RE: Self Improvement

From: Herb Martin (HerbM@LearnQuick.Com)
Date: Sat Jan 28 2006 - 08:12:38 MST

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf Of H C
> > > Modality level: reading, speed reading (how effective is this,
> > > anybody?),
> >
> >Extremely -- 2500 WPM is easily reproducible, while
> >some claim 25,000+ but I haven't personally achieved
> >that.
> Haha.
> Honestly. How much are you really accomplishing here?

About 10 times more per unit of time that I did
before learning the skill.

Most educated people read at 200-450 WPM.

2500 WPM with similar comprehension is attainable
through moderate but serious practice.

For many people, comprehension improves, but my
(typical) comprehension rates had always been
95-100% in 'normal' reading so I typically lose
a few percentage points down to 90%+.

Even if someone loses comprehension, then reading
'three times' still gives a 3 to 1 increase and
this is almost certainly at increased comprehension.

I use the Photoreading techniques this way -- since
I cannot "really read" at the 25,000 WPM levels.
For the first reading I will move at that speed,
about 2,000-10,000 for the second, and selective
'normal speed reading' (1500-3000) for the third

This works for me, and so I don't dismiss the higher
speed techniques just because my comprehension
ON THAT WOULD be low if I were to quit after one

Notice that final reading rates must be computed
with ALL reading "time" included or the rates are
not fairly stated.

For 'normal speed reading' rates on single pass
are commonly 2500 WPM -- Speed reading doesn't
even begin until about 1200-1500 WPM. It takes
such speeds to force the conversion from "normal
reading methods" to true speed reading.

> > > Concept level: I think that most people do not often generate new
> > > concepts except as children. Concepts can be serialized
> into text or
> > > speech, and then re-encoded by another human, but the
> > > transfer is lossy.
> >
> I think this is an interesting observation. I also think that
> this is an area I excell in.

Cool. One way to improve is to find some (perceived)
weakness and model a person who has a skill that
addresses it. (Modeling is a set of explicit techniques
that range over many modalities including strategies
but also beliefs and mental representation plus others.)

One can also model one's own skills and frequently
improve them through making them explicit.

> Creating new concepts is like learning a new language.
> Anything can mean
> anything, and every clue you get about the meaning must be taken into
> account... not just considered, but actually applied and checked for
> consistency.
> Also I think it is relevant to distinguish between generating new
> instance-level concepts and new category-level concepts. If
> your life is
> lived by integrating and operating within a vast sea of
> instance data then
> you are really making little constructive progress in
> understanding; as
> opposed to operating within the realm of category concepts
> that generalize
> across a domain of other category concepts (until eventually
> lining up on
> the instance level).

Scale and level of detail are very important concepts
in modeling, learning in general, and troubleshooting
(including optimization of processes and procedures.)

> The problem with this being, integrating category level
> concepts under other
> categories is a potentially huge algorithmic task for
> checking consistency
> on an instance level. You have to really be able to make good
> ass guesses
> and somehow understand how to verify these guesses using
> limited resources.

Verification is a key element -- doing such things
and just hand waving results is part of the "new
age crap" that some of these techniques have evolved

The secret in my opinion is to extract AND TEST those
techniques that actually work.

Hypnosis is a prime example. Both self-hypnosis
and hypnosis by another are powerful tools in
learning and self-improvement, but it is key to
extract the valuable techniques from the mythology
that surrounds the subject (mythologies actually,
since both critics and fans misunderstand this
subject in most instances.)

> In fact, I think the best resources for immediate
> self-improvement is the
> area of meta-knowledge like this. Knowing how to "know how"
> in an efficient manner.

Yes. This is a SLIGHTLY meta skill to knowing how
to model (model one's self or modeling others.)

> -hegem0n

Typically the difference between an 'average amateur'
and a world class performer is at least an order
of magnitude, and we see this in sports because of
the measurement that sports offers -- both statistical
and monetary measurements create a sieve for identifying
those with exceptional skills.

Unfortunately in NON-sports fields we tend to think
that the "average performances" we see every day are
typical of what CAN be achieved.

Reading is a clear example. Take an average educated
reader (300WMP) and in 6-10 weeks of consistent*
practice that person can read 2500 WPM with better or
similar comprehension.

* Consistent practice == 1 hour per day, minimum 6 days
per week (6-10 weeks.)

One really cool thing about the reading practice is that
speeds will typically double in the first week so you
quickly see a net gain (assuming you read a lot) right

But be warned: Speed reading is ALMOST EXACTLY analogous
to weight lifting: Practicing speed reading is one of the
most inane activities (like pumping iron) you can perform,
and it is about as unpleasant as moving dumbbells.

The pleasure must come from your mental images of the
improvements you are earning.


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