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Gimme Soft-Focus again?
Did you know that Hard-Focus is the norm in our daily activity, but it is the
basis of up to 75% of our feelings of stress?
When we use a hard-focus we automatically contract the muscles of our eyes, face,
and neck. After thirty-minutes, these muscles become tense and painful, and often cause stress and migraine headaches.
Humans use hard-focus 75% percent of our waking hours. We became addicted to using a narrow, hard-focus, also called Tunnel Vision, through watching
five-hours of daily TV, playing Video Games, reading-articles, books and reports, and holding conversations.
Surfing the Internet – which is now up to three-hours daily for young people – is also based on Hard-Focus, a narrowing of our eye-pattern-movements.
When we speak directly with another (face-to-face), it is considered an insult and a social faux pas, to focus on other people or just look-away, rather than look in the general direction of their eyes. Psychologists call it Social Distancing.
When you consistently focus (not stare), at the other party to a communication
and exchange, you are performing a positive behavior, and are Socially-Bonding
with them – a good thing.
When you consider the number and length of your conversations, your brain has
been programmed to hard-focus. Add to that the hours on the computer, and your recreational viewing at the small screen, and it is amazing we are capable of soft-focus.
Soft-focus in Reading
Why should we care about soft-focus when we use its polar-opposite so consistently?
Speed reading is a combination of our left- and right-brain skills, while snailing –
is the reading strategy you learned in the 3rd grade, and have reinforced daily for all the years since.
Snailing is reading one-word-at-a-time, while listening it in your mind; it is called
subvocalization and causes you to be a slow reader.
a) Your 3rd grade reading strategy is the cause of Regressions, losing your place on the page, and returning to reread previous scanned paragraphs up to 10 times per page.
Regressing is a treasure hunt that breaks up your train-of-thought, and a powerful cause of snailing, loss of comprehension, and long-term memory.
How To Soft-Focus
a) Use your eyes like a searchlight and peer indirectly at the words of each sentence.
b) Choose to focus your eyes at the upper-halves of the letters of the
words because it is easier on your retinas and saves time. Snailers
look directly at each individual word, and hear it pronounced mentally. They will never read faster than they can speak – 200 words-per minute on difficult material.
c) Intentionally become aware of the muscles (six-in-each-eye), in
your face, neck and shoulders. They are strained with tension,
and you can relax them by closing your eyes for ten seconds and
massaging these muscles with your fingers.
Just smile and the stress slowly disappears. This relaxation
strategy lasts up to three-hours.
d) When you speed read let your peripheral-vision take over – your eyes will see the words lateral-left and lateral-right of center.
Speed reading is based on Soft-Focus, seeing multiple words simultaneously, and using a vertical-vision instead of Foveal-Vision.
Foveal-Vision permits reading one-word (six-letters) at a time, while Peripheral-Vision permits up to six-words or 36 letters at-a-time.
Which will permit you to read three books, articles and
reports in the time others can hardly finish one?
e) The use of a Pacer (pen, cursor and RasterMaster), to underline
the sentences on the page will cause a tripling of your reading speed after 21 days of 15 minute daily practice.
f) Floating down the page of text using a soft-focus is the essence of
g) Always start reading your text by indenting a couple of words
from the beginning-and-end of the sentences (indenting), and
let your peripheral vision connect the dots into holistic context.
h) Concentration is getting the main ideas of the text, not the words. Sure you are reading words, but you can choose to focus on understanding the writers basic ideas.
i) The Aha! Experience comes when you relax and let both halves
of your brain cooperate. Your daily practice is the basis for your
mind to finally Get It.
Remember when you learned to Surf the Internet, word process,
ride a bike, and drive-a-car? There came a time when all your training linked together and you plain – got it.
That is the Aha moment, and after that happening, you went on auto-pilot, and you own a new habit.
Learning occurs only when you permit a disruption of your comfort- zone and the status-quo. Our brain only works hard when it has to; the secret is forced-repetition.
When there is something new to learn, the brain wants to avoid the effort – to flee-or-fight change. You must be persistent and determined to create change – pig-headed, or you mind will revert to the old, comfortable strategies.
You must have good reasons, benefits and motivations to change, and practice the new strategies daily until they become reinforced habits.
You can use your peripheral vision to overcome stress by stopping for five-minutes each hour to soft-focus using your peripheral vision. Look at the horizon, stare at the clouds, the stars or water to relax the muscles of your eyes, face, and neck. Accept the assignment to eliminate your natural stress.
H. Bernard Wechsler – www.speedlearning.org