Principles Of Win Wenger's And Paul Scheele's Work
work is the original text from 1997. Much of this work has been
updated, but I'm presenting it here in its original form]
Mastery Finds the Holy
The Ultimate Fundamental
The Nature of Words
and the Rest is History
At Last, We've Come
The Rules of Observation
So Why Image Streaming?
HI-HO, HI-HO, It's
Off To Photoreading I Go
Vroom, Vroom, Crash.
Speed Reading Just Isn't For Me
Getting Under The Hood
A Matter Of Trust
note on my writing style:
All of the
following words are my own, as are some of the conclusions. I have
emailed both Win and Paul and I hope they get a chance to read this
and give their input. If they do, I will post their replies (with
their permission, of course).
added some humor along the way that's designed to keep your mind
from wandering. Oftentimes when we read heady material, it can get
really dry and reading begins to seem like a chore. I hope that
the humor does not dissuade you in any way from taking this material
All of Dr.Wenger's
work recognizes the First Law of Behavioral Psychology (The Law
of Effect), which states:
you reinforce, you get more of.
huh? If you reinforce a behavior (giving your dog a treat when he
rolls over), you'll get more of that behavior (hours of fun while
your dog gets dizzy). If you reinforce a skill (practicing), you
become more skillful (mastery). Win applies this law to his Principle
of Description which states:
you describe of something while observing it, the more you will
perceive of it.
Okay, so far
so good. But why does he single out observation? How does observation
increase one's intelligence?
a step backwards for a minute. If you wanted to improve your basketball
skills, you would work on the fundamentals, right? Sure, just playing
dozens of basketball games will eventually improve certain aspects
of your game (and it'll often make bad habits worse), but nothing
can substitute for practicing the fundamentals. By mastering the
fundamentals of dribbling, passing, and shooting, your game will
improve drastically because then all of your conscious attention
will be directed toward the 'higher order' skills like recognizing
opposing formations, anticipating opposing players' movements, and
finding and exploiting opportunities, rather than on how to dribble
without stepping on the ball.
Take some other
skills that we all take for granted (admittedly, not everyone plays
basketball, myself included).
requires an enormous amount of coordination, balance, depth perception,
estimation of distance and location and so on
- Verbal communication
requires an enormous amount of knowledge and comprehension of
syntax, sentence structure, vocabulary, tonality, gestures, not
to mention the muscle control involved in forming vowels and consonants
and so on
a stick-shift car requires coordination of clutch and accelerator,
attention to the environment, estimation of speed and distance
of both your vehicle and other vehicles, knowledge of the laws,
understanding what street signs say and mean and so on
mind cannot handle all of the information necessary to do these
tasks. Studies have shown that it is only capable of handling about
126 bits of information every second (this figure is based of the
studies that show we can only hold 7 plus/minus 2 bits of information
at a time and that the smallest slice of time our conscious minds
recognize is 1/18th of a second). At some point in a our development,
we consciously learned how to move our bodies in deliberate ways
and process verbal communication. And during those 'peak learning'
occasions, it took every ounce of attention we had. Yet today, we
take these skills for granted.
So why is it
that Michael Jordan is such a great basketball player? How is it
that we may juggle the definitions of thousands of words and have
to follow dozens of rules of grammar, yet 99.99% of the time our
communication is clear? How am I able to drink coffee while driving
a stick-shift car (you may begin the applause now)?
Finds the Holy Grail
is that when fundamental skills and knowledge are learned and mastered,
they are stored in the unconscious parts of our minds. We then become
unconsciously competent of those skills. From that point
on, all our conscious minds need to do is give the 'higher order'
command and all of the fundamental skills are handled unconsciously
at lightning speed. In fact, our unconscious minds are millions
of times faster than our conscious minds and can store nearly an
infinite amount of information (as opposed to just 7 +/- 2 bits
at a time). Accessing that ability is what accelerated learning
is all about. Ironically, just about everything you've been taught,
especially your study skills, are completely wrong. More on this
in a few minutes.
We often don't
acknowledge attaining unconscious competence because we're always
focusing on what we don't know (the next higher order skill), but
the truth is that we're all tremendously skillful at a great many
things. And this is because we decided that those skills (especially
the fundamental skills like walking and talking) were so important
(usually because there were so many models around us) that we applied
as many strategies as necessary to master those skills. Unfortunately,
we don't have that same motivation to become full-fledged geniuses
(probably because there aren't a lot of geniuses to model ourselves
Okay, so we
agree that mastery of fundamentals must precede mastery of 'higher
order' skills because those 'higher order' skills require fundamentals
top be performed subconsciously. So now let's get back to my question.
Why does Dr.Wenger single out observation? Could it be that observation
is the fundamental skill of intelligent thought? Well, let's
examine that perspective.
agree on our goal. The goal of increasing one's intelligence can
be compared to increasing the horsepower of an automobile. We want
to increase our capacity. Granted, we won't be flooring it 24 hours
a day, but the ability to go faster and pull more weight raises
its value and comes in handy when we do need the extra capacity.
In more specific
terms, we want to be able to master higher order thinking skills
increasingly complex problems with multiple variables
higher mathematics and deductive equations
- using an
expanded vocabulary so we can articulate our thoughts more precisely
- having truly
creative insights - not just incremental improvements and extrapolations
of existing innovations
- voting Libertarian
- [fill in
your favorite one here]
greater ease, accuracy, efficiency, and elegance.
But while improving
our higher order brain functions might be our goal, it is the fundamentals
of thought that provide the greatest opportunity for massive improvement.
The only reason we 'hit a wall' or 'reach a plateau' in any
skill set is because we've narrowed our focus too much and we're
not acknowledging all of the fundamentals that contribute to the
skill set. (read that last sentence again, it's important)
makes the connection between mathematical ability and athletic ability,
or chess and poetry. But there are an increasing number of studies
that show that building bridges between seemingly unrelated
skills and disciplines may drastically improve the competencies
levels of each. For more on this, read the part on pole-bridging
So what is
the fundamental of all brain fundamentals? Sensory information.
you could understand language, or crawl around the floor, or even
coo, you were thinking. Your brain has been operating 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week since it first switched on (yes, even when watching
Melrose Place, though not very much).
Your very first
'thoughts' were sensory-based because your senses were all that
you had. You hadn't yet figured out what anything meant. It was
all just sights, sounds, feelings, smells, and tastes. This sensory
information laid the foundation for every subsequent skill and field
of study that you pursued. Even today, every new piece of information
is automatically and subconsciously associated with your previously
laid sensory foundation.
for my purposes here, 'images' mean not only pictures, but all sensory
information including sounds, feelings, textures, smells, etc.
So why aren't
we all perfect learners? When we are babies, we learn at such an
astonishing rate. Conventional wisdom (or lack thereof) states that
this is a genetic phenomenon and this 'superbaby' state (a phrase
stolen from Tony Buzan And Michael Gelb) leaves us at an early age.
But is it just
a coincidence that this 'superbaby' learning curve starts to flatten
about the same time we are taught to think in words, rather than
sensory-laden images? Is it just a coincidence that our learning
rate slows down considerably once we enter a formal learning structure?
and why hasn't Oliver Stone produced a movie on this conspiracy?
Nature of Words
Words are just
representations of thoughts. It would be tremendously difficult
to convey our thoughts to others without words.
are descriptive (nouns label people, places and things, adjectives
differentiate nouns from other similar nouns, verbs describe actions).
Other words just provide syntax and structure for the standardized
arrangement of those descriptive words.
skills are 'higher order' skills. They are not naturally developed
like sight or hearing. If such was the case, we'd all speak the
same language. Verbal skills are learned by associating what comes
out of our models (Mom and Dad and everyone who uses language around
us when we are young) to that sensory foundation that I mentioned
is learned, we become unconsciously competent at verbal skills (unless
you're taking the SAT, then you temporarily forget English altogether).
We don't notice that every time we communicate verbally, there are
thousands of associations being triggered subconsciously. Our conscious
attention (remember, it is limited to about 126 bits per second)
is being spent on higher order tasks, like what is being said. Meanwhile,
this wondrous supercomputer called our unconscious mind is making
all these profound associations, creating innovative angles, anticipating
future situations, and doing a billion other things simultaneously.
But the conscious mind isn't noticing any of it. For the vast majority
of us, our conscious minds have turned off the sensory, instinctual
cues from our unconscious brain. This is because our conscious minds
were taught to think in words.
In fact, we're
only consciously aware of an infinitesimally small fraction of what's
going on in our unconscious minds. But what if we could consciously
access more of that power? What if we could use our limited conscious
minds to give our unconscious minds a command (or a problem to solve,
or a novel idea to create) and unleash that natural power? Then
we could translate the answer back into words so we communicate
it to the rest of the world.
To borrow another
analogy from Dr.Wenger, imagine our minds as the most powerful computer
in the universe (kind of like a Macintosh). The processor and the
hard drive would be the unconscious mind. The monitor screen would
be the conscious mind. So many of us insist that what's on the screen
is all there is, because that is all that can be accurately and
precisely measured. But if you understand how the software works,
you can use the information on the screen to 'trigger' the tremendous
power of the processor and access any information on the hard drive.
is, God didn't write us a manual (maybe it fell off Noah's ark).
GBD.com without it costing you a dime. Learn
Stumbles and the Rest is History
came this guy named Albert Einstein. Everyone thought he was just
another genius anomaly. Genetics were kind and that wild hair destined
him for genius. Right? Um
great geniuses lived long ago and their backgrounds are hard to
research, Einstein was a rather recent phenomenon. And there is
enough material on his upbringing to try to form some theories as
to how he became so smart. Much to the dismay of geneticists everywhere,
it wasn't in the genes.
many geniuses) was a complete dunce as a child. His verbal skills
were years behind his peers. He was a daydreamer. He barely passed
high school math. He was rejected by every university he applied
to for his masters degree. Then, five years after taking a crappy
job as a patent clerk, the world trembled. The same people who had
rejected him all his life became speechless. Einstein became a celebrity,
yet almost no one could even understand his Law of Relativity. And
to this day, we're still trying to prove and disprove his theories.
What was his
secret? No, it wasn't megadoses of vitamin C. Because Einstein was
so poor in verbal skills (he mumbled well into his seventh year),
his teachers gave up on trying to force him to think in words. So
Einstein continued to think in images. Over time, those images became
more vivid, complex, and provocative.
He had stumbled
upon the knack for accessing more of his supercomputer. While the
other kids were taught to use the slide rule (aka thinking in words),
Einstein was upgrading his processor and expanding his hard drive
(aka thinking in imagesthe fundamentals of thought). It was
only a matter of time before he was light years ahead (pardon the
pun) of everyone else. All he needed were adequate verbal skills
to translate and articulate those images and their conclusions.
A hero was
born. And a model for the future generation of genius.
Last, We've Come Full Circle
Now let's put
everything together. We know that the practice of fundamentals will
reap enormous long-term improvements of 'higher order' tasks. We
know that once we reach mastery of those fundamentals, we become
unconsciously competent of those skills, thus allowing our conscious
attention to be spent on higher order tasks. And we know that sensory
information is the fundamental of the human mind and words are just
'higher order' representations of those fundamentals.
Now comes the
$64,000 question. If the foundation of our thinking is sensory information,
wouldn't strengthening the connection between our verbal conscious
minds and sensory inner minds offer a tremendous boost to our accessible
And what triggers
sensory information? Observation and other similar 'activation'
could be defined as articulating the images, intuitions, and feelings
your senses experience. I'm not talking about just external observation.
For each external sense we have, there is a corresponding internal
sense. You've heard of the mind's eye. Well, you also have a mind's
ear (remember that stupid song on the radio that keeps playing in
your head?), as well as an internal sense of touch, smell, and taste.
So how does
working with observation make me smarter?
happens to be the most powerful technique to link your slow, limited,
primarily verbal conscious mind to your fast, unlimited, sensory
unconscious mind. By observing, you are reconnecting with your 'superbaby'
learner. As you bring your initially indistinct images and subtle
cues into more conscious awareness, you are progressively reinforcing
the skills of accessing that supercomputer.
So you say
you're already pretty observant. Well, I beg to differ.
gawking at attractive members of the opposite sex, we are all very
limited in our observation skills. The fact is, hardly anyone observes
anything past what he expects to see or hear. Rarely do we pay attention
to our sensory perceptions. Thus, rarely do we get past what we
'know'. Our minds have created shortcuts of perception that we've
been leaning on like crutches since we were five years old. It's
time to lose the crutches and reopen to floodgates to the powers
of our minds.
Rules of Observation
Principle of Description? Dr.Wenger makes five supporting rules
that are designed to drastically accelerate your powers of observation.:
ALOUD to an external focus enhances discovery.
- The more
sensory (and less abstract) the descriptions, the more parts of
your brain are activated, resulting in more powerful effects.
- The very
act of description not only enhances your perception, but also
reinforces the behavior of being perceptive.
Take a deep
breath, this next one's an earful
- If some
of your perceptions being described/reinforced are initially subtle,
those perceptions are arising from parts of the brain not usually
much 'online' with immediate verbal consciousness. In these instances,
picking up on and describing such subtler perceptions brings more
of those further reaches of your brain 'online', together with
their resources and intelligence.
the descriptions will bring further perceptions (example: record
onto a cassette, talk it over with a friend, mindmap it, then
write it out).
trying to learn a skill, solve a problem, or create, your aim should
be to increase the neurological contact with what you're trying
to learn, solve, or create.You do this by designing a context
around your focus and applying the above principles of description
to activate the subtle faculties of your mind.
development relies on feedback from our own spontaneous and
expressive activity. Secondhand experience is far less effective.
It is only through becoming an original observer and expressing
your observations will you unleash the tremendous power of your
why Image Streaming?
is an exercise developed by Win Wenger. It is designed to do three
enhance your powers of description
- Widen the
connection between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind
as many different brain functions simultaneously as possible
written at length about the first two.
that links opposite portions of the brain leads to overall balance.
This goes beyond simple left brain/right brain analysis. Win calls
it 'pole-bridging' where you are using opposite 'poles' of your
brain simultaneously and lays down 'tracks' for future complex thought
requiring multiple skills. No other technique activates as many
poles as image streaming.
practice, you will begin to notice a synergy that I alluded to earlier,
where studying math can help you hit a baseball or studying poetry
can help your typing speed. The right brain/left brain camp has
been saying for years that the key to enhancing intelligence is
to spend time developing your weak side, rather than strengthening
your dominant side. Pole-bridging recognizes that there's more going
on than just two hemispheres specializing in certain skills.
in mind that image streaming isn't the only pole-bridging technique.
Freenoting, periscope learning, and others are also explained in
Win Wenger's books.
several poles and accessing the information that's triggered and
processed, you open up your whole mind to a task. It's like firing
all 12 cylinders in your engine, when before you were only firing
Thus, you increase
your ability to handle all higher level thinking such as concrete
experience, abstract conceptualization, reflective observation,
and active experimentation.
And that, my
friend, is an increase in intelligence, no matter how you measure
Much of this
is elaborated on in You Are Brighter Than You Think and Win's other
HI-HO, It's Off To Photoreading I Go
that's all well and good," you say. "But what about putting
the information in my mind in the first place?" We can increase
our powers of observation and learn to perceive even the subtlest
cues from our unconscious minds, but if we want to stand on the
shoulders of the greats that preceded us, we need to study their
work. And humans use words to communicatea lot of them actually.
What is the most powerful way to read through the masses of words
and numbers out there and retrieve the useful information? Does
such a skill exist?
Ta da (imagine
some inspiring musical accompaniment)
The skill I
am referring to is photoreading. Admittedly, I thought photoreading
was full of bunk when I first read about it. After all, if we're
not reading every word individually, how can we possibly comprehend
what's on the pages?
uses the powers of the unconscious mind to "read" material
at 15,000, 25,000, even 70,000 words per minute. It isn't as exhausting
as speed reading and increasing your photoreading skills has a massive
residual effect on many other skills as well.
Okay, I know
what you're thinking: "I don't understand the title of this
section". HI-HO stands for High Input, High Output. It's a
phrase coined by Win Wenger that describes how by combining the
techniques of photoreading with image streaming, freenoting, periscope
learning, and dynamic format, you will be using the most leveraged
accelerated learning system on the planet (if you think that's an
exaggeration, feel free to prove me wrong).
Before I get
into how photoreading works, let's take a history lesson, okay?
Stop groaning, it'll be brief.
Vroom, Crash. Speed Reading Just Isn't For Me
was reading, a pretty impressive feat in human advancement.
Next came speed
reading. We've all heard of speed reading. People reading at 5000
words a minute. Whew! That must be something, huh?
While the basic
techniques of speed reading are valuable, taking it into the 1000+
words per minute range is exhausting (rumor has it that speed reading
is just a sinister plot to sell more aspirin) and requires a continued
practice. As Woody Allen once said "I once speed read War
And Peace. I think it was about Russia."
I highly recommend to everyone to read Tony Buzan's book Use
Both Side of Your Brain. In it is a section on speed reading
that just covers the basics. And that's all you really need. It
will help you to diagnose and fix the most common and debilitating
bad reading habits.
generation of reading was born by complete accident (just like penicillin).
One day (c.1984)
a speed reading instructor from Arizona (where the common mantra
is: "but it's a dry heat") was teaching his students eye
fixation patterns (one of the basic skills in speed reading). He
instructed them to turn their books upside down and practice pacing
their eyes across the page. On a whim, he tested them on the material
and they scored higher than they ever have before.
was, he didn't know why this happened. It's a lot like Einstein's
genius (or anybody else's genius for that matter). You can stumble
upon the knack, but unless you articulate the knack and present
it in a universally accessible way, the knack becomes labeled just
A young speed
reading student named Paul Scheele became intrigued when he heard
of this experiment. He was determined to find out why it happened
and then design his own reading course based on his findings.
Under The Hood
So how does
What Paul found
is that we all have what is called a preconscious processor that
can absorb information without involving the conscious mind. You
see, we cannot consciously read more than about 5000 words a minute.
Since our conscious mind can be pretty accurately measured, the
prevailing wisdom (or lack thereof) concluded that this was the
absolute reading speed limit.
how I said that our unconscious minds are millions of times faster
than our conscious minds? Every second, our unconscious minds are
observing millions of bits of data from our senses. Our eyes are
tremendously sensitive instruments, capable of picking up minute
details of our environment.
works by approaching your reading in five steps:
Not every step
is necessary every time. By learning how to "photofocus"
our eyes (part of the photoreading step), we can take advantage
of the ability to let our unconscious minds "read" a whole
page of text at a time. Then, by applying the activation techniques
(one of which is image streaming), we can probe our subconscious
minds and access the answers to the questions that made us pick
up the material in the first place.
I get into
certain aspects of photoreading in more depth in 'My Own Thoughts'
Page. For now, I strongly urge you to at least read the book.
Matter Of Trust
that Paul Scheele and Win Wenger teaches is verifiable. But none
of it is mainstream, at least not yet. Yes, there are plenty of
resources to back up the laws and theories on which both of their
work is based.
But the human
mind is a very difficult organ to test objectively. Nowhere outside
the world of quantum physics does Heisenberg's principle (the observer
alters the observed by mere act of observing) rear it's ugly head
more than in the study of the human mind.
Thus, the ultimate
test for any theory or system involving the human mind (be it NLP,
hypnosis, primal scream therapy, or accelerated learning) is whether
or not it works. We may never know exactly how the mind itself works.
Our best hope is to progressively create more accurate models of
the human mind and apply those models toward our goals.
For now, mastery
of image streaming and photoreading requires a little trust on your
part. We can sit and argue about semantics for days, but nothing
will convince you more than learning and doing.
We all have
skeptical minds, some more than others, and that isn't a bad thing.
In fact, it is a sign of intelligence. But I implore you to trust
that your inner mind does have these abilities and that all it takes
is persistence and applying enough strategies to access these abilities.