Speed Reading Tips: Environment

Ever try reading in the dark? Okay, you can’t read in the dark, obviously. But I think you get my point. How fast you read, regardless of what course you take, is going to be directly affected by your reading conditions.  It’s obvious that better conditions make for faster reading.

Key things that you ought to do in order to make the most of your reading conditions are as follows:

Proper Lighting

This is probably one of the biggest statement in the history of reading. But do you REALLY know what proper lighting is? Do you know where to place your lighting? Truth is, light in the wrong place can make reading a total nightmare.

Lighting should be placed at an angle so that there is NO glare on the actual reading material. You don’t want a light that is too bright. A standard 120-watt bulb in a properly placed lamp, usually just off to the left or right of you, should be more than enough.

Never try reading in a dark room. That’s a great way to not only slow up your reading speed but kill your eyes in the process.

Proper Seating

Ever try reading when you’re not comfortable? It’s not fun. And believe it or not, sitting in an uncomfortable chair or in an awkward position WILL slow up your reading speed. Comfort is going to be different for each individual so I can’t give any specific tips on seats, positions, etc. When you sit down to read, you WILL know whether or not you’re comfortable because eventually, if you’re not, your neck will begin to hurt or get stiff, not to mention other body parts as well.

It might not seem like a big deal, but the more comfortable you are when reading, the faster you will read.

Proper Temperature

If you’re scratching your head wondering what temperature has to do with reading speed, you might want to read this section very carefully.

Did you ever try reading in a very hot place? What usually happens? You begin to sweat. The pages of your book start to stick together. Your hands are so sweaty that you have trouble turning the pages.

What about when you try reading in a cold place? Your fingers start to get numb. You can’t grip the pages properly. And I haven’t even touched on what happens to your eyes when it’s too hot. Sweat starts to pour into them. Suddenly, you’re spending more time wiping your eyes than reading.

It may not seem like a big deal, but reading at temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees are most ideal for reading speed.

Try reading in a sauna and you’ll see what I mean. These 3 simple environmental tips should greatly increase your reading speed.

Are You a Workplace Quitter?

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, quote from the King)

The message in Lewis Carroll’s quote is not to stop until you come to the end. If you stop before the end then you will have quit.

The first time I lost Chutes and Ladders to my little brother I told my mother I would never play the game again. Needless to say she made me sit down and play three more games with that “little brat”, my brother. She told me “one should never quit”. After four games with the “little brat” the end result was a two-two tie.

Unfortunately, I was not happy with a tie, therefore, I urged my brother into a couple games of Trouble, where I constantly kicked my brother’s “little behind”. A couple years later when we both progressed to the game Battleship he kicked my behind. I have to admit he was quite good at Battleship so I continued to lose but never quit. (Years later he ended up at the Coast Guard Academy so it was not a surprise I lost!)

But my story is not about the games we played but what we learned. We both learned not to be quitters. We were taught not to be over aggressive, but to be persistent and not to give up. I think this was a very important lesson because it has helped me today in my career. I try to communicate this lesson to those on my staff and young people entering the workforce.

I cannot tolerate people who are self made victims or quitters. I could not tolerate them in the schoolroom or the playground when I was young. I cannot tolerate them in sports or in life and I cannot tolerate them in the workplace.

Today, a 45-year-old male employee walked into my office and quit his job after only 4 months on the job. It really irritated me. It did not irritate me that he quit; it was the “why” he quit that irritated me.

There are times when we choose to move on from our jobs. When we feel that we have made our contribution and there is no more to contribute than its OK to move on.  If we believe the match to the job is not right for us, or if we get a better opportunity after a certain amount of time, then certainly under those circumstances choosing to move on is not quitting. Quitting is when we choose to move on because the job is difficult, we need to work a little harder, we may need to struggle a little before we get the momentum we want or we just do not have the patience or persistence to do the job.  This is what this man did; he quit because he did not want to invest the time and energy into getting his momentum going. He felt he was not as immediately successful as he wanted to be therefore he was moving on in order to seek an easier path.  We are not always immediately successful in what we do, but if we do not try we will never see the outcome.

Quitters in the workplace should take some lessons from athletes.  Good athletes experience many failures along the way to success.  They know how be patient, they know how to work towards goals, they are persistent and they do not quit.

In these economically difficult times we have to learn to be patient and persistent.  We need to find ways to succeed because success will not be handed to us on a silver platter. Employees need to remember not to become self-made victims and managers have to face up to their responsibilities and encourage and coach their employees.  We need to remember not to give up after our first attempt, or we will never become a winner, only a quitter.