unholy

Book reading problem

18 posts in this topic

Hello

I want to achieve personal growth. In the recent months I am trying to read more books but I am struggling reading and understanding.

Let you explain the following scenario of me reading a book (regardless paper or electronic).

  1. Choose a book
  2. Start reading 
  3. In the first few minutes of reading a page
  4. I think of something else different of the book subject
  5. All of a sudden I finished the page and remembered nothing.

Why do you think its happening and can you propose some techniques or guidelines to have more concentration on reading books?

Really grateful for every helpful reply.

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This happens to everybody. If you're new to reading it's perfectly normal. You should just continue reading everyday and trust me it will get better. 

I've actually heard that this could have something to do with the reading speed. You should experiment with reading at a faster pace or slower pace. It personally helped me to read a little faster. I was focusing on the "words" rather than seeing the whole sentence. 

You might also be reading with your voice in your mind, this is a problem for many. It drastically slows you down, if you're doing that you should try reading a little faster. 

But no matter what, keep reading everyday. Don't skip days even if you're forgetting, it will get better fast and eventually. xD

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What do you think is a good starting reading time for everyday reading?

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Is your mind easily distracted in general? Then meditate to learn to turn off the mental chatter that easily distract you when reading. 

Audiobooks might help, but if you are easily distracted then you will likely have the same problem. 

Edited by Eph75

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The funny thing is that I meditate everyday 20 minutes, around 1 year straight

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Increase meditation time. Are you successful with your meditation, no or little distraction while meditation? Longer sessions also dramatically increases the results.

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 Probably it's time to increase the meditation time because the distraction of the monkey time is extremly big. All I can hear is some thoughts or I am thinking of some problem and trying to solve it.

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Well, you should be able to build up your concentration also in 20 minutes. What aid are you using to keep concentration, following breath and counting breaths? 

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Concentrating the thinking and thoughts in the breathing. Before I used guided but I stopped and moved to just meditation music with an Insight app. Recently I see that when I go to meditate I just sit and wait for it to pass with thoughts just popping up from everywhere.

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Are they thoughts that you can address later, e.g. that they are calling out to you to take action in some matter - or - are they just odd random stuff not related to your life and hence not possible to address? 

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To be honest, the thoughts are that I can address them later. Such as how to go to work, what to do today, thinking of upcoming event etc.

Sometimes I try to force myself to think about breathing and after a few moments I am into thinking.

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It will be interesting what suggestions others can give you. Increasing time might push you to towards getting the access concentraion you need in order to get to deeper consciousness states. In a sense, punch through the eye of the needle. But chance is that you just spend the added time chasing thoughts. 

Time of day of meditation can matter. Diet can matter. What the day look like in general can matter a lot, e.g. if there is a lot of stress. 

Whatever happens, stay strong and good luck. 

Edited by Eph75

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@unholy Try reading before bed, usually i'm very relaxed and in a meditative state by then so that's what i find best. 

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What you said happens to everybody because we have trained ourselves into distraction.

Here are a few things I've done to undo the damage while reading. 

1. Read first thing in the morning when you are more likely to be energized to read. I find reading before bed makes me fall asleep and I remember nothing. Also, sit up straight and don't read while laying down. 

2. Use a pencil or a marker or your finger to drag your eyes as you read. Mark things, make little notes, etc. Use the books, don't just read them.

3. Don't just read any books. Decide what are you struggling with currently? Relationships? Health? Finances? Work? Communication Skills? Read books related to that topic. For example, I read 'The book of forgiving' by Desmond Tutu when I had a hard time forgiving someone. This will make you pay attention to what you're reading and apply it and test it out immediately in your life. 

4. Once you read something that resonates with you, copy it down in a book or somewhere. And then after a few days, you will have a lot of insights to refer to in a notebook. Compare them and share it with someone else, and let them know what you learned. If you wish to remember something, you have to practice it- either by action or teaching it to others. 

5. Start with reading one page if more is too much. If one page is too much, read one paragraph. If that is too much, read just a line. There are no rules to reading. Consistency > Intensity. 

6. Read immediately before or after doing something that you already do everyday. For example, you brush your teeth everyday. So then tell yourself, you will read one page everyday before or after brushing my teeth. And then don't worry about remembering it. Your job is to just show up. 

7. Lastly, this is entirely personal, but I find that my memory is more visual. So I remember things by their fonts or where on the page they were mentioned. Since Kindle has all the same fonts and layouts for all books, I don't remember much if I read ebooks. So I buy physical copies. I let them sit in front of my desk for a few months after reading them and whenever I see them, I'm automatically bound to remember what I read in it, not in it's entirety, but the insights that I had while reading it. 

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Reading sucks in the beginning. Then its alright. Then it becomes an amazing flow experience of exploring life. 

Just keep showing up and putting in the hours. Also If you have Leo's book list he has a fantastic book on speed reading that helped me a lot

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Just switch between books.

If you get bored of book A, read book B and then book C and back to book A again. You will read a lot and pretty soon, there won't be book reading problem.

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Naval Ravikant, in his interview with Tim Ferriss (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7J-Gwc9pVg , I think he talks about this around 30-50 minutes in) suggested using books like the internet.  Not needing to necessarily finish one fully and then start the next, but just have multiple on the go and pick out sections that interest you.  Not even necessarily starting at the start.  

He mentions how most books are long because that's what sells and justifies making a book, and that most books can be adequately summarized in a few pages.  

I thought it was an interesting view.

Edited by Matt23

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?   -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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Use a short timer like 5 mins, and just don't stop till it rings! Start small. Then take 5 mins to recall what you read by writing it down! this will help you focus in small bursts and then train your mind over time to focus and remember what you read!

Edited by Thought Art

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