We Don’t Get The Best Out of Reading Because We Stop Reading

Reading is about gaining knowledge. Sometimes, it’s about gaining new knowledge, other times about confirming old knowledge.

When we try to read, confirming old knowledge is easier. The brain has pre-existing ideas about what we are reading and so it is easier for it to add a new dimension to the existing knowledge.

New knowledge on the other hand is harder to add. But that’s where growth comes from and that’s where most of us fail.

When you start to read something new in an attempt to add new knowledge, your brain finds it difficult to retain, recall and even make use of. And that’s because your brain is not familiar with the new thing. Due to this, you tend to be drained and dissuaded from continuing to read the material or read anything new. Then you stop.

But when you stop, you deprive yourself of the most important way of growing.

Knowledge compounds much like how your money does. The rate at which knowledge compounds is directly proportional to how often you did not stop reading. Even though stopping is the most appealing cause of action.

While your brain finds it hard to retain and recall new things, it doesn’t discard them entirely.

New things are like cues to the brain. When learning something new, the brain forms a stand-alone cue. The cues will remain so for some time until it finds another cue it can connect with. Once it finds the connection(s), that’s when learning happens. 

So the more new cues find an existing cue to connect with the more your knowledge compounds.

When building a new knowledge that has nothing in your existing cues to connect with, the only way to ensure it doesn’t disappear is to add more related new knowledge as soon as possible so that they can at least connect. But then again, instead of doing this, we stop reading because “we don’t seem to get it”.  Unbeknownst to us that that’s the brain simply communicating to us that I need more cues.

To get the maximum out of what we are reading then, we must continue to read (not stop) and find time to think about what we read so that the connection can happen.

One of the ways I do mine is to write about what I’m learning. As it turns out, it’s one of the most efficient ways to get the maximum out of what you are reading. A teacher learns twice… they say.

Here’s the conclusion.

Don’t stop reading because it is difficult. The brain is simply just trying to familiarize itself with the new knowledge. It’s creating cues and trying to connect them with what it knows before. The more you give it room to do that, the more you will get out of your reading.