fopylo

My neurotic approach when reading books fucks me up

22 posts in this topic

It's been a long time since I've read a self-help book, and for good reason.

The amount of emotional labor I go through for just one book, the amount of mental dissonance, resistance, perfectionism is very overwhelming.

I started not long ago to read "The Way Of The Superior Man", and it already taught me some new stuff and gave me some insights. So I'm still trying to find an effective way to read books so that it is flowing, that I retain what I learned and that I own the understanding. So here are some examples of my neurosis:

  • I always check how many pages the next segment that I'm about to read has.
  • Once I highlight some part in a segment, I feel I need to underline at least one thing in every segment (I mean on every sub-chapter, and chapter of course). It also causes me to get stuck on parts and think whether I should highlight or not. Both of those causes are easily cutting my flow.
  • I don't take notes because I don't really know how and when. I'm reading a physical copy on my desk. How the hell am I supposed to write on a journal while reading. This will be so super fucking slow and I will understand less because I'm not in that flow. Back when I used to read through Kindle on my laptop I could easily take notes on the place, but even then I was kind of picky, making sure what I write sounds good, for good reason - I'm gonna look at it later. The consequences that arise are of too many highlights (not exaggeratedly), too many notes, and then of course I won't review it because I just overwhelmed myself.
    @Leo Gura You mentioned in your video about how to increase your results from self help (or the video introduction to your book-list) that you take notes with a digital journal. What journal do you use exactly? And how do you make sure you don't overwhelm yourself with information to review later?

The more I read, I also worry that I won't hold all the knowledge in, especially in highly rated books like this one

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1. Read the books you're drawn to reading. 

2. Enjoy.

You cannot effort memory. You can short term, it's called memorization. it's not reeeal knowledge or memory.  It's the equivalent to learning as ordering a sex doll and giving up on women is to relationships. 

 


My Youtube Channel- Light on Earth “We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”― Robert Frost

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Think about books as slow, long term investments. The more you enjoy the process is fine. I take notes on some books, don't on others. Find what works for you. I actually love the process of reading and taking notes. When I first starting reading it was hard though, but the more I did it the more at peace with my long term journey I am in etc.


"Now here's the Sun and it's alright, Now here's the Moon and It's alright..But every-time you close your eyes... Lies" -Arcade Fire Rebellion

Personal Growth Vlog - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzVkdPNRrNT7SN1aoco2MdA

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@mandyjw

I am drawn to that book and it's pretty interesting. The problem is that I can't enjoy it because I'm focused on analyzing it and get ocd from what to highlight and get stuck on some new understanding that catches my attention. All this book analysis really cuts the flow of soaking in the information and understanding it. It's like reading a paragraph word by word, focusing on the meaning of each word, rather than reading a paragraph as a paragraph and focusing on the meaning/message of the entire paragraph. But then I get neurotic and try not to go too far reading if it's been a while since I underlined something.

I've read the first part of the book (about what it means to be a man) and it almost feels wrong not to write about what I've learned. Yet since it's short term memory I don't remember on the spot everything I've read. Maybe I remember 1-3 things now out of like 10 or so.

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This is the common place book. I use onenote for some things, and my reMarkable tablet for a lot of distraction free contemplation and innerwork. 


"Now here's the Sun and it's alright, Now here's the Moon and It's alright..But every-time you close your eyes... Lies" -Arcade Fire Rebellion

Personal Growth Vlog - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzVkdPNRrNT7SN1aoco2MdA

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@fopylo You're being way too neurotic and OCD about reading.

Drop all the rules and just read for enjoyment and relevance. Don't make it so formal.

If some part of a book is irrelevant, skip over it. Don't read books cover to cover unless it's a really good book.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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I used Google docs to jot down my points. You can also use a mind-mapping software. It will keep your points much more organised. But I never really used them also as I dislike the need to rely on one program or to keep paying. 

 

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@fopylo  I would like to answer your questions, but I am not 100% sure what your focus is from your topic post. Is the goal of your post to finish reading a book or to not be so neurotic (or both)?

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22 hours ago, fopylo said:

It's been a long time since I've read a self-help book, and for good reason.

The amount of emotional labor I go through for just one book, the amount of mental dissonance, resistance, perfectionism is very overwhelming.

I started not long ago to read "The Way Of The Superior Man", and it already taught me some new stuff and gave me some insights. So I'm still trying to find an effective way to read books so that it is flowing, that I retain what I learned and that I own the understanding. So here are some examples of my neurosis:

  • I always check how many pages the next segment that I'm about to read has.
  • Once I highlight some part in a segment, I feel I need to underline at least one thing in every segment (I mean on every sub-chapter, and chapter of course). It also causes me to get stuck on parts and think whether I should highlight or not. Both of those causes are easily cutting my flow.
  • I don't take notes because I don't really know how and when. I'm reading a physical copy on my desk. How the hell am I supposed to write on a journal while reading. This will be so super fucking slow and I will understand less because I'm not in that flow. Back when I used to read through Kindle on my laptop I could easily take notes on the place, but even then I was kind of picky, making sure what I write sounds good, for good reason - I'm gonna look at it later. The consequences that arise are of too many highlights (not exaggeratedly), too many notes, and then of course I won't review it because I just overwhelmed myself.
    @Leo Gura You mentioned in your video about how to increase your results from self help (or the video introduction to your book-list) that you take notes with a digital journal. What journal do you use exactly? And how do you make sure you don't overwhelm yourself with information to review later?

The more I read, I also worry that I won't hold all the knowledge in, especially in highly rated books like this one

ur jus unwilling to experience emotional discomfort. this is an excuse. i can this say from personal experience.

• doesnt matter how pages are left. set 30mins or whatever mins to read and do it. 

• highligting is fine. highlight KEY ideas that create the bigger picture. u dont need to kno everything. ask urself this. why did u pick up that book for? in what way would u like that book to help u and jus pay attention to that. 

• jus do it. since ur highlighting u dont have to take so many notes. just write down ur thoughts on how u can take tjis infomation and change the way u do things or how u can implement this infomation. 

 

like i said ur unwilling to feel emotional discomfort. this is the problem. push thru it. ull develop a greater tolerate. stop being a bitc*

 


Rinnerae 

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Posted (edited)

I think you're answering your own question since you speak of the things you struggle.  Like when you say you get ocd about analyzing each new understanding. 

So now that you know the thing you don't want to do, all you have to do is... (I'm gunna let you finish the end of this sentence ;) ).  

For me, I used to try and take meticulous notes of all the books I read.  It wasn't sustainable.  Even if I reread and took notes etc., I'd still be left not remembering everything.  So now, I just highlight and speed-read.  If something really sticks out to me or peaks my interest I might contemplate it for a few minutes.  So much more enjoyable, the highlighting enables you to quickly look at all the important bits if you want to come later, and you feel much more productive and accomplished since you're reading lots.  

Also consider that, even if you just speed-read through, your mind might be soaking up that info.  At least in a general sense (maybe not the specifics), enabling you to get an overall sense of what the book is trying to communicate.  You can then always go back and find specifics later as you need them.  Say you read a book on relationships, then forget about it for a few months.  Then, maybe a year later, you get into a relationship and want some relationship advice.  You then see that book on the bookshelf and remember "Oh!  From what I remember, that book had some good advice.  I'm gunna go and scan through what I highlighted to see what it said specifically."  It's sort of a Use-it-as-you-need-it way of reading. 

Find the right balance for you between speed reading and slow reading.  If you find a book really relevant and interesting, you may naturally just want to read it more slowly, trying to understand all the things said.  On the other end of the spectrum, you may start reading a book and, a few chapters in, realize "I don't like this book.  It's boring and doesn't interest me.".  So you put it down and start a new one.  

One way I seem to use in choosing a new book (this way sort of developed organically, which is what I recommend to people; feel things out, trial and error, and just do what feels and works best for you) is that I start reading several books at once, and then eventually I'll sort of feel out which one most interests me and is best for me to read.  Then I'll stick with that one and finish it.  

As for note taking, you can always just try what I said earlier in just highlighting the important bits (you can also put different marks next to parts you find most important, semi-important, practical pieces of advice and to-dos, or whatever schema you want).  Then when you finish a chapter or even the whole book, scan through it and try to condense it in your notes to its most essential points.  Once you've done that you can also further condenses those points into a short paragraph so it's in a more sentence-story format.

Finally, consider reading multiple books at a time.  Sometimes I've enjoyed having types of books going at once.  Like a book that's more technical and difficult to read, another one that's maybe in a more story-form or that's philosophical or spiritual (I usually like to read these ones before bed, and I usually read them a lot slower; reading like a sentence or a paragraph and then putting the book down and contemplating it for a long while).  Nighttime vs. daytime reading.

But again, do what works for you.  Feel it out.  

Ask yourself "How sustainable is my method of reading right now?", "Do I want to continue doing it this way?", "How can I make this less of a chore and more enjoyable?".

Edited by Matt23

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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@Leo Gura

On 7/31/2021 at 2:10 AM, Leo Gura said:

@fopylo 

If some part of a book is irrelevant, skip over it. Don't read books cover to cover unless it's a really good book.

I'm reading "The Way Of The Superior Man" and the whole part talking about women is quite irrelevant as I am not really seeking a relationship (I came to understand attraction because I want to become a better man and have sex). I don't think a lot of what is said is relevant now to the moment for me, but I think it can give me a foundational understanding right now about the roles of masculinity and femininity so that it will help me later down the road (not that far future). So when I underlying I mostly find it insightful intellectual wise

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@Rinne

On 7/31/2021 at 5:04 PM, Rinne said:

like i said ur unwilling to feel emotional discomfort. this is the problem. push thru it. ull develop a greater tolerate. stop being a bitc*

 

Dude please stop with this. This is not even true. It's like saying to someone who's experiencing bad social anxiety to do massive exposure. Massive exposure is good for dissolving social anxiety but can harm you if your social anxiety is severe. Likewise, for me it's harder because I'm frocking ocd about reading. This has nothing to do with being a bitch.

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When I get the flow of the reading it feels great and I'm just soaking in more and more, but then I always hit a point when I'm thinking to highlight since I haven't highlighted in a while or to highlight something profound that just caught my attention. The thing is that even getting stuck on just the profound this will draw my attention to contemplate it and distract me from soaking in the rest of the paragraph to get the overall sense of what it's trying to say. So should I keep myself from impulsively highlighting now and keep the flow and at the the end to highlight?

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@Matt23

I like the idea you have of speed-reading and highlighting. I think it will work best for me. The chapters are like between 2-5 pages, so it's quite a hassle to take notes after each chapter. It's quite slow

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Posted (edited)

Take notes only after you’ve read the entire book. Fold important pages or use page markers and highlight/underline what you want to remember. Then when you’re finished, take index cards and write out the insight or information by going through the marked pages. 
Write the page number and the title of the book on the back so you can go back to the section if needed.

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Edited by Logan

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Don't concentrate on reading the whole book, enjoy the ride till the end of the book

Enjoy the trip not the destination, when you reach the destination you will also enjoy the destination any way

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@Logan Thing is that the more I work around and engage with a specific idea, quote, paragraph, (basically, the more I analyze them) the more I get stuck in my head, become ocd and try to perfect it and neurosis kicks in. I need it to be quick and simple. That's why the technique that most resonated with me is speed-reading and highlighting. Although I still need to improve on that because I will get kind of ocd on this highlighting, and maybe I'm missing something by not taking notes (?)

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@fopylo Find what works for you. I don’t think the problem is how you read though. Changing the strategy you use for learning won’t solve your neurosis. 

Do you meditate? Check out Leo’s latest video and try the meditation before reading to see how you do then.

You probably just need to do more mindfulness practice.

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@Logan

4 hours ago, Logan said:

Find what works for you. I don’t think the problem is how you read though. Changing the strategy you use for learning won’t solve your neurosis.

I just read 2 segments from the book. Didn't exactly speed-read, but read with more flow and got stuck less. I was always ready with my highlighter to highlight stuff on the go. Didn't work precisely as planned, but it was much better. I did go back a few times just to highlight something I was still thinking about whether I should (in like the same paragraph or so. Not like going pages back and making changes. It was more flowing and allowed the decisions to be closed closer to the present moment.

4 hours ago, Logan said:

Do you meditate?

Yes. Usually 30 minutes Do Nothing every morning and then 30 minutes mindfulness towards night.

Today I extended my Do Nothing to 1 hour. It was quite tough but I felt it did something to my brain.

The Do Nothing meditation helps me develop higher sensitivity to seizing control over my attention, making it more enjoyable and natural to have my attention be free and flowing; and also becoming more authentic by basking in this void of freedom, authenticity.

The mindfulness meditation helps me feel more the existence of what's happening in this reality, reality itself, by removing the filters on my sense perceptions. I also feel more open to reality, basically I feel I'm merging more with reality.

The Do Nothing meditation gives me the flow I need to read, as well as the sensitivity when I try to seize my attention (it literally hurts. Good. Now flow > control, feels better.)

I didn't see yet Leo's latest video

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