I have been focusing on accelerated learning this month. Today, specifically, my focus is on reading and memorization. A big part of achieving any new skill is motivation. So, here is a question: What is the one book you know that if you read it in the next week, it would make a difference in your life? It could be on health, spirituality, relationships, management, parenting, sales, running a business, investing or making a difference. Go get the book and make a commitment to start reading it in the next seven days. Also make a commitment to apply the speed-reading and memorization techniques shared today. By doing so, you will have made a decision to do three things that will forever impact your life. Read the book that you know will make a difference, and intentionally work on both your reading and memory skills for an entire book. Go for it!
Let’s have a great week
The N.J.W Blog
Accelerated Learning, Part Three—Reading and Memory
This month my focus is on accelerating our learning processes. Here is our overview for the rest of the month.
1. You Are a Genius! This week, I discuss ways to unlock and tap into the incredible and powerful potential in your mind. We will also cover the attitudes of successful learners and show how your attitude about learning will determine how far you go in your life and career.
2. Six Stages of Learning. Next week, I will talk about how to accelerate your learning and discover what your unique learning strengths and weaknesses are. I will also cover the topic of finding your particular learning style, and how to best tailor your learning to fit your unique needs.
3. Improve Your Memory. In two weeks, I will talk about how the mind and memory work and how to train yourself to remember more. I will also cover basic speed-reading techniques and show you the importance of reading and how to develop a basic reading plan.
4. Lifelong Learning. In Week Four, I will discuss the importance and benefits of being a lifetime learner. In addition, I will talk briefly about a basic plan for lifelong learning and how to keep your mind tuned for success, as well as how to win the battles of thought that take place in our minds.
The Importance of Reading
I cannot emphasize the importance of reading enough, as I have seen the dramatic impact that it has had on my own life and on the lives of countless others I have worked with. Reading is truly at the center of personal development. Isn’t it interesting that most homes valued more than $250,000 have a library? Shouldn’t that tell us something? Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, says, “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for the people you meet and the books you read.” That should tell us something!
So, why is reading important? Let me share some thoughts with you:
Reading opens up new worlds. Reading allows you to travel far away and experience different cultures, religions, places and people, all through the pages of a wonderful book. At a fraction of the cost of actually going there—though, I highly recommend travel as well—you can open up a new world with a simple visit to your local library or bookstore.
Reading opens up new ideas. There are so many ideas we have never even heard or considered. Yet, by picking up a little book, we can be confronted with ideas that can revolutionize the world around us. These are ideas that can change your finances, your family, your work, your attitude—your life! Reading allows you to receive ideas.
Reading allows you to interact with the greatest minds. You could gain incredible insights into the minds and ideas of people like George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa and Aristotle just by opening a book. Imagine being able to delve into philosophy, politics, religion and more with the greatest minds that have ever lived… all inside a book.
Reading challenges you. Sometimes we think we know it all. We think we have a tremendous grasp on a certain topic. But then we read something that challenges us. It makes sense. It takes our preconceived ideas and shreds them. It pokes holes in our theories. It takes us on a line of reasoning we hadn’t considered. And we are better for it, because someone took the time to expose us to something new through their writing.
Reading reinforces our beliefs. We can open a book written by someone special, and as we read, we remember why we believed in the first place. The book lays the groundwork for our thoughts. It reinforces our logic. It makes us strong and reminds us who we are.
Reading rounds you out. Reading shows us what we don’t know while teaching us what we must know. It strengthens us where we need to be strengthened. It shows us new ideas and places. And at every turn, reading never takes away from us, but only expands us, our horizons and our destinies.
Over the centuries, books have brought hope to the masses. They have paved the way for rulers, both good and evil. Books have been destroyed—burned and shredded—by the powers that be. Books have brought down cruel nations and rulers and obliterated social structures that have outlived their usefulness. They have inspired the individual. They have shared the private thoughts of the rich and the poor. They have shown us the way—the way to live and the way not to live.
By reading a little book (just a few hundred pages of paper bound together), we can open tremendous worlds for ourselves, what futures we bring to our lives—amazing, truly amazing.
Developing a Basic Reading Plan
I hope from the above that you grasp how incredible I think reading can be.
Just like most things, reading requires a plan and the discipline to follow that plan. So here are some thoughts on developing a reading plan.
Do it daily and regularly. Set aside time each day. Fifteen minutes each day is better than an hour a week. And make sure it gets done; do it at the same time each day.
Prepare your mind. Get your mind in a calm and focused state so it can absorb the information you are about to make available to it.
Prepare the atmosphere. Don’t try to read in a loud or dark room. Choose an atmosphere that is conducive to gaining knowledge.
Keep a journal. Take the time to write down what you are learning and how you can apply it.
Choose a variety of books. Don’t just read one genre; rotate through different books that come from different angles and make you take different approaches.
Interact with the authors as you read. Ask questions and then continue reading to see if they are answered. If you disagree, write it down. Write down examples of how the principles work or don’t work. Make your reading as interactive as you can.
Read things that you might disagree with. Pick up a book by authors whose viewpoints you know you will disagree with. This can be a stretching exercise.
Above all, do it. Go to the store. Buy books. Read them! Because the books you don’t read can’t help you!
I’m frequently asked to give my recommended-reading list. Although there could easily be hundreds, if not thousands, of books I could put on my personal list, here are seven books that, in my opinion, everyone should read. But don’t stop there—I would also encourage you to come up with your own list.
Seven Books Everyone Should Read
1. The Bible—The best-selling book of all time tells the story of sin and redemption, the story of mankind, of despair and hope. It is quite literally the story of our lives.
2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill—This is arguably the best personal-development and wealth-building book of all time. It belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.
3. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler—This book will teach you to do just what the title promises: how to read a book for all it is worth so that you come out the best you can be at the end.
4. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen—This book will ground you in the belief that whatever you believe you become. It’s based on the biblical idea that we are what we think.
5. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason—Written in parables, this is a classic on thrift, financial planning and personal wealth. Everyone needs to read this book.
6. The Lessons of History by William James Durant—This book gives insight as good as any book on the changes that have taken place over time in economics, politics, military customs and more. Very insightful.
7. The Story of Philosophy by William James Durant—In this book, Durant summarizes the lives and influence of philosophy’s greatest thinkers. This is very important for us, as we know that our philosophy determines how we live and what we achieve.
Start with these seven books and then create your own “must-read” list, and read, read, read. See where the journey of books takes you and how much further you can climb because of the growing stack of books under your mental feet. Let the books touch you, make you think, challenge your views and carry you to new horizons.
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
Tips for Improving Your Memory
1. Use it! One reason why people don’t remember things is that they do not try. They write things down and do not go through the process of memorization. When you need to remember something, commit it to memory.
2. Create “pegs” to hang things you need to memorize. Use body parts from bottom to top and never change them. One way to have 10 pegs to utilize would be to remember your toes, knees, thighs, hips, lungs, shoulders, collar, face, top of the head, and then the ceiling. Then, to remember the points or items, create a picture attached to each body part. For example, to remember a grocery list, you would start by picturing eggs cracked between your toes, bacon wrapped around your knees, bread stuck to your thighs, etc. You can do the same thing for speeches, product demonstrations, etc.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you want to memorize something, say it in order, over and over, until you have it.
4. Create acronyms.
5. For names, create a picture. For example, when you meet a Dave, picture a small person diving off of his head. For Sally, picture a (silly) clown dancing on her forehead, etc. You may think it is weird, but it works! The proof is in the pudding!
Tips for Improving Your Reading Speed
1. Read, read, read. Just like any task, the more you do it, the faster you can get. Ask a beginning auto shop student to rebuild an engine, and it will take a while. Ask a mechanic with 30 years’ experience, and it won’t take much time at all. It is the same with reading.
2. Develop your vocabulary. The better you know the language, the easier it will be for you to read faster.
3. Don’t move your lips while you read. It slows you down.
4. Don’t make any noises while you read. It is your subconscious trying to read with you, and it slows you down.
5. Don’t read each word individually. That slows you down. Read groups of words together, and your mind puts them together in logical order. For example, take this group of words, which are purposefully out of sequence. Your mind sees them and automatically puts them in order. It is even quicker when the words are in logical order:
“store let’s to go the”
And, of course, that sentence is: “Let’s go to the store.”
6. Sweep your hand gently and quickly through the middle section of the page and read as you go. Start slowly, practicing, and then go faster and faster until you reach your highest rate.
7. Practice. Like everything, it takes practice. The more you do it, the better you will get.
You can improve your memory. You can improve the rate at which you read as well as your comprehension. Use the tips above, put them into practice and give it time, and you will see yourself making the gains you desire.