Quit Skimming and Read!

Angry Lion wants you to Read

It’s not a matter of looking at keywords and being informed of the concept. It’s taking that information and applying it to the current situation.

This is the difference between reading and skimming. And a huge pet peeve of mine.

People don’t do enough reading and applying the information given.

Just because there is a lot of information there, does not mean that you automatically start skimming the information. Once you start reading fewer words, you start dropping the effort to understand all of the concepts given. Someone has taken the time to include all of those words, you are only insulting them by picking out only choice phrases.

There is a certain amount of observation and looking into details which forces a person to dig deeper on larger concepts. But this is just mental exercise, why not work your brain and perspective out? Sadly, its because people have given into the core marketing of convenience in every fashion. Including reading. The biggest problem is that we have rewarded people to skim. We call these people successful as they have managed to go through mass amounts of information without any retention or understanding.

“But Pearce, there is just so much I can do!”
“Do better. Think different. Read better.”

Effects of skimming? We start dropping words to read, and start changing the way we communicate. We change the way we send information by compressing words and phrases with this same lazy form of communication. The sentences resemble much more like a phonetic code rather than an actual language.

The number of times I’ve had to say ‘Did you read my email or did you skim?’ is increasing! In some fashion, some people have got to the habit of sending the email, then phoning to explain what they said in the email. Why? If a phrase cannot be explained in a sentence, guess what? You should try and reconsider rewriting it! The unfortunate part is that these people often deal with others who have got to the point where they cannot understand the words and need someone to go through with them. Even with vaguest of details, I can apply some information to the various scenarios that could occur. In some cultures, this is called understanding and foresight.

Lets get this clear. These people do not have learning disabilities. These are people who hold PhD’s. They are the ones who make large decisions. They are the ones who have had their hands held for so long, they don’t know how to walk or think on their own. These are people who are so much into the habits of skimming and making things convenient in all things that they are teaching their children that there is no other way. They are bottle necking the minds of children from getting full information. And those children will grow up and one day will be running the world and taking care of us in our old age.

And they walk amongst you.

People who don’t read, or use full words in electronic texting.

Yeah, I ranted that. Now that I made you aware, what are you going to do about it? Or did you just skim this?

I’m still here,

Remind Myself

Everyday I have to remind myself to set aside the fear, be the explorer. Sieze the day. Scars tell tales of mistakes learned.
I don’t want to be a tourist.

Even with the knowledge that being a tourist is the safer route, less risk of getting hurt. But without the risk, where is the fun? Where is the thrill? Where is the exploring without knowing what is going to happen next? If I want someone elses experience, then I’ll be the tourist. It will all be nicely sterilized and individually packaged to meet a markets major margin (primarily occupied by the mediocre) for satisfaction.

How boring does this get?

There is no room for innovation, creativity, or true learning with this system. It stifles curiosity and motivation. And over a period of time, this enforces laziness. Someone else will have already done the work. And over time, it slowly creeps into all aspects of life. Everything has already been done, and no one is questioning why. Not one of them has taken the time or the willingness to draw or colour outside of the lines.

Amazing gardens produce fantastic vegetables, only if there is good attention put into them. Is there a pre-determined formula that will work for everyone? No. There is no secret ingredient, only the willingness to try something different. Would you follow the exact recipe that your neighbor tells you for gardening? You would if you didn’t have the motivation or inclination to try it out yourself.

Its one thing to dream about greener hills, it’s another to actually move beyond that dream and actually take a look at how much it will take to get there. Fortunately, sometimes all it takes is a new perception to go into new territory. A willingness to think differently and try things in a new manner allows exploration in what you have overlooked.

So what’s out there? I don’t know. I am willing to find out. I am willing to make mistakes, learn from them. I’ll be on the beach asking both groups why there is a line drawn in the sand when a combined effort would work better for all of us.

You take away the efforts and attention to detail, you remove the passion from it. Product X is created, mass produced by the thousands. How much attention could each one of those items get? The beauty is less as a crowd, it no longer has an individual identity. The major margin which everyone can identify does not necessarily mean that it should be good for everyone. Once you weed out the higher quality and not make it available, you control the mediocre market, where those masses of micro dollars are. The only thing this enriches is someones wallet, not your own life. (Product X patent pending)

There is a bhuddist quote, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. To live in fear is to suffer and hide from life. To learn from your mistakes is painful, but denial and hiding from the possibilities of life is far worse. Its a rejection of life itself to put on the blinders of ignorance.

So what is this all about? Travelling? Gardening? Something you can purchase?

This is about perspective.

It’s about stepping outside of those lines that have been put around you, questioning those around you and asking them ‘Is there a better way?’ Its blowing your mind with a great book. Its taking a different route home. Go that extra step, get curious. Look around that extra corner. Take the initiative and try that new recipe. Be silly in public. Say ‘screw that I’m too old to learn anything new’ and do something new. Laugh at the mistakes, enjoy the new places you are going to take yourself. It’s allowing yourself to you open your mind to the possibilities, and seeing what life will bring you. Fortune does not favor the weak or the timid.

Or so I have to remind myself.
Every day.

I’m still here,

P.S. this is more of a post for myself, than anyone else. If you like it, let me know. Drop a comment.

Technology : Tools of the Trade

It’s not a murse. Its my backpack. It holds a lot of my technology that I use on a daily basis.  And because of it, I have been writing a lot more. I have been getting out of the house more. But is it my decision to get out? Or is it the tools which allows me to do so?

These are the questions I ask myself, as I write on my netbook directly onto a website interface, while sipping on double dark chocolate mocha watching rainbarrel clouds out the window. Yes I should be writing, I did get around 2k done today for another chapter of Goodstone’s mystery in King City. Yes, I should shutdown my other tabs on my browser… (facebook, gmail, classified ads, webcomics) and I should concentrate on writing this entry.

Which brings up the next point, are we becoming technologically ADHD? Will there ever come the day for the single tool that will be able to do it all?  From my days of instructing eager minds the methods of computer hardware and repair, I always preached that I wouldn’t be that guy. You know them, you’ve seen them. The one man laptop, music player, cell phone etc… I’ve inadvertently become that person…. with a gps for another hobby. Geocaching.  Which reminds me, I should get one of those solar panel chargers for my batteries…

Has this technology made our lives easier? In some regards. An unfortunate side effect is that in an instant messaging world, the easier we have accepted quick change. Unfortunately, we have pushed ourselves into situations where longterm plans become complicated with all the small quick changes along the way. I remember a time when I would only use a phone once a week. And when people made plans, they stuck to them. Even if it meant that you had to ignore other factors that came up in the meantime. You commited yourself to those plans.

Yes, for writing and creation of content, computers have become just as necessary as knives are for cooking. I wrote the majority of my NaNoWriMo novel on my home computer, plugging away at the daily count. But for research, surfing, quick notes and information feeds, it went back to my netbook. I’ve written more flash fiction on this netbook than on my home computer. Definitely a sign of what I’ve written is more along the lines of instant nomadic creative content, a singular flash mob of story. Also a sign of how the tools themselves also influence the shape of the content I’m creating.  But the software is the same though. I still use WriteMonkey and ZuluPad for my initial writing, then put the text into something heartier to run spellcheck/grammarcheck/layout. I still use MediaMonkey for listening to podcasts and music on both machines.

Could I handwrite my stories? I could, but with the flow of story, I find that I can keep up via typing faster. Handwriting is not fast enough to keep up. But it does work for outlines, for lists, for cryptic little notes about characters that occur to me during the day when I’m not writing. It’s a different style for me, a different mindset to see the ink on the paper. I think I will limit myself to doing just that as my handwriting is horrible.

Is there any other tools that you would recommend that you can’t go without? Any piece of software that you can’t live without? Let me know your opinion, post up comments, send cookies…

I’m still here,