Reading is a way to gain experiences that would otherwise be not possible. Experiences are only as good and as real as you retain them.
In spite of being the differentiation factor from other species, the human brain has its limitations.
The human brain will subconsciously grasp and ingrain into your psyche what you read but the goal of reading is for conscious, active & strategic change.
To acknowledge these individual biological limitations highlights the need for developing practices that help your brain retain more of what you read. And do it in a time-efficient way.
Long term reading habit needs a long term system to retain what you have read.
Here are some ways to retain and reflect the experiences gained from reading:
Set up for Success:
- Great books are not just for reading but are for re-reading.
- The first read of a book must be done in a way that you are set up for an easy and efficient re-read in the future.
- This means underlining or highlighting the text that you want to remember or revisit.
- Doing this generously and actively will help you retain the narrative in a summarized format. It will also make for an efficient re-read in the future.
Create an Accessible Asset
- If you are not a superhuman with a photogenic memory. Then it is time to make your brain connected to the cloud.
- No, I don’t know a startup that is enhancing your brain and blending it with technology.
- But converting your reading experiences and turning it into any time accessible notes on a digital app is a great asset to create for oneself.
- A good self-created summary in a digital format is an asset that you can reuse and reread with a flexibility that is only possible in modern times.
- Revisit a book that you have read, after a couple of weeks to make notes.
- This results in two things. Firstly you will recall what you read and will help you retain more of it. The second thing is as you document the notes in a note-taking app you have 24*7 access to all the things you read. This is a superpower to have. You can use this like a spider man who uses his spiderweb.
- If you think that this work of documentation is unnecessary and think you can remember it all, I would like to give you only one example. Da Vinci didn’t leave his house with a Notebook attached to his waist. He was constantly jotting things down. If the genius of the Renaissance age couldn’t remember it all maybe its a good try.
- Don’t consider a book you read as complete unless you have made notes from it and saved it in Evernote or Dropbox or Google Drive. This way you have your own could brain 1.0.
The goal behind the above steps is to increase the amount of knowledge retained along with reducing the time to recall and reignite the same thought and experience without rereading the whole book. Because all efficiency is about time efficiency.
In all the four parts of the Reading series the tips the points, the techniques are all secondary to having the curiosity to learn.
If one has an insatiable curiosity, these steps and points are merely that, steps and points. Anyone and everyone will develop their version of techniques that are personal to them.
It is at the end up to each of us to make our own choices and form our formulas.
These points are a mere indication of a direction among the many possible paths.
End of Reading Series.