Do find it tough to cancel an old habit? Are you one of those folks who can say the words and automatically change your behaviors? Wait – can you decide to go on a diet and instantly start eating less and see a weight loss in the first week?
Speed reading is an acquired habit too. It requires small changes from how you have been reading since 3rd grade, and these modifications require an effort (act), of will. All mastery requires effort – there is no other way.
Any change of habitual behavior requires a change in your thinking and beliefs.
Remember – these core beliefs have been reinforced daily since age 10.
Would you expect change to be 1-2-3?
Three Requirements For Change
First, your volition – (choice, will), requires a mental-effort in order to create a new
habit. A choice is also necessary to extinguish an old, harmful habit.
Second, effort is a derivative of Motivation. If we do not have powerful reasons
and purposes to change – we do not.
Alcoholics and addicts try to quit an average of twenty-times in their lifetime. They attend group-seminars like Alcoholics Anonymous, regularly visit health therapists, and are often monitored by social workers. Still, only 5-15% succeed permanently.
Motivation is being moved to action to change. A goal requires a drive, incentive,
influence and persuasion – not just words. Addiction is a craving, an obsession and
compulsion to continue the habit that satisfies, yet destroys life.
Third, to change requires a new assumption (belief), that your actions (behaviors), will result in success. No beliefs, no changes.
In the face of a habit we feel hopeless and helpless and do not believe based on personal experience, that change is possible. Until we modify our core belief that
we are not helpless, that we can improve – we will continue to fall off the wagon.
We change only if our reasons seem drastically advantageous and necessary. That is why just wanting to change always fails. Find the positive reasons to create a new habit.
You can list 99 reasons why snailing is lousy. You can write another list of benefits,
from gaining the competitive-edge and getting into your career fast-track, to promotions and more money.
First and foremost you must overcome a lack of hope, and a feeling of helplessness. You must have a goal – a burning desire to learn speed reading – not just a simple want to look smart in front of your peers.
Second, to master speed reading, read-and-remember three books, articles and reports in the time others can hardly finish one, you must practice 15 minutes
daily using a pacer, and use your peripheral reading strategies for 21 days.
The secret for overcoming any habit is repetition in the new strategy. No repetition,
no success because you are creating a new long-term memory.
Humans Are a Bit Deranged
Buddha believed and taught that all of us on the planet earth are collectively
and individually – kind of crazy – A bit Deranged! He said we do not notice it because it is a way of life and common to our species.
Freud agreed with Buddha, and called it the Universal Neurosis in Man.
The result of our natural state is to be stressed-out, close to panic, anxious and
frustrated on a daily basis – at home and in our workplace. We call it chronic-stress.
It causes your heartbeat to race, you breathing to be shallow, and your immune system to weaken, leading to heart disease, cancer and stroke. Yes, really, and
it is directed by the stress hormones – cortisol, and adrenaline (epinephrine).
Meditation for 30 minutes daily, releases mental and physical stress. We will leave
the specifics of meditating for later. Chanting and deep breathing reduces, and even eliminates chronic stress. The goal is to lower your stress hormones level.
Relaxation permits you to reach your subconscious with a request to create a new
habit. Speed reading is predominantly a right-brain skill of pattern-recognition,
spatial skills, and intuition. New habits require a combination of both left-and-right
The key to eliminating the stress hormones is by calming your mind and body by shifting control from your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight-or-flight), to your Parasympathic Nervous System – deep relaxation.
You move from Adrenaline to Acetylcholine neurotransmitters, from chronic stress to peace of mind, and self-control through deep relaxation.
Here is what happens when you use self-help (meditation); you influence how you
interpret what-you think, what happens to you, and the emotional meaning you give to specific events and the actions of other people.
You have self-control to stop blowing-up at your significant-other, kids, and business associates. You exercise self-control in traffic and in dealing with sales-clerks. You take control of how you react to your environment, as it affects your behaviors and feelings.
Your frustration level becomes manageable, and you become logical and reasonable.
Another thing – your health improves, and you make better decisions.
Here is a hint – your mental visualizations – the mental-movies you play as a continuous Loop, governs your thinking and behaviors. Decisions are always emotional, monitored by your thinking. If you scare yourself with negative thoughts
of failure, rejection and anger, you guarantee your defeat.
Change to positive mental-imagery, and your feelings follow your mental-movies, strengthening your ability to succeed. Remember the last time you had a fight with a
business associate or your significant-other?
It does not end after you walk away, you keep replaying the quarrelsome scene endlessly, and hours later you are still angry and not thinking clearly. A loop is the repetition of the experience with its sounds, color and feelings. Each time you pay attention to it – you become stressed-out once again.
You have self-talk, sub-vox, and think of what you should have said and done to win the battle.
Remember – when you are emotional – male or female, adult or youngster – you are not thinking with reason and logic. You say and do things that accelerate the dispute, not act as a calming influence.
Your authentic, genuine and real self wants to reject chronic stress, but your ego loves a good fight. Choose who is the boss-of-you.
copyright © 2006
H. Bernard Wechsler