Session 1 - Speed Reading Workout
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Since he was a little kid he wanted to become a psychologist. Now he could consider himself one of the few people who became what they have proposed to. He got into the University of Psychology and was amazed by the thought that he will be able to understand one of the world’s mysteries, a world which often seemed to be fighting against its’ inhabitants. It was a continuous war, in which neither the world nor the inhabitants would get out as winners. He was sitting on a bench in front of the entrance to the university, chewing slowly, thoughtfully a croissant with poppy and drinking a sour yoghurt. From the position he was, he could see the whole crowd of people, trying permanently to distinguish the features of everyone, trying to connect with a person to develop his empathic skills. He liked university because he had the possibility to read very much. Lately, he has put reading on the second plan of his life, but he could say that the reason was perfectly justified: he was in love for the first time. The feeling was extraordinary and no matter how much he tried to use his knowledge in psychology, it seemed that it had no effect on him. He didn’t know how to manage this relationship, so he started to feel like it was slipping through his fingers, how it was deteriorating day by day, thing that made him feel miserable and act offensively and without rationality. Sitting on the bench, he decided that he was no longer going to think about her, however he will focus on what he will do in the future. He needed to start reading again, but he was worried that these two months while he was unable to focus will cost him very much. He was left behind with tens of books which needed to be read and some of them even mostly memorized.
The University of Psychology, that big entrance, flanked by a piece of wall of which the plastering was separating in a bizarre way, showing pieces of red bricks, now seemed like a distant dream, a mermaid which lured him into the deep, leaving him as prey to the tough life from the outside. “It is not possible for me to give up this easy! I have never done it, and I will not do it now either!” he told himself determined, with a frowned look and squeezing his croissant and yoghurt. Only when he felt the yoghurt flowing on his hand, he woke up from his daydreaming and realized he was sitting on a bench in a quite agglomerated place. But now, nobody was there. He quickly got up from the bench and headed towards the entrance of the building. His steps took him to the library. It was in the morning. The night caught him there as well, his stomach making some noises that warned him that he should do something about it as well. He closed the book, tired, with red eyes and a foggy look. His head hurt and he felt a true physical distress. He looked at the book he read, quite slim compared to the rest of the books in his pile that he put on his table, a book that represented just a small part of what he had too catch up with. A thought stroked him, a thought that now stuck with him and didn’t want to leave. However, he wouldn’t want to let go of that thought. He closed his eyes and let his head on the table on his hands forming a pillow. He told himself he was not going to sit like this for longer than two minutes. The librarian woke him up, a voluptuous woman, with thick hands and a though look on her face; or maybe it was anger, he couldn’t tell. He got out of the library, but he quickly went to the closest pub. He sat at a table and started to write down everything he could remember. For now, only words came to his mind, like “speed-reading, words, milliseconds, focalizing, optical nerve, training”, words that were starting to form a logical construction: “the eye focalizes the word”.
Sometimes the constructions didn’t come out as he wished, so he erased them anxiously. As he was remembering the course and the discussions he had with the professor from his first year of university, the writing became more and more febrile and agitated. Finally, after more than two hours of writing and tens of wrinkled papers, he looked satisfied at that half page on which there was a writing with a left alignment, starting with two words, about which he didn’t know were going to define his life: “Speed-Reading”. On the leaf of paper, it was written the following: “Speed-reading can teach anyone to increase his speed of reading a text. Speed-reading will allow them to focalize the words much quicker. The eyes are the instruments that we will use in this case. The eyes’ muscles are the ones that focalize. Focalizing speed, if I remember well, is somewhere around 250 milliseconds and can be lowered to 30-150 milliseconds. Generally, a man reads approximately 250 words per minute. Reading is abrupt, us being used to read one word at a time. Speed-reading trains the eyes to focalize on groups of words. Focalizing is possible for even groups of seven words. A man, with the right training can manage to double or even triple his reading speed. Speed-reading. I must read faster. This way I can finish my books on time.” The young psychologist got up from the table and headed towards the exit. He was smiling because he knew exactly what he had to do next. He was thrilled by what he realized that night and what is more, this thing allowed him to forget about her. He forgot completely about her existence and he wasn’t even bothered that she didn’t look for him the whole day. He analysed himself, trying to identify the reason why he didn’t feel anything for her while he was concentrated on speed-reading. He realized that hard work helped him to focus on more useful and probably more pleasant things than the stress and anger that jealousy and love have offered him. The phone rang and when he saw her name on the screen, he melted from joy, his heart pounding heavily in his chest, his voice trembling.
From the meeting, he left delighted, knowing that he managed to convince them. Even though he was just a young psychologist, who just finished university, full of ideas and hope that he will change the world, they liked him. He could tell when someone was lying to him. It was something easy for him. But now, they didn’t lie to him. They asked him to let them think for a few days, to take a look at his presentation folder that he made for them. He didn’t put all the information in there. He wasn’t stupid. They could have stolen his idea and leave with it and implement it. He was going to reveal the main ideas only when the contract was going to be signed. He was happy, almost floating on the streets, smiling at everybody, not caring about what they were going to say about him. He just found some investors for his project. He was a fresh graduate, who had an idea one night in a pub. Now he was heading to the same pub to celebrate and to thank the pub somehow for this revelation. Speed-reading became a strong goal for him in the past time. He was experimenting on himself and then on some of his student friends, but not from psychology. He didn’t tell his colleagues, because he was afraid that someone will steal his idea, especially because he couldn’t afford to register it as his own brand. He managed to read with 500 words per minute, a performance he never thought he will be capable of. And when he thought about the first time he tested himself his speed was around 230 words per minute… The performance he reached, surprised even him. But it took him quite a long time to get there. He noted all his efforts. All the steps, either good or bad, he took notes. He learned from his mistakes, he was forced to observe the things that worked and the ones that didn’t. He was forced to develop a concept the hard way, without having a knowledge base and without financial support. He considered it as a personal project, close to his heart, a project that he was very attached to.
He sat at the same table at the pub and he ordered himself a drink. His thoughts ran again towards his evolution with his project. He learned to read by reading. Anatomically, he knew he had to train his eye muscles to focalize faster and more words at a time as quick as possible. To this, the memorizing capacity also added up. It wasn’t enough to focalize fast, but he also had to understand and memorize what the texts were saying. He managed to buy a computer which helped him in writing the texts and in counting the words. Things started to get better and better. With the help of some IT applications he built a program that helped him in his steps. Firstly, it automatically measured his reading speed. Then, he managed to integrate a questionnaire in this program. This way he could also verify the memory capacity. But only after this the interesting things happen. Daily trainings followed, periodical tests and then trainings again. The logic of the trainings was important throughout the whole development of the project, him often changing the approach, because it seemed that it wasn’t giving any results. Finally, after more than two years of work, he declared himself satisfied with what he achieved and decided to go further with the project. He wanted to show the world, to offer it to anybody who needed to improve their reading speed. This way he got to searching for people interested in these kind of projects, businessmen who could see the variable profit in this equation. The ones he just finished talking to were the ones recommended by one of the students who obtained very good results after following the speed-reading program. Actually, one of them was the student’s brother. The message he got on his phone was announcing him that his project got accepted and they were going to discuss the rest of the details next week. He wanted to jump from joy. He couldn’t believe that something like this could happen to him.
He was now standing in front of ten future students, among whom there was a pretty lady, a young lady with a green strand in her hair and a visible tattoo on her body, a well-dressed gentleman, in a suit, who even though seemed to be focused on his tablet in his hands, his eyes were often looking towards the attractive woman. There was also a young man, with a pronounced baldness, with sharp nose and who was always shaking his feet. His look stopped for a little longer on the man who stood secluded, close to the wall and who seemed to be observing everyone in the room. He couldn’t stop from asking himself whether he was representing somehow the competition, whether he only came to see how he proceeds, what are his techniques which he has perfected. But he cast away this thought quickly and decided to concentrate on this first day of course, on the interested people who were in front of him and on the mountain of information he was about to transmit to them. He was nervous and his heart was pounding in his chest loudly, hearing it in his ears. It was already a few minutes late, so he decided to start the final stage of his project: presenting it in front of multiple people, holding a real course. He coughed loudly, in a way to attract the attention of everybody in the room. It seemed like everybody was waiting for something to happen and that was the perfect moment to guide them towards his course. He invited everyone to take a sit at their tables, trying to keep his voice calm and without too much emotion. The speed-reading course began.