I’m generally rushing and multitasking most of the time. I want to squeeze in a podcast in the shower, watch self-improvement videos on YouTube, read business books on the bus to work. I cook quickly, wolf it down and wash up like a dervish.
Two things I’ve read recently have made me question this mode of doing stuff.
Firstly, I read a great article on Medium by Aytekin Tank (which I haven’t fully digested yet). It’s called: Why reading 100 books a year won’t make you successful. In it he says reading as many books as possible in the shortest amount of time won’t make you successful, and that actually it harms the very reasons why we should read in the first place:
(1) it destroys reading for pleasure. The best books I’ve ever read are probably the classics such as War and Peace, The Odyssey, and The Iliad. There’s no way I read these speed reading. I read them for pure pleasure. Not at a lazy speed, but just at the speed where I got huge pleasure from reading. (If you haven’t read them yet, please do yourself a favour and do so! You won’t regret it!)
(2) if the aim is to read as fast as possible, the speed likely hinders the
Secondly, I read a great chapter on Derek Sivers in Tim Ferriss‘s seminal book Tools of Titans where he describes how he does a long bike ride where he pedals hard and strains and sweats and which always takes him 43min to complete. One day, he did the same ride where he decided to take it slow and chilled and has a great time noticing things that he normally doesn’t like the ocean and pelicans. When he finishes the ride, and looks at his watch, he’s shocked to see that the ride took him just 45mins! 2mins longer and he had a much better time doing it.
Try slowing down now. Some of the benefits are surprising.
Let’s start with reading.
With Ayetkin’s article in mind, today I started reading some of Laszlo Bock’s famous book Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead. I tried to read it slowly and make sure that I wasn’t skimming and speed reading. I waited for my attention to catchup with my eye on the page. I stopped every so often whenever I wanted to and looked up from the book and a few seconds later (again when I wanted to), I started reading again.
5 mins went by. 10 mins went. Then 15 mins and I had to get back to work. But that was a very pleasurable 15 mins of reading. No judgement on myself for how much I read or didn’t read. Just a state of flow.
It’s very hard to make yourself slow down reading but just try and remember to do so. Don’t beat yourself when you forget.
Enjoy it. Slow down.