By now, I should be
writing a book review for The Path of Daggers,
next in line in Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, which I have
been working my way through for the past two months. I found this book off to a
slow start, so I didn't feel quite so inspired to read it. As a result, I'm
only halfway through. Despite being several hundred pages shorter than many of
the other novels, I'll likely spend an additional week reading it. Oh, well.
The fact that I've
read more infrequently over the past few days has given me insight into another
matter, however. I'm still reading the book at the same pace while I read it, I just haven't been picking
it up as frequently. This has caused me to notice the speed at which I'm
reading, which, I must say, is remarkably
faster than I realized.
When I first started
reading this series, I was reading 100 pages or more per day, but it was taking
me a full day of reading to do it. Right now, I can read a hundred pages
without hardly noticing. Two hundred pages on a weekday is entirely feasible,
and if I had a day I could afford to dedicate to reading, I think I might be
able to finish a whole book.
I don't say this to
brag, and I am well aware of the fact that many other people read faster than I
do. What's interesting to me is the relative increase in my reading speed over
the course of these two months. I've more than doubled the pace at which I read;
in fact, I may have quintupled it.
Whatever my base rate was, that's an increase worth noting!
It's not entirely
surprising, of course, to discover that persistent daily dedication to a habit
can make significant improvements in a person's ability, but we all spend so
much time mentally invested in our daily tasks that we seldom get to experience
a stark reminder of just how much self-improvement we have "on tap."
For me, this process of improving my reading has been one such reminder.
An added dimension
here is that, the
reader will recall, I found time to read by giving up a lot of my social
media time. That means that I could have spent this time practicing anything, not just reading; and I still can.
When I finish all the books on my plate, I can spend this time practicing my
guitar playing -- and get tangibly better. Or I could spend it learning how to
play the piano better -- and get tangibly better. Or, I could spend it learning
a new language -- and make tangible progress. Right now, it's reading, but in
the future it could be anything. This feels like a windfall to me because it is
"found time" of a sort. I can spend it how I please, and make myself
a better person in any way I choose.
The same is true for
you, of course. If you can find the time to do it, you can spend a little time
on something every day. Within two months, you'll have improved significantly,
and perhaps even dramatically. You could
quintuple your reading speed, or accomplish something else; something you never
thought possible before.