'I Feel the Need, The Need for "Reading" Speed'

My good friend Mike over at the Masonic T-Shirts web site ask me an interesting question over the weekend, "Do you need to practice reading?"  Upon first thought it seemed like a silly question. He had just started to read JRR Tolkien's, The Children of Húrin, a precursor to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mike had previously read through the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit quickly and without any problems.  He conceded that it has been a few months since he last did any substantial reading. Eventually the conversation with Mike turned to speed reading.  Of all the skills one person can learn I believe speed reading to be one of the most important.

Reading at a Slug's Pace
I'm one of those people who would read every single word.  As a young lad my reading skills were sub par. I still remember my parents sending me to reading classes while in elementary school. Throughout high school and university I continued to read word for word. I'll never get any of that time spent plodding through books back. The worst part is that I couldn't remember half the stuff I read. Finally, about 8 years ago, I started to immerse myself in speed reading. After learning how to speed read, it was like night and day.  I had significantly more time and I could actually remember what I was reading.

Why Not Teach This Stuff In School?
As a freshman in university I was required to take a writing comprehension course, but never anything to improve my reading or memory. I really don't understand why educational systems, at least in the United States, don't place a huge emphasis teaching faster and more comprehensive reading skills.  Many educators point out the lack of writing skills found in university students. I whole heartily agree that writing comprehension is extremely important, but I would argue reading skills to be more important. Logic would dictate that great reader be at least a decent writer, correct?

Everyone Should Make the Investment
It's never too late to learn. If you get a chance invest some time into learning how to be a better reader. One excellent resource for speed reading is your local library. Search the library's catalog or ask one of the librarians if they have a speed reading course. If your local library doesn't have a speed reading course, encourage them to purchase one. It's should be a pretty straightforward justification.

Back to Mike's question, "do you need to practice reading?" Absolutely, I do believe reading needs to be practiced. As the the old cliche goes, "Use it or lose it!" More importantly, I think everyone should take the time to increase both their reading skills and memory.  Time is the one of the few things we can't arbitrarily create. We're all on a clock that is ticking down. If you learn to read faster and with increased comprehension, you'll have more time for the other things in life. Investing into learning how to speed reading or a speed reading course is one of the most important investments anyone can make.

Additional Resources:

Proven Beach Running Tips - Updated and Revised

Save Yourself From Being In Pain
When You Run on the Beach . . . 

The information below (all 60 seconds of it) will spare you from being in pain
and embarrassment.

Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of running on the beach.  The beach is probably my favorite running surface.  It’s more difficult to run fast but you don’t get as much impact as hard surfaces like pavement.

The information below was collecting by running hundreds of miles on Florida's beaches.
  There is nothing like a sprained foot or prickly heat rash to get you thinking, "I wish I would have known that before I started!"

Feel free to comment and add your own suggestions below the post.


Beach Running Recommendations

  • Run at or near Low Tide.  It is significantly easier to run around Low Tide.  The beach tends to be firmer and flatter at Low Tide.  The Internet is usually a pretty good place to find tide information.  If you have a GPS unit they are usually equipped with tide information. To find more information on tides visit the following site: Tide and Current Predictor. If you run going into a low tide period the surf tends not to creep up on you.

  • Why NOT run at High Tide?  If you try running at High Tide you are running higher on the beach and usually at an angle.  The sand is also significantly softer and very uneven, making it more difficult to run and easier to hurt yourself. The few times I’ve tried to run at High Tide my knees and hips took a beating.  It took almost four days from one High Tide run to walk without pain.
  • If you are going to run longer than an hour, split the Low Tide.  Start 60 minutes before Low Tide and then continue 30 minutes past. Adjust accordingly.

  • Run close to the water and watch the surf lines. If you watch the surf you can choose the firmness of the sand under your feet. Don’t run too close to the surf or you’ll find yourself trying to escape getting your shoes wet.

  • Wear sneakers and socks while running.  I will admit running shoes and socks might not be the most fashionable. But, I’ve learned through a sprained foot and really bad blisters that socks and sneakers are recommended.  There have been numerous occasions where I’ve passed broken glass, sharp sea shells, and jelly fish.  Somehow stepping on those objects barefoot doesn’t seem appealing. Your sneakers also help in giving your foot better support. Take an old pair of running sneakers with you, they're likely to get wet. Arch support helps.

  • NeutrogenaWear a High Quality Sunscreen. Even if you're out for a quick run, sunscreen is highly recommended. Two of my friends were in the intense Florida sun for just 45 minutes without sunblock . . . they had the worst sunburns I've ever seen in my life. Their skin was burnt so badly it went beyond "lobster red" and turned purple! Both of them were in pain for almost a week with blistering and ridiculous skin pealing.

    Why High Quality Sunscreen?
    Aside from preventing sunburn, you want to use sunscreen that WON'T clog your pores. Clogged pores cause sweat to get trapped below your skin and cause heat rash (prickly heat). Trust me, it is extremely uncomfortable. Lately, I've been using Neutrogena Healthy Defense Sunblock Lotion, Oil-Free SPF 45 with good results. Stay way from cheap sunscreen, you get what you pay for! Also consider showering and gently scrubbing down with a good loofah and shower gel after your run.
  • Twilight Beach Jogs - Running at night is actually pretty easy and just a darn cool thing to do. It helps if you can find a night where the moon is up to light your way. You'd be surprised at how much you can see. Again, I'd recommend splitting a low tide.

Running is yet another great way to generate ideas.  Unfortunately it is not the most conducive environment for taking notes.  There are portable voice recorders and small note pads, but I have yet to find anything that is not cumbersome.

If you enjoy running and you’re going someplace with a beach, pack those running shoes.

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Creative Thinking: Brains and Brawn

This post is an extension of the “Discovering Web Site Ideas” post.  In the post I briefly mentioned my methodology for coming up with new ideas.  Today I’m going to expand on this simple technique. Hopefully it will allow you to come up with some of your own great ideas or creative solutions.

I believe that everyone should visit the gym at least three times a week.  Being fit is extremely helpful if you want to be successful in the business world.  Exercising gives you that extra spark. When I work out in the morning I feel energized throughout the day.  If I miss my routine, I drag all day long.  What does exercising have to do with idea creation?  Some of my best ideas come to me while exercising. I'd like to share with you a technique that anyone can use.

During a recent visit to the gym I had a dilemma floating around my brain.  I wanted to make some extra money before the end of the year.  I wrote down the following question: “How do I make an extra $5K in the next week?”  Initially I had no idea.  At the end of the routine I had my solution.  A day later I presented my idea to the client and mission accomplished.  It isn’t always going to be that simple.  But we all have to start somewhere.

This process works best with a weight lifting routine, but can be modified accordingly.  It is based on a 1-2 hour workout.  It utilizes the time you rest between exercises or set.  Here is what works for me.

The Idea Creation Workout

  • Bring a small notebook or a sheet of paper and a pen to the gym.
  • Before you start, write down a question or two.
    e.g. “How do I market this new idea?” or “What can I do to increase services revenue?
  • Keep the notebook or paper with you throughout your routine.
  • In between each set or individual exercises try to write down an idea.

Make sure you don’t force your ideas onto paper.  An idea won't always pop into your mind.  Give the process time. This probably sounds hokey, but let your brain come up with a solution.  I’ve asked a few knowledgeable people on why this is such a simple yet powerful technique.  The best response I received is when you are working out, you are working your muscles not your brain.  Sometimes the best ideas come when our brain has a chance to relax.  You’re letting your subconscious mind take over.  It sounds crazy, but it really does work.

By the end of the routine I usually have all my ideas or solutions.   Here is the really important part.  You need to act upon your ideas.  Too many people talk about their ideas and then never act upon them.  The successful people in this world run with their ideas.  They might not get it perfect or right the first, second, or twentieth time.  But in the end successful people make it work.  Which person are you?