Yesterday I spent almost all day trying to read up whatever I could on photoreading and then tried to practice it. I was never a quick reader as I have this obsessive need to read every single word in a book. While that was quite all right if I were to read fictions since it’s leisure reading, it doesn’t make any sense that I need to go through all the information from business related books when it’s not relevant.
That’s why I decided to learn photoreading to absorb as much as I could in the fastest time and also to take the stress out from reading. I literally have tons of books and magazines that I’ve bought over the years and never had the time to go through them all.
Photoreading is surprisingly simple to learn. It just that we need a little bit of patience and practice to master the skills. Besides, after taking NLP courses, I’ve learned to trust my unconscious mind more than ever to remember all the things that I’ve learned. I believe when I need to access the information stored in my brain, my unconscious mind will get it for me. How I wish I knew NLP and photoreading when I was in school doing my exams.
Anyway, here are the steps to follow if you want to learn photoreading:
<strong>1. Clarify your purpose: </strong>For you to capture the information you read effectively, you need to consciously state a clear sense of purpose or desired outcome. By doing this, your unconscious mind will remember that and it will focus on the information that you want to obtain from reading. Of course if it’s luxury reading, you don’t necessarily need to do photoreading but it helps you speed up your reading by chunking it.
<strong>2. Relax: </strong>Get yourself in a relaxed state of mind. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths before you begin to read. This will heighten your alertness and focus.
<strong>3. Preview: </strong>This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on how thick the book is. You’re basically flipping through the pages of the book to get the sense of its structure, not so much of the content. Here, your mind will gather a list of key terms or trigger words relevant to the purpose of your reading. Feel free to jot the trigger words down on a piece of paper if you want to. Your mind will be alerted to explore more thoroughly on these core concepts later on.
Since I’m still new to this, I actually previewed the book twice before moving on to photoread.
<strong>4. Photoread: </strong>Here is where we need to soften our eyes to expand our peripheral vision. Imagine your eyes are the lens of a camera, looking at the pages as a whole rather than narrowing down to individual words. In NLP, I learned that when you expand your peripheral vision, you’re opening up your unconscious mind to allow direct exposure of visual stimuli to your brain. Start flipping through the pages. Consciously, it’s a blur but your unconscious mind have already picked up all the information ready to be accessed later when you need it. At this stage, you’re typically going one page per second.
As a beginner, I was going at 2-3 seconds per page and repeating this step twice. Just take your time.
<strong>5. Activate: </strong>At this stage, we need to ask the mind questions and revisit the parts of the text which we felt drawn to earlier. We can super read the important and relevant parts of the book by scanning quickly. If you prefer, you can go into more focused reading to comprehend the details. Mindmapping is another way to activate your mind of what you just photoread. During activation, you’re relating the texts with your conscious awareness.
This is the step that you can repeat each time you want to access the information you need from your reading. Once you have mastered the skill of photoreading, you can go as fast as 5 minutes per book. To me, cutting down half of my reading time is already an achievement.
I found this YouTube video where the British mentalist Derren Brown provides an astounding demonstration of what someone could achieve with photoreading. Well, we’ll give Derren the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn’t some sort of trick. IMpressive either way, though. It’s only about four minutes long and definitely worth a look, so check it out: