Has this ever happened to you? You have been thinking about a movie or just a concept for some time. And suddenly you keep seeing references to it everywhere you turn. It’s like déjà vu!
Why does this happen? I can think of two reasons:
a) We tend to pay attention to the topic, which is at the top of our head currently, more than before. So, obviously, references to it that we would have missed or ignored before get highlighted for us now in neon.
Additionally, humans are good at attribution and association. We attribute and associate even oblique hints to the topic at hand – even those clues that are not really related to it in the first place.
b) There definitely is a higher power at hand, watching our every move, sometimes rapping our knuckles for our misdemeanors, and at other times lauding our efforts with big or small signs of encouragement.
And there are still other times when the higher power is just itching for some fun and so teases us with hints and references – as a child would a favorite pet kitten with a sprig of catnip – and chuckles away in delight at our confusion.
At least, that’s how I feel.
Here’s where the speed-reading in today’s title comes in.
Research is half the fun of writing for me. However, it loses some of its charm if you’re working against a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise.
And there are tons of data readily available for any and every subject under the sun, what with internet and everything. However much you research a subject there is still more to do. And at most times, usually at the last moment, you end up learning that there’s a whole new angle you have managed to overlook. Not a good feeling!
Hence, I have been thinking on and off about speed-reading lessons for the past two months: Does it really work? Will it help me in my current situation? Or would I be just wasting time and money?
Then … suddenly, last Thursday, sitting in my mailbox I find a brochure from a local university. I open it and what do I see? A list of summer classes for speed-reading. Yes.
It had the following information, among other things:
Speed-Reading helps you with:
a) Quadrupling your reading speed and comprehension
b) Finishing your homework at a greater speed and accuracy
c) Researching topics much faster and with a higher efficiency
I almost fell over backwards when I saw the last point. A mere coincidence?
And get this: I had never taken any classes from that particular university. I hadn’t even driven by its campus before – I don’t know where exactly it is located. Heck, I hadn’t even ventured through their portals on the net!
How did they get my address? They didn’t even address the pamphlet to “The Resident at so-and-so number”. They addressed it sure as anything to “Mrs. Hema P.” – I’m not making this up!
I immediately looked around me, a la Blue Billi, and then quickly darted to the nearest window. I was hoping to catch whoever was spying on me in the act.
Obviously, no such luck — I didn’t espy any glimpses of a trench coat being hastily pulled behind the tree in my backyard. Neither did I catch the sharp glint of a binoculars suddenly muted.
Unless the snoop was blissfully dozing away somewhere because of the immense boredom induced by the subject under surveillance, there was no one really checking me out.
Are you thinking that I had looked closely at the pamphlet, instead of chucking it right away, only because the topic had caught my attention?
Well, it’s a possibility… but I’m a firm believer of ‘Opportunity knocks but once’. So, I’m in the habit of perusing any piece of paper – brochures or advertisements or coupons – closely, before I put them in the trash.
Now, don’t you agree that it is someone up there playing a trick on me and watching to see how I get all rattled up and begin to run around in circles?
P.S: Does speed-reading really work? Anyone willing to shed some light on how useful you find/have found it?