Speed Reading is a term that has so many instant meanings, many of which are myths, in the minds of those who are seeking to find out its potential for them. Additionally, to the potential new learner, it brings a perception of dread and hard work because they have difficulty envisioning themselves as competent efficient readers. The answer to the title of this article lies in the perception of the learner of the nature of the learning process itself and how it relates to learning to speed reading.

If you ask a skilled speed reader if they actually enjoy reading, they would emphatically answer, "Yes!" But the key word in the last sentence is "skilled." Skilled means a: the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance b: dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks c: a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability. (Source: Merriam-Webster Online)

By definition, no matter what you read in sales copy when you are surfing to find out more on the topic, there is some work involved in order to become skilled. It is precisely because there is work involved that so many people don't stay with their skill development long enough in order to develop true competency. Marketing and media have created a universal image of instant gratification and quick fixes that have destroyed a realistic understanding of the learning process. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people looking to learn how to speed read seek instant gratification and are easily frustrated in skill development phase.

Learning takes effort. Learning to speed read takes effort. Reading is a thinking process. You can only read as fast as you can think (comprehend). To read faster requires you to think faster. Reading and speed reading require focus, attention, and an awake mind. These mental processes require energy. It is the expenditure of energy that learners avoid. As humans we naturally tend to conserve energy.

As a new learner starts the journey to become a faster reader, there is a great amount of energy being spent. Scientists can actually measure the caloric expenditure of energy someone uses when reading in an efficient state. Perhaps I could market this as the newest diet fad! To become skilled requires the effort over time of speeding up your cognitive processes to not only learn something new, but also to unlearn your old habits and perceptions.

Habits are hard to form, and it's even harder to break old inefficient ones. This behavioral fact is the reason so many people ask, "Can you really enjoy reading while speed reading." The question holds the view that it looks and sounds like a lot of work. Because they haven't experienced the other side of the training (skill competency), they can't imagine reading fast for enjoyment. In fact, a properly trained and skilled speed reader doesn't have the sense of "rushing," but rather senses "involvement" (total comprehension) with the material being read.

As mentioned earlier, if you actually develop the skills, then speed reading is easier and more enjoyable. Becoming skilled means you have already done the labor, or "heavy lifting." Just as someone who starts a new fitness regimen, the initial stages can be perceived as "difficult." But if the unfit person stays with the program consistently over time, the they become hooked on exercising regularly. Once a level of fitness has been reached, they don't want to go back to their couch potato ways. They feel better. So it is with the speed reader.

Once you have developed enough practice in "the zone," the old methods are not satisfying anymore. Unfortunately, most people seeking speed reading help don't enjoy their current inefficient habits. What a "catch-22!"

So how to you resolve the issue? Ask yourself: "What would be the benefits of taking on this training for me personally, or professionally? What would going through this process teach me about myself? What would happen to my brain/mind if I stayed with the rigors of the training? What is my frustration tolerance? If my frustration tolerance is low, what does that say about me and my ability to achieve success with anything I take on? How might mastering these skills help me achieve success in other aspects of my life?"

Answer these fundamental questions honestly. Then decide to take strategic action in order to accomplish your goals. Much of your future success will depend upon your skilled speed reading.

Author's Bio: 

Ed Caldwell is the creator and publisher of the "Masters Online Program: Dynamic Reading, Memory, and Recall" and other live and web-based learning programs. As former National Director of Instruction and Certification for the world famous Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics program, Ed has 30 years experience teaching and testing new strategies to help people from all walks of life learn more efficiently. Trainer, speaker, and writer, he can be contacted at inquiry@productivelearn.com. He is the creator and president of Productive Learning Systems, Inc, and ProductivElearn.com, Inc. You can learn more at: www.speedreadingtactics.com/free_speed_reading_tips.html and download the free eBook, "The 10 Top Mistakes When Learning Speed Reading."