Your thoughts are both subconscious and conscious.
The best news I have for you is that you may think your thoughts are facts but they’re not. Thoughts are thoughts. Thoughts are optional. Meaning, you don’t actually have to believe them if you don’t want. You can question them, change them, ignore them, and create new thoughts on purpose.
Did you catch that last part?
You can create thoughts on purpose.
You don’t have to believe what your untrained brain tells you.
When it says you’re not good enough that is not the news. That is not a fact. That, my friend, is an optional thought.
Thinking on purpose is one of the most valuable skills you can have. You’re able to get really good at it with practice.
You can practice by putting down what you’re thinking on paper. Take the time to write it down. Don’t just create thoughts about writing it down. Take the time to write it. Choose to journal. Learn to spend time doing this every day.
Reading is consuming other people’s thoughts.
Someone else had a different thought. They decided to write that thought down. (And do the hard thing of get that thought published in a book.) You picked up a book and read the thought.
Instead of creating the thought, you’re consuming the thought.
Now here’s the part everyone forgets to do: they forget to decide what to think about the other person’s thought.
Tell me. When is the last time you read a book and after you finished, you wrote down exactly what you thought about it? What your opinions were. What you liked and didn’t like.
I’m guessing, oh maybe never.
It’s not your fault though. We’re not taught to do this.
We’re taught to learn and follow.
We’re not taught to lead.
You don’t have to do this. You have the ability to decide what you think about what you read. You’re taking action on what you’re consuming.
This may seem new and weird. At first you may even try and resist doing this. You’ve never tried this before. But the results are worth it. So, very wroth it.
You can become amazing at thinking on purpose. You do this by practicing the skill of reading. And you can practice by writing your thoughts. And you can think new things about other people’s thoughts.
- Building Confidence From The Inside Out (blog post)
- Self Confidence (podcast)
- How To Be More Confident Right Now (YouTube video)
- Self Doubt (free course)
The Skill Of Asking Yourself Better Questions
Asking yourself better questions is a useful way to bridge the gap between reading and thinking.
You read something.
Then you ask a really great question.
Then you think of an answer.
Your brain has so many answers. I know you may not believe me. You probably think the answer is outside of you.
But that’s because you learned to think that.
My goal is to teach you how to do the opposite: how to rely on YOU for the answer.
Think about small children and how they explode with questions.
I’m sure you’ve heard questions from kids such as…
- Why do we live here?
- Why is there a sun?
- What is that?
- Are we there yet?
- Why does my sister have to come home with us?
They are trying to learn more about the information they’re intaking. At some point though, we get older. We learn to keep taking in more and more information. But we also stop asking new questions. We unlearn that skill.
Because we stop, we may find it hard to start again. You may find that the questions you ask yourself aren’t deep. It may feel sort of choppy and difficult at first.
But the more and more you practice, the better you get. The more questions you ask yourself, the deeper the questions will get.
Just like with reading and thinking, asking questions is a skill you will develop.
But you can’t stop there.
It’s not only about learning to ask yourself questions. You have to take the next step as well. You need to answer the questions as well.
Answering your own questions is something I recently started doing with my team. Instead of them just asking me a question and me answering like in the past, when they ask me a question (typed in an online platform we use for communication) they must also give me what they think the answer is and why.
This allows my team members to get better at answering questions and not me just giving them the answers. It allows them to think deeper and problem solve more on their own.
Try and answer every single question you ask. The more you ask and answer, the better your questions and answers will get. Just like reading and thinking, asking questions is a skill you can develop. When you can no longer answer your own questions, keep learning. Research the questions you can’t answer.
This is the dance you need to do between consuming (reading) and thinking. It’s a balanced dance of back and forth, of reading and thinking. Right now, we’re so one sided. We’re all just consuming. Now it’s time to think on purpose.
An EXCELLENT way to think on purpose is via notes…
- Resource: Ask Your Mind Questions (podcast)
Note Taking Vs. Note Creating
You know how to take notes.
I just know it.
You listen. You write. Then you repeat.
That is note taking.
But I want to introduce to you a new concept: note creating.
Note creating is where you write down your thoughts. Your plans. Your opinions.
Think about it this way. Think about when you’re listening to something like a talk or presentation. Do you just take the notes about the things they say? Or do you write notes on how you’re going to apply what you learned to your business? Do you write down new questions and answer them?
You probably take notes but you don’t create them.
Starting now, I want you to become a note creator. Ask good questions. Write the answers down. Apply what you learn.
Trust me, you’re going to love this when you do it.
- Resource: How To Answer Your Own Questions (blog post)
7 Practical Steps To Improve Your Reading Skills
Okay, now back to the reading part.
This post intertwines reading and thinking on purpose. I know there’s a lot going on, but I want you to also know that thinking about reading and thinking together is useful.
So, as you think, ask questions and create notes.
As you read, do the following…
1. Check Your Emotional State And Posture
Check how you’re feeling and how you’re sitting when you read. Make sure you’re sitting up straight. Make sure you’re reading when you’re in a good mood. Read when your mind is the most ready for new information.
2. Schedule Your Reading Time
Plan when you’re going to read. Don’t plan it before bed when you’re exhausted (why do we all do this?!) Put it on your calendar. Dedicate time to read with intentionality.
- Resource: Time Management Tools (free course)
3. Use Your Finger Under The Words
Put your finger under the words when you read. This may seem like something a young child would do. In fact, it is. This is how kids are taught to read. And it works for adults, too, because it keeps you really focused (so your eyes don’t wander).
4. Practice Reading As A Skill
To read faster you have to actually read. Not listen, not skim, not watch. But read. Sounds obvious yet I was the one who listened to books and then complained about being a slow reader, so don’t be like me. Actually practice reading.
5. Use The Heading To Guide What You’re Look For
Use the heading on the books to guide you through sections. Use the heading on the top of the page to remind you of the focus. Everything you’re reading in that section should focus on the heading. This is another way to make sure you’re focused and comprehending.
6. Take Notes And Create Notes
Take and create notes. We already discussed this above, but it’s listed here because it’s one of the best ways to improve your reading comprehension.
7. Improve Comprehension By Teaching
You can improve your comprehension by teaching what you read. Teach your partner what you just learned in a book. Teach the new concepts to someone.
Bonus #1: Set Reading Goals
Don’t just read when you feel like it; set a goal. Read one book a month. Turn it into one book a week. You’ll get better and better. You’ll learn to read more and more. It’ll become a part of your routine.
Bonus 2: Improve Your Vocabulary
Buy a vocabulary book to improve your reading. When you see a big word or one you don’t know, look it up. Also be looking to learn new words. This will help you to constantly improve your understanding.
Reminder: There’s No Rush
Reading faster is really useful in your life.
But I want you to know there’s a difference between rushing and going faster. When you read this, I don’t want you to confuse reading faster and rushing your reading.
Fast means “moving at a high speed.” You’re taking an action. It’s not a positive or negative emotion causing your action.
Rush means, “moving with urgency and force.” If your action is rushing, it’s going to be negative. You’re moving with worry or scarcity or fear.
You don’t need to rush. Ever.
Instead, I want you to learn how to think and read fast. You’re still learning, you’re still thinking. But you’re doing it in less time.
- Resource: Grow You (life coaching)
A Final Note!
If you can read faster you’re going to learn faster.
If you can think on purpose, you’re going to be a decisive leader.
Combine the two and you have an ultra-winning combo.
You’ll make massive change in your life.
Applied knowledge is power. Faster decision making is power.
You have the ability to use your brain for anything. You can create the best version of you. You can live at a higher level than you’re at right now.
Don’t let that go to waste.
Up Next, watch the YouTube video…