Climbing The Ladder Of PhotoReading

by Matthew Turco
November, 1997

Let us first look at each side of the entire line of reading skill.

On the novice end, we have 100-200 words per minute, one word at a time, subvocalized, no preparation, frequent back skipping, and no subconscious activity whatsoever.

On the expert end, we flip two pages per second with 100 percent recall of everything utilizing the full range of abilities of both the conscious and unconscious mind.

Granted, most people would be happy just to escape the novice end. Most people refuse to believe that the expert end even exists. Yet, everything we've learned with PhotoReading suggests that it is?if we could only tweak the method to ensure we keep moving in that direction.

Whatever we do, we must work with whatever skill level the reader is currently at. Skipping too many steps or making too many assumptions will only frustrate the reader and further convince him that it is impossible.

This is where the current PhotoReading Whole Mind System excels. Aside from the actual photoreading step, there's nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, without step three, the entire system just looks like a wonderful model for learning the benefits of the multiple passes approach?which incidentally, is the main point of Buzan MMOST reading system and many others. Yet, we still encourage the reader to do step three anyway, even if at first it doesn't seem to do any good. Why?

I learned over the Double Festival the true value in intention. It isn't just a good idea. It actually forms a Strange Attractor that aligns the complexity of the mind toward an outcome. As long as that outcome is within the reader's belief system, step three will begin to work its magic.

How does one work with his belief system? This requires several things, not the least of which is the group of articles presented in the seminar course materials (many more than the home course). They address what the mind is really doing from several angles and helps the conscious mind to understand what's going on and to trust those intuitive feelings. Although you can never have too many conscious reassurances, the course materials really are excellent. Paul also addresses the issue of belief like a true NLPer with his paraliminals. His Belief paraliminal cassette is included in the course.


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But this is where the PhotoReading Whole Mind System stops and the reader is left to "stumble over" further improvements. This is not a criticism of the system. After all, what the system teaches is what the people come to learn. And just working within the confines of the system will cut your reading time to a very small fraction. But, being the greedy, overgrown child that I am, I want more.

Along comes Win Wenger (aka the image streaming guy). Although not yet extensively experienced in photoreading, he was fairly certain, given his knowledge of the reflexive sorter and the squelcher, that previewing actually hinders reading speed. His suggestion is to throw away step two and free your mind to the possibilities. When tested on experienced Photoreaders, his hunch proved accurate. So what does this say about the efficacy of the PhotoReading whole mind system?

Nothing, except that it only represents the beginning.

The preview step is absolutely necessary in the beginning. Remember, if you make too many assumptions or skip too many levels, the squelcher will retaliate. Our educational systems spend over a dozen years programming that squelcher. Let us not force those who prefer baby steps to leap too far.

When the original system is learned, there is a lot that will occur still within the confines of the system. Previewing will become more efficient. Rapid Reading will cease in place of a few more passes in Super Reading and Dipping. And each step will begin to run so smoothly that the photoreader will learn what works for him personally and what doesn't.

But as the photoreader continues to debrief the process (much more on this later) and as his comfort level with the system continues to increase, he will notice diminishing returns of following the original process. While this is fine for most people, many others will want to continue to test the power of their minds. This is where Win's contributions become significant.

Two processes must be learned at this time (if not already learned). These are image streaming and freenoting. Each one offers the reader perhaps the most powerful activation techniques available.

[If this is the case, shouldn't they be taught with the original system? That's probably a judgment call. Let's be safe a suggest that it should be held off until the original system is learned. My thinking here is that each technique requires perhaps a little more knowledge of the mind and also requires a little more of a stretch to the novice, especially when you consider that each technique requires its own learning curve.]

One thing the ambitious people can do is to learn the original PhotoReading system along with image streaming and just play with the possibilities. Then, when the photoreader does notice diminishing returns, he will be more than able to 'officially' introduce the two new activating processes into the system while eliminating the previewing step.


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Okay, so where are we? The photoreader has completely eliminated rapid reading, has honed his activation skills by learning what works and what doesn't, has introduced the two most powerful activation techniques, and has begun to test the elimination of step two altogether.

There's a lot there that I'm quickly passing over, such as how to use your image stream to ask the right question as well as answer it, how to test your intuition with feature questioning and induction, and how to play with your freenoting structures to find the one that's right for you. I'll let Win and Paul get into that in their next book entitled __________.

For my purposes here, there is one last issue that I must address. How do you know whether you are progressing? How do you know what is working and what isn't? How do you let your mind know that it is doing a great job? What can you do to let your mind know that it is okay to show you even more abilities?

To answer these questions, one must learn the right way to debrief each and every photoreading session. Anyone teaching the PhotoReading system should never make any assumptions here. It is important that 1) there is a debriefing period after each session, and 2) the debriefing is done correctly.

What do I mean by debriefing? To understand the importance of debriefing, you must understand that your mind ALWAYS wants to please and if you set things up correctly, it will do so.

For starters, state every question in the positive - NEVER concern yourself with what you did wrong or anything dealing with "Do nots" or "Should nots" . You brain has a tough time dealing with negation (reference the story in the beginning of Natural Brilliance). If you tell your mind what you want, it will try to please you. If you tell your mind what you don't want, it hasn't a clue what to do. Thus, your entire debriefing session would only concern what you did right and what you will do next time to make to process even better.

Your brain has what Win Wenger calls the reflexive sorter. How does this work? So far as I know, your brain takes your intention and aligns its vast resources to meet that intention. Thus, even if you take what your mind gives you and completely turn it upside down and misinterpret it, your mind will learn how you choose to interpret such intuitions and respond next time accordingly. This is why the "personal decoder" is so important in image streaming and why there isn't one grand Rosetta stone for everyone.

But in order for the reflexive sorter to work, you must tell it what you want. By inviting pain (I'm so stupid for not knowing that) or negation (I've memorized everything I'm not supposed to do), you confuse the reflexive sorter and hinder its ability to form the essential strange attractor which aligns your vast resources.

Remember the natural laws of reinforcement (The Law of Effect) and adaptation (using feedback loops to learn how to get closer to the desired outcome). Violating these universal natural laws causes learned helplessness. Following these natural laws will have you wondering what the hell is so hard about learning. Big difference.

Also, your debriefing should have some sort of hierarchical structure. Some questions will pertain to more important issues than others. For example, if you do not get yourself into the proper alpha state before approaching any of the other steps in the PhotoReading system, it immediately becomes the "bottleneck" in your system. You can spend all day picking up trigger words and making mindmaps, but without getting into that accelerated learning state, your progress will literally crawl.

Therefore, your debriefing questionnaire should go from the major issues to the minor issues and the debriefing session should stop once the photoreader realizes that he has found a couple of issues which would improve his overall performance next time. In other words, having the photoreader recognize the opportunity to improve his ability to learn the author's style will only overwhelm him if he still needs to improve on six other more important issues. Once you reach two or three opportunities to improve, the debrief is over.

By debriefing correctly after every session, your mind will be able to use its vast resources not only to perform well, but to continually improve its ability to photoread. Remember, the capability is there. All you need is a reliable system to bring more of it online while relaxing the doubts, confusions, and fears of the hyperactive squelcher.

©1997 Matthew Turco - permission granted only for Paul Scheele and Win Wenger to use any and all of the above


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©1996-2004 Matthew Turco unless otherwise noted

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