Thinking and reading are skills that you can get better at.
Your ability to read and think will impact the quality of your life.
If you read better in less time, you can learn more, leaving you with an expanded mind.
This new mindset will break through any limiting beliefs you have, and in doing so, you’ll create new results in your life.
In this episode, you’ll learn how to read and think faster and better so you can live the life you’ve always wanted.
Here are more of my favorite resources to go with this podcast:
- How To Think And Read Faster (blog post)
- Thinking Time (podcast)
- Massive Results (blog post)
- The Questions Tool (podcast)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance Mindset (free course)
- Grow You (coaching)
Full How To Read Faster And Better Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
What’s up podcast listener.? How are you today? I want to talk with you about thinking and reading. And I think this topic is going to be a game changer for you before we get into it. I want to talk with you about something that’s been coming up for a lot of my clients, and it’s the decision around when to invest in yourself and how to know how much to spend, whether it’s a good investment.
And I think that the underlying thought is that I don’t want to make a wrong decision. So think about why you pay for anything. I’ll give you the example of me getting my hair done. I could go to the store or to Sally Beauty or something and get a box of hair dye. In fact, when COVID first started and I needed a haircut, I pulled up a YouTube video. I got the scissors out, kitchen scissors, no less.
And I cut my hair and it was totally fine. So why don’t I continue to just do that for free? Like I could, some people do, but for me I value the experience and the quality. So I pay hundreds of dollars every six weeks to get my hair professionally colored and cut.
I know that I could do this for a lot less money or for free pretty much, but I don’t. I intentionally go spend more because I want more value. I want the experience. I want a higher quality product. I want better results. And it’s not just me. We do this all the time. In different ways. We buy an expensive cup of coffee. The same is true with programs. So the reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s not really coming up for my programs, but I hear it a lot when I’m coaching clients.
So they’ll say, I don’t really know whether to invest in this program or not. It’s expensive for me. I’m not really sure if I’ll get the results. And the underlying thought is I don’t want to make the wrong decision. And I want to be sure that the program is going to get me the results. And the truth is that something is only a wrong decision if you decide it’s a wrong decision.
And if you go into it thinking this might be a wrong decision, you are going to find evidence to support that conclusion. You get to decide whether something is worth the money, and it’s never going to be the program that gets you the results. I talked about this a little bit before, but it’s worth repeating. The program never gets you the results. The program is the information and you have to actually apply it.
I remember when I first started my reading course and there were certain skills like meta skills in the course that I learned. And I was met with a little bit of disappointment initially, because I had the thought, Oh man, like now I have to do the work. I thought that by purchasing the course, that was enough.
But the truth is that I’m the creator of my results all the time. And I know this, but we forget it when we want something and we buy the solution. There’s still more work to be done. So I want you to just keep in mind that you can make any investment, a good decision, and you can create your result. So when I make a decision, whether to invest in something, I’m not thinking, I hope this is the right decision. I hope this gets me the result I go into it, confident that I’m the creator of my results.
And my thinking is something like, I can’t wait to learn something new. I’m going to look for the one thing that’s going to be a game changer for me. So I’m not looking for all of the things. There’s a lot of programs that I take that will give you, you know, one to a hundred and maybe I just need 30 to 70 or something like that. Right.
One to 30 I’ve already done. I already know. It’s totally fine. I don’t make that mean it was a bad decision or a waste of money. I think this is valuable for you to get, because what I’m seeing is that a lot of my students are thinking that the value is in the consumption. And if you’re consuming and learning without applying, it’s just for entertainment and that’s okay too. But just be really clear about the purpose of your investment.
Is it simply to learn, or is it actually to apply this to your life? If it’s to apply this to your life, then that one thing that you learn can be worth the entire price of whatever it is that you purchased. And it doesn’t have to be that you get a monetary return. It can be a return in any way. So my reading class, I didn’t get a monetary return, but the return I got was knowing how to apply these skills and actually applying them.
So I am actually a faster reader now, and I understand how to read and continue to improve that skill. So if I continue to do this day after day, week after week, year after year, the compound effect of that is worth 10 times the price of the course. So I took the Quick Reading Course by Jim Quick, it was $297, so worth the money, but I went into it with the mindset that I’m going to learn new skills.
I’m going to apply this to my life. I can’t wait to learn something new. There was tons of stuff in there that I already knew, but I approached it with the mindset of what don’t I know yet that I can learn. Like I went into it with a beginner’s mind. I want to bring this up because I think of myself as a forever student. So by listening to this podcast, I assume that you also like to learn and grow in this mindset around when to invest and how to invest in yourself is really important.
And this is not just for the one off course you might buy, but it’s for bigger decisions, like programs like college, like, you know, training programs, certifications. If you decide it’s going to be worth the investment and that you’re going to do the work show up, apply the work, then it will be worth it.
I don’t think there’s ever been a course that I didn’t think was worth the money. And I spend thousands of dollars on courses. I’ve invested in myself to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I will continue to do that. So why would I do that? Because the return is so great. The value is so great.
I think that all information is accessible with the internet and you can pretty much get it there for free. So I could sit there all day and type into Google and look up things, but I wouldn’t do it in the way that someone teaching it, who knows more that I know would do. So I’m paying to get my time back. I’m paying to get the success path I’m paying for speed. It’s why people go to conferences and pay thousands of dollars for one conference or coaching. Just a little mindset shift that I think will serve you in the long run.
Now I want to get into today’s topic. It is thinking and reading faster and better. I came up with this topic for you after taking my reading course, and I wanted to talk about why I took it and why you would even want to think and read faster and better. So I decided to take the reading course because my thinking was, if I could read faster than I could learn more in less time.
Learning and then applying is how I’ve created all of the results in my life. So if I want to create greater results in less time, the way to do that is to buy back my time is to be able to consume more in less time so that I have more time to think, to apply, to create, because let’s be honest. We all have books in our audible account, on our wishlist, in our Amazon carts on our bookshelves that we’re not reading because fill in the blank. We quote unquote, don’t have time. It’s not that we don’t have time. It’s at the time that we have, we don’t want to spend on reading because we have other priorities. So what I wanted to do is buy back some of that time. And that’s what I did.
Why is this relevant to you is because thinking and reading faster and better is how you change your life. So if you truly want to change your life, you have to change your mind. And the way that you change your mind is by reprogramming your brain. You with me, the way you do that is through awareness of what you’re currently thinking. And by practicing new thoughts, this is what I do as a life coach.
So if you want to change your life, you have to change those neuropathways. You have to change that wiring. The way you change the wiring is through awareness of what that wiring currently is, and then practicing new thoughts. So they become new beliefs, but there’s a catch. If you never learn new information, your brain will be limited by the thoughts that you already have, which are based on your experiences, your education, your family, all of those things.
So the way that you become limitless and expand your capacity to grow, to change, to get new results is to have new experiences, to read, to learn, to coach yourself and to get coaching. You do these things so that your brain expands so that you can think and believe different thoughts. So you become a different person. So you have different results.
Reading is one skill thinking is another skill. And both of them are really, really important because right now your brain thinks in a certain way, and that’s, what’s getting you your results. And if you want to get new results, you have to think in a new way. But how do you do that? Part of it is coaching. Part of it is learning, right? That’s why in Grow You.
It’s not just coaching. I’m actually teaching in there as well. I teach you here for free on the podcast. I want to teach you how to think faster and better and read faster and better, because those are two skills that are going to help you expand your mind and change your life. I love the analogy of your brain being like a computer. So think of a computer that you buy from the Apple store, you buy this iMac and it’s great.
It can do lots of things on its own, but then you purchase Microsoft Office and you get an upgraded version of certain things, right? Your PowerPoint and your office, and all of the other things that Microsoft has, you can now do that you couldn’t do before. The same is true for any other program you install. So there’s lots of different programs. You can install on your computer.
You don’t need all the programs, but if you just stick with the default programs that come with your computer, you’re limited. Another limitation is the time it takes to install a new program. So if you take 15 hours to install a new program into your computer, and every single new program takes that long, it’s going to be limiting. You can’t put all the programs in your computer and take that much time. So you’re limited by time.
Now, if you learn that there are other ways to install programs that save you that time, you can install a lot more programs, get the same results and save time. Reading faster is a way to install new beliefs, new thoughts, new ideas, and save time. The same is true for hiring a coach. The same is true for going to conferences, right? You could probably find that information, but the speed at which you digest it and the speed at which you become, it is so much slower when you do it on your own. Like I’m fully aware that a lot of the programs I pay for, I could just find that information online, but the way that I retain it and consume it and become it is at such a higher level. When I step into a program that someone else who has the result I want has created.
So reading faster is one skill that I haven’t talked about. And I’m excited to bring to you because it allows you to install new beliefs into your brain faster. So you get that return on your time back. It takes time to learn and to consume. That’s why we’re all listening to podcasts on our commute, or while we’re getting ready in the morning, or I’ll listen to an audio book, you know, while I’m doing other things, it’s, time-saving something that I’ve realized through all of this is one of my goals in the next kind of evolution of me and my life is to get so much more time back so that I have the luxury of sitting down and reading a book and not doing anything else. Sounds silly, but think about it.
There’s always something else to be doing, especially as a business owner and for you as a business owner or as an employee or as a stay at home, mom, maybe you can relate to the idea that it would be a luxury to sit down for several hours and read a book uninterrupted.
I don’t know for me, that’s a luxury. I can do it here and there, but I want to bring more of that into my life. And I want to be able to read and comprehend at a faster rate. And then on the other side of that, I want to create time to think. So consuming is not the same thing as creating.
If you haven’t listened to the Thinking Time or Input Versus Output episodes, highly recommend those most of the time we just consume. And it just goes back to how we’re raised and taught, particularly in Western culture, learn from your parents, go to school, learn, learn, learn, regurgitate what you learn. We’re not really taught to think for ourselves or to create space for that. So one of the things that I’m doing more of is creating more space to think. So after I read a book or after I hear an idea, I have this new idea.
So my brain is now expanded to something that it didn’t know about before, but I’m not just going to agree with it on default. I’m going to decide, do I agree with that? What else can I add? What else is in there? Right. My brain has a lot of answers to questions that I can ask after I consume, instead of this fear based, we have to know everything that takes us from one book to the next, to the next, without thinking and creating.
When I think about my life so far, and I think about how potentially it’s only a third of the way complete, who knows, but that’s what I’m going to go with. I think about how many identities I’ve already had as the oldest of three, as a daughter of an alcoholic. You know, I think of all of the identities I have had and the struggles I’ve had.
And I think about who I am now. And I think about how I did that. And I think about this because I want to be able to teach you how to use the skills I’m using in your life. And over and over, I come back to, you have to think and feel differently because your thoughts and feelings create who you are. So I am constantly shredding identities and moving into my future self.
I even look back at who I was last summer, and it’s really crazy. I’m unrecognizable my lifestyle. I was single. I was going out with friends a lot. I was still drinking. I was enjoying Chicago as the city was open. I don’t think any of that is bad. I don’t have any regrets at all. I just see that I’m so different. My hair is different. I look different. You can just tell, even looking at the Grow You videos in the very beginning compared to now there’s a different energy and neither is right or wrong or bad or good.
This is just the next evolution for me. And it’s creating different results for me, the results that I intended, which means I’m going to do more of it. We can always evaluate our results and say, okay, did that work or not? Let’s try something different if it didn’t work. So for you, think about your thoughts and feelings right now, and think about the results you have with your life and your relationships, with your money, with your career, all of it.
And regardless of the circumstances, I want you to think empowering thoughts that serve you, even in the middle of a pandemic. I just don’t see a downside. So maybe you thought you were going to make millions as a restaurant owner. And now you’re going to change that and you’re going to make millions doing something else. So just know that as the world changes and as circumstances changed, and as it puts our brains into the spell of uncertainty, you still have your brain, you still have your consciousness, you still have your agency.
You still have the power to think. And the better you get at thinking, the better your life gets. And part of that is reading. Part of that is learning so that you can see what you once couldn’t see the result. Of reading and thinking faster and better is that you will have an increased confidence in yourself because you will trust yourself.
You will have practiced the skill of thinking so much that you start to rely on your own inner wisdom, but that comes from knowing that you have the answers, which often comes from learning that from someone else, most of us grow up thinking that the answers are out there that we need to read and that we need to ask someone else questions. Whether it’s our teacher, professor, boss, parents, we don’t have this inherent trust in ourselves. And I want you to learn it.
I want you to practice it. And it is a way for you to feel more certain in yourself when there’s crazy stuff happening in the world. And that you want to think it’s crazy. You still know that you have, you, you will be a better problem solver and you will also have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Think of the leaders in the world, think of their think and their power to think fast and make decisions fast, right? They’re thinking and reading so fast and getting results quicker with greater focus.
And I think that the ultimate result is that you actually enjoy your life more, not less because you make decisions that are aligned with what you want. So at first you might think that you want to create more money and then you do that. And then you realize, yes, you want to create more money, but you also want to create more time. And then you realize the next level. And it’s this growth that is really, really fulfilling.
Particularly if you’re doing it in a way where you feel like you’re contributing, it might not even be that you are a business owner and contributing in that way. But if you are a wife or a stay at home, mom to a family and you’re contributing in that way, or you’re an employee, or you’re a freelancer, whatever your work is and the world. And I think we all have work.
Even if it’s not an exchange for money, it’s work that we’re doing, how we’re showing up. You can do that more deliberately and enjoy it more and have time to just be and turn everything off. But it takes awareness. It takes thinking. Something that I want to mention with the skill of reading faster and better and thinking faster and better is asking better questions. So you ever notice how kids will ask questions?
Like they are an overstuffed suitcase just about to explode, right? You’re just like, Oh my gosh. And they are asking question after question. It’s just like, the socks are popping out of the suitcase. Like you just can’t shut it. Right. And it’s brilliant. Their minds are expanding. Why do we live here? Why is there a sun? Why does sister have to come home with us from the hospital? And at some point along the way we learn to just keep all of that inside of us, we close the suitcase.
We never open it. We never expand anymore. And because of this, most of us don’t ask deeper questions and we definitely don’t answer them. We ask surface level questions and we ask them to other people. So I want to encourage you to do, when you are reading, after you’ve read something is to ask yourself questions and then answer them. This is a skill you can get really good at. It takes intentionality. It is so worth it.
Most people don’t do this. Most people look outside of them for all of the answers. So I don’t want you to just read faster just to consume. I want you to think and decide and take action faster. And that comes from you asking questions and then answering them and then taking action. It might be very uncomfortable for you at first. It might be a little clunky. You might be kind of bad at it.
Your questions might be pretty bad. That’s okay. Do it anyway. So after you read something or consume something like this podcast, ask yourself questions and then answer them. Did you agree? Did you not agree? What resonated with you? What are you confused about? Come up with answers to the questions that you have. This is what I call the difference between note taking and note creating.
So when you take notes, if you’re listening to someone speak, you’re taking notes based on what they say, you’re summarizing. It’s very easy to do. It’s fine. If you want to remember what they said, those are their thoughts, but note creating is different. It’s what do you think? What are your thoughts about what they said, put your brain to work like the super fast and top of the shelf, computer that it is telling you this works. Now, I want to give you a few practical tips that I took away from my studying of how to improve my skill of reading and thinking over the last couple of months.
So if you’re not on my email list, you may have not gotten the email. I sent a little over a month ago now where I talked about how I always used to think I was a bad reader and I identified as a bad reader. And I just thought this was my identity. It was fascinating to me to learn in the course that there’s no such thing as a bad reader.
It’s just like I talk about with being a procrastinator or anything else. When you say I am, right? Anything that comes after I am, you are creating more of as your future. So I don’t want to create more of being a bad reader. You can switch that phrasing around and say, I’m in the habit of reading slowly, or I’m working on improving my reading skill. That little shift puts you into action. It gives you control.
It takes it from being your identity to something that you can actually change. I found that to be so helpful and I’ve really started to pay attention to whenever I do this in other areas. Okay.
Now let me give you a few practical tips that I know for those of you who love, love the practical. This will help you with reading. When you read, check your emotional state, are you reading before bed? When you’re tired, this is the worst. Why do we all do this? We like squeeze it in when we’re tired, how can you expect to consume and to retain and to take it seriously and improve if you’re doing it kind of as an afterthought.
So it’s making, reading an intentional part of your day and it’s practicing reading as a skill. It’s not just listening to audio books. It’s actually reading. It’s getting your eyes moving across the page and seeing the words I’ll link to the vocabulary builder workbook that I also started using a couple months ago.
That’s been really helpful for me along with the reading course, because reading requires you to read words stating the obvious here. But if your vocabulary is something that you also need work on, which I definitely do, then that will slow you down. So practicing seeing words and their definitions is just really helpful. Again, it’s helpful because it helps you not just read faster and better, but you’ll think faster and better.
You’ll make decisions quicker. You’ll have a consciousness around your thoughts being sentences, being language. So as you’re reading check your emotional state, are you energized? Is it a good time of day for you to be reading? Have you scheduled it intentionally or are you laying down in bed ready to fall asleep and not retaining anything? I think that’s such a huge part of it.
The next practical tip I want to give you, is this something that my brother, when I told him this, he said he always does just intuitively. And I think also one of my friends said that she teaches her students this, this is how you teach kids how to read is to use your finger, to move across the page, underneath the words and the sentences, and you move it quickly. And you just focus on the words that you’re reading.
This has been really helpful for me. It helps you keep your focus. So simple works really well. Schedule your reading and practice it. I know I kind of said this already, but I have it listed separately from checking your emotional state because practicing reading sounds so obvious. And yet I wasn’t doing that at all before this course, like at all, I was listening to audio books and trying to squeeze it in and not really taking seriously how valuable the skill of reading is.
Use the heading of the section to guide you. This has been a game changer for me. I was reading a brain book was called Behave by Robert Sapolsky. And he is a genius and teaches at Stanford and uses really big words. So it is hard for my brain. And anytime it’s hard for your brain, your brain gets confused. It takes lot of energy and your brain says I would rather do something else like scrolling social media or binge Netflix.
So I have been trying to intentionally stay in the gym, lift the weights, read the books, look at the words, look them up and practice this as a skill. It’s really hard. One of the ways that’s been really helpful is for me to look at the heading of a section to see what’s the main point I’m supposed to get out of it, particularly for a book like that, where a lot of the words come from neuroscience and in areas I’m just not familiar at all with.
So looking at the headings and then saying, okay, what’s the main point that I should get from this section. If this is the heading, I can’t tell you how many times that’s been useful for me as I’ve read this book, which I’m still not finished with by the way, very long book. But I do recommend if you’re into the brain and human behavior, all that stuff. All right. The last tip that I want to give you, I know we’re running long here is to improve your comprehension by teaching and by taking notes.
So part of the reason why I was inspired to do this podcast episode was that I wanted to use my thinking time to decide what I thought about the reading course and to come up with my strategies and to decide on purpose, what value I could create and what ideas I could come up with to give to you that I actually thought you would like.
So that’s why this is called thinking and reading faster and better. And not me just saying, Hey, go take this reading course, which I highly recommend. Right? I don’t think there’s a course I’ve taken that I wouldn’t recommend so far. Like I said, in the beginning with learning, it’s just something that I always look for the value in. So teach teaching improves your comprehension, taking notes, improves your comprehension and creating notes, improves your comprehension.
Those are the practical tips that I have for you. And before we sign off, I want to remind you that when I’m talking about thinking faster and practicing, thinking time and reading faster and making decisions faster, I want to remind you that there’s no rush. So I actually looked up the difference between fast and rush. So the definition of fast means to move at high speed. So if you know my work, you know that moving at high speed is an action.
Just that definition alone doesn’t mean that there is a negative or positive emotion causing it. So if you’re moving at fast speed, it could be motivated by positive emotion or negative emotion, depending on what you’re thinking. So that’s what I want you to focus on. It’s to move at high speed.
Rushing is moving with urgency and force. So if your action is rushing, then the emotion causing it is negative. It could be that you’re worried. So you’re rushing. It could be that you have a lot of fear around what’s going to happen. So you’re rushing. I don’t want you to rush. I do want you to think and read fast from a positive place, from a place of intentionality and thinking of it as a skill, a positive skill, a positive tool that you can just add to your tool belt, not something that you’re going to use to rush, to get your results, which never works.
I’ve talked about that before for a different episode, but just know that there’s a difference and that I’m not suggesting that you move with force and urgency, but you instead move at a high speed. You take massive action from a place of thinking intentionally.
All right, it was a long episode, I hope it was valuable for you. I want to remind you that thinking and reading faster and better will improve your life. Why is that the case? It improves your life because the way that you truly change your life is you change your mind, right? But the way that you change your mind in part is through learning new information so that your brain expands. Often a coach will help you do this, but you can do it on your own as well. So you will be limited by your experiences if you don’t take it upon yourself to learn and grow intentionally, or you don’t have a coach who is helping you do that as well.
I think that knowledge for the sake of knowledge, isn’t necessarily power, meaning you can learn and consume and really indulge in it as entertainment. And I don’t think that’s bad. I just want you to be aware that that’s what might be happening. You see a lot of this. Using that knowledge, applying it, making decisions, changing your life, that is power, and you have so much power in your fantastic brain. It’s amazing. It’s just amazing to me that we can be and create and live in all different kinds of ways at a high level. And we get to be the deciders of our lives. So that’s what I have for you today. Don’t let this magical brain of yours go to waste.
Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.