The Ladder Of PhotoReading
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
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
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.
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
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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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.
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?
that it only represents the beginning.
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
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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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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Matthew Turco - permission granted only for Paul Scheele and Win
Wenger to use any and all of the above