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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want

How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want

If I asked you if it were possible to get into the best shape of your life, we could agree that it is. If I asked you if it were possible for you to become smarter than you’ve ever been, I think we could agree that you could work hard, study, learn, and practice more than you ever had. But strangely, learning to be your best self seems so unobtainable to many. To some, if even seems impossible.

But it isn’t. It just requires you to work harder and more diligently than you ever have. Is it worth it?  Just ask yourself this: Would you like to be the smartest, best looking, fittest, funniest, best dressed, most compassionate, loving person you’ve ever been? Would you like to be your own definition of the perfect person?

If you answered yes, you’ve taken the first step to becoming your best self. The journey is long, the obstacles hard. The plan, though, is simple. Define, plan, execute, redefine, plan, execute again, repeat. Let’s go over the plan in a little more detail.

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1. Visualize Your Future Self

Think about your perfect self.  What does s/he look like? How does s/he speak, think, eat, and interact with others? What is s/he capable of that you aren’t?

Define your perfect self in adjectives that are measurable and obtainable. For example, you can say, “He is kind and treats everyone with compassion,” or “She is strong and eats healthy food in order to improve her health.”

It’s best if you take the time to write these things down and keep them somewhere where you will be able to see them at least once a week. This will help remind you what you are working toward.

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It is also important to prioritize these things in order to be your best self. You may have many things on your list, and that’s great! However, try to choose one at a time to consciously work on. For example, you can start by trying to eat healthier by replacing junk food with fruit. Once that becomes a habit, you can work on speaking more clearly in meetings with your boss. Take it one step at a time and see how fast you grow as a person.

2. Tackle Your Goals

It’s a good idea to start with the shortest timed goals. “I will floss every day” will only take about a week or two to perfect, whereas “I will run a marathon” will like take at least several months.

Get started with the ones you know you can complete quickly in order to build confidence. With each habit you introduce into your newly constructed lifestyle, you will be one step closer to your perfect self.

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You will also gain momentum with each goal, which will motivate you towards the next goal. By the time you reach the goals that could take months or even years to implement, you’ll be so full of new skills and motivation that you’ll tackle them with no problem.

3. Ensure Your Goals Match Your Purpose

Remember that each of your goals should have purpose. You may find that a couple of months (or years) down the line, a certain goal of yours no longer suits your interests or priorities.

Maybe there is no good purpose for being 10% body fat, but instead you find it important to have functional strength and cardiovascular stamina. In this case, you would align your plan to fit your new goals. Instead of focusing on body fat percentage, you would plan workouts that focused on increasing strength and stamina.

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Take some time at least once a month to ensure that your goals are still pointing you in the direction of your priorities and life purpose. If they’re not, take some time to alter your vision and your plan.

Final Thoughts

With the victory of each goal implemented into your lifestyle, you’ll be one step closer to learning how to be your best self. Each victory will mark a decision you made and plan that you carried out, work that you did to make yourself better. You’ll feel better about yourself with each victory, and with the learning of each new skill or the discipline of each focus, you’ll find it much easier to move to the next goal.

It’s a long journey to the top of the mountain, but it’s completely obtainable and totally worth the effort.  Start climbing today, and you’ll be well on your way before you even start feeling the pain. Good luck, and I’ll see you at the top!

More Tips on How to Be Your Best Self

Featured photo credit: Courtney Cook via unsplash.com

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Ibrahim Husain

Ibrahim is a management analyst who writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

You have so many books waiting for your attention, but you just don’t have enough time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

What Is Speed Reading?

On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading skills, you can read much fasteraround 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it’s true.

In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

The Reading Process

The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

Next, you start moving your eyes to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

Usually, you take in 4-5 words in your head, or a sentence, at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

All in all, this means average people read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

Speeding up the Process

The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process by at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the sub-vocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary. You may skip important information in this process, and skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

Why Speed Read?

Speed reading is not just quick, but it’s also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before[2].

Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster. As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

Greater Benefits

With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow.

Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

How to Learn to Speed Read

Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

1. The Pointer Method

The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

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As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

2. The Scanning Method

In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

This method involves fixation on keywords, such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

3. Perceptual Expansion

Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

Basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

The Best Speed Reading Apps

The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill.[3]

Here are a few great options to look into:

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1. Reedy

If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the Chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

2. ReadMe!

Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

 

If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

3. Spreeder

Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

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The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace without compromising the quality of information you receive.

Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, speed readers cannot develop good comprehension.

It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

However, there are a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at this video to learn about reading faster:

Conclusion

Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability and reading comprehension, even when reading for pleasure.

At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

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Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

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