Have you ever noticed when you are in the market for a new car, you start seeing that model everywhere?
Or when you set a goal, you start noticing all sorts of opportunities related to the goal and how to achieve it.
That’s because your mind is a purpose driven machine. When there is an objective or target, all of a sudden, its awareness opens and focus changes, often without you realizing it.
You can apply this amazing feature to your reading.
You can do this by setting a goal or purpose every time you pick up something to read. Determine beforehand what you expect or want out the material.
Once you set a purpose or goal for your reading, you’ll find a shift happens in your mind.
All of a sudden, your mind is not wandering or getting distracted. Instead, it is focused on the task and honed in on the material to get the precise information you seek or need.
This keeps you attentive and helps you get more out of your reading.
Interestingly, we all have a purpose when reading.
Anytime we pick up a book, magazine, or article, there is a reason why we do it.
It might be to ace an exam, write a paper, complete an assignment, find an answer, learn a skill, solve a problem, kill boredom, or to unwind and get lost in a fantasy world.
Whatever the purpose, there is a purpose – even if you don’t realize that purpose.
Now, just because you know you’re purpose, doesn’t mean your mind does.
As people, we falsely assume we are one with the mind. We assume because we know what we want, that our mind automatically knows as well.
Sadly, that is not reality.
The reality is if you want your mind to know your goals and intentions, you must clearly and explicitly state them.
If you can be clear with your intentions, it gives your mind a lot to work with. Instead of figuring out the million other things you want to be doing or thinking about, it has a clear directive. It lets your mind know what to tune out and where to draw its focus and attention.
So, the next time you pick up something to read, state your purpose or intention for reading it.
Your purpose does not have to be long, drawn out, or complicated. It can be as simple as ‘I’m reviewing yesterday’s notes to find answers for tomorrow’s assignment.’
The key is to think about what you want to know and why.
Below are examples of different purpose you can create for a variety of materials:
• I am reading this book to learn money saving strategies to grow my business.
• I am studying chapter four, five, and six of the history textbook to ace next week’s mid-terms.
• My goal for this manual is to improve my computer programming skills for the new project at work.
• I am reading this novel to prepare for tomorrow’s literature discussion.
• I am reviewing this book to get the information I need to write an engaging research paper deserving of an A
• The purpose of reading for the next few hours is to unwind, relax, and get lost in the author’s tale.
• I am researching the internet to find a better treatment option for my illness.
A universal question you can ask is, ‘what can I get out of this book?’ or ‘how will this book impact me?’
Like with previewing, sometimes it’s annoying to step back and think of a purpose and always do that with every item you read. I’m sure you would rather just get started with the material, because the sooner you can get started, the sooner you can finish.
However, if you can step back and take a few seconds or minutes to establish a clear purpose, you’ll get more out of your reading and saving much more time and energy in the long run.