Speed reading is an important skill, as people around the world know. There are schools and organizations that teach speed reading in Europe, Australia, the Americas, and especially in Asia, where many countries are focused on becoming an even bigger part of the international economy. Africa is now home to a well-known speed reading institute that actually got its start in Europe 20 years ago, when the Ukranian businessman and reading expert Dmitry Shilin turned his own speed reading experience into a popular course. Today, the Shilin Speed Reading Institute is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and is helping thousands of people read faster. We talked to Managing Director Martin Sam about the program.
7S: When you joined the program in 2012, you brought your perspectives from a background in self-improvement and self-empowerment. How does speed reading connect with and contribute to these important goals?
MS: In my opinion it’s absolutely critical in two areas:
- Obviously from a personal point of view Speed Reading is highly valuable to your self-development. Reading allows you to learn from the mistakes and lessons of others without having to go through them yourself.
Also with the amount of information available today and the rate at which that information becomes obsolete, we need to be continually learning and keeping up to date. But we still process information at a rate of speed our ancestors did 100 – 400 years ago (one statistic I read claims that the average reading speed today is actually lower than the average reading rates of the 1970s and 80s).
It’s like trying to run Windows 8 on a 20 year old personal computer, which could explain increasing stress levels of students in schools, universities and in the work environment.
- Regarding the course, we dedicate a large proportion of time to the self-improvement and self-empowerment of our clients. I have found personally with my own reading and with our clients that the biggest hindrance to achieving great reading speeds are our self-limiting beliefs on what is and is not possible.
Current reading methodologies are so deeply ingrained and have become so accepted that when faced with another reality your subconscious mind will come up with whatever strategy it can to fight the new belief system in an attempt to protect the old belief system.
If you absolutely knew that you could read 10 times faster than you do now, would you not be interested in being able to develop that ability? One of the homework exercises we give to our students is to come up of three reasons why it is impossible to read three words at the same time. Nobody has been able to come up with real reason yet. I believe it’s because there isn’t one. We’ve just been so conditioned to believe it’s the only way.
We believe it is completely natural for anyone to be able to read 10, 20 or even 50 times faster than they currently do now. You just need to be dedicated to put in the work to be able to do it.
Speed reading is more than a skill or about reading books faster, it’s a paradigm shift in the way we think and learn and if you don’t keep up with the rest of the world as it evolves you will become extinct.
7S: What makes the Shilin method different from other speed reading programs?
MS: The Shilin Speed Reading Program is different for a number of reasons. In comparison to the other speed reading programs that I have had experience with the methodologies we use are very different. The fundamentals are the same as with many of the other speed reading programs but our approach to increasing your reading speed is different.
We do not use techniques to enhance the way you read now, but we actually train your brain to be able to absorb and process more information than you are currently doing now. In essence we are continuing from where your teachers stopped training you to read when you were 7 years old.
We don’t use finger or reading guides to guide your eyes while reading. When you have undergone enough training using the Shilin Speed Reading method you will be able to look at a large piece of text and be able to understand it instantaneously without reading linearly horizontally or even vertically. Benefit of this is being able to read on computer or tablet screens without needing to use a guide.
We also teach logic based theory which explains the real causes and effects of how we read as a society today and how we show you how to transcend that.
I think greatest difference between the Shilin Speed Reading program and the others out there is Dmitriy Shilin himself. He is a very unique and interesting man who is inspired by the work he does. Dmitriy has vast experience and a deep understanding of what works and doesn’t work in terms of reading abilities and the workings of the subconscious mind and your ability to read and process information.
A thousand of his own personal students achieved reading speeds of over 10 000 words per minute. I don’t think anyone else in the world can claim they have done same. In essence if you have goal to read much faster and you are willing to put in the work Dmitriy can help you achieve that goal.
7S: What age groups do you teach?
MS: We start with students from the age of 12 years old. At this age their vocabulary is developed well enough to start the training. However Dmitriy has trained students as young as four years old. These were special highly gifted children.
The best results are achieved by our younger students as they have spent less time reading and reinforcing old habits so are therefore a lot easier to change. However we have had clients over 40 years old increase their reading speed by 1000% in a day.
The benefits of reading faster are valuable to everyone so we have students attending our programs from all age groups.
7S: The Shilin classes are taught on site in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Do you offer online tools as well?
MS: No not yet, but we are in the early stages of developing electronic versions of the program.
7S: On your website you mention that a branch of the program will soon be opening in Ireland, closing the circle back to Dmitry Shilin’s European roots. Do you plan on continuing to expand the program to other countries in the future?
MS: Yes, we have a global vision for the company. Currently Dmitriy Shilin is the only one who knows how to deliver the program but once the work starts spreading again we will begin to train trainers as well offer electronic versions of the program.
Since moving to South Africa the course was not taught for over 17 years. In the Ukraine he went from one class to a 1000 students in a single year. We are confident that as we grow the company and word of mouth increases it will happen again. There are a few logistical problems with regard to running the program in other countries, but we will resolve them.
The last 18 months have been spent building the brand, setting up the company and protecting the intellectual property. Word of mouth is increasing and trust is building towards the company and people are opening up to the work. It may take 100 years but we have a vision that one day the course will be taught in every school and available to every child.
There have been evolutionary quantum leaps in technology, communication and travel in the last few decades, but why are we not doing the same for education? We can send a letter in milliseconds to someone on the other side of the world which once took days, weeks or months to deliver. I believe one-day we will look back in time and wonder why we spent the first 20 years of our lives in an education system that many agree is already obsolete.
My personal goal for the company is to ensure that when the world looks back on how we read today and how we read in the future that Dmitriy Shilin is credited as the one who helped achieve it.
Martin Sam is the Managing Director of the Shilin Speed Reading Institute. He is also a Demartini Method Facilitator who assists others as professional, personal and business development consultant. Connect with him on LinkedIn. http://www.linkedin.com/in/martinssam