How Your Brain’s Executive Network Wins
After You Surrender Control

Speed Reading Rules

In 5th grade, Mrs. Crawford screamed out to the class,
“Harold, stop daydreaming and pay attention. My 18-inch ruler
gives you five seconds to answer the next question or face the

In high school, Mr. Abbot punched me on the right shoulder and
strongly suggested, “Mr. Wechsler, no daydreaming in my class.
Wake up your attention now, or go to the principal’s office.”

Fact: normal healthy folks spend up to one-third of their waking
hours daydreaming without focus or concentration. Neuroscientists
in Canada suggest some of us spend 30 to 70% of our time daydreaming.

Is it Bad?

Sigmund Freud believed daydreaming was neurotic and infantile.
Walt Disney said he got the idea for his theme parks watching his
daughters and daydreaming. Tom Edison stopped working daily for a
20 minutes devoted to his daydreaming ritual seeking inventions.

The latest research – 5.13.09, lead author, K. Christoff, University of
British Columbia, was published in the journal – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offering a roadmap to successful daydreaming.

Mind Wandering

The difference between day and night dreaming is our power of personal
control, and long-term memory storage in daydreaming.

Rules: to productively daydream, you must consciously start within 20 minutes
of boring lecture or mind-numbing routine task. It must last for a minimum of

Think of a time you found yourself re-read the same paragraph three-times
and not grasping any meaning from the words. Your left-hemisphere (language-processing) turn-off, and dominance shifted to your right-hemisphere, the essence of imagination and creativity. Call it spatial skills and pattern recognition.

Professor Christoff

When you engage in a routine, repetitive task like counting, filing or cleaning,
we become less aware of our mind-wandering. Studying students using a functional
Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI), she discovered two separate but parallel neutal networks triggered during productive daydreaming.

For the past 25 years scientists were exclusively aware of our Default Network, activated during simple, boring events. It links our Prefrontal Cortex and Anterior Cingulate Cortex, and causes us to zone-out unproductively.

Professor Christoff discovered a second neural network triggered when our daydreaming involves complex problem solving. This is our Executive Network, and integrates left-and-right hemispheres using long-term semantic memory (language), and imagination and creativity to solve problems.

We get valuable new inventions and creative ideas only when both Default and Executive Networks are activated in parallel.

Milton H. Erickson, M.D. On Daydreaming

I am not concerned with how much you learn about
the Whys and Wherefores (intellectually) of (hypnosis)
or anything else – i.e. SpeedLearning in this room.

You will continue to process both the procedures (strategies)
and analyze the principles during your “twilight”
(scholars call it “hypnagogic state”) daydreaming moments.

How often do we DayDream?

Neuroscientists estimate our Twilight Zone between waking
hours (beta cycles per second) and hypnagogic (alpha and theta
cycles per second) time, at up to thirty (30%) percent.

Hypnagogic (Twilight) Daydreaming

We all experience these moments as being neither here-nor-there,
not-awake and not-asleep, yet a time when serious learning and
memory fix in our synapses and neural networks.

You have your own individual patterns of hypnagogic learning.
Is your dominant sensory representation visual imagery, auditory hints
(stream-of-consciousness), or remembered creative feelings leading to
mastering your new SpeedLearning skills?

Some of us begin daydreaming about our new skills and knowledge
immediately, others require time to consolidate our conscious
classroom experiences. Long-term memory is fixed through our
non-conscious alignment between the left and right hemispheres.

Integration (alignment) does not require awareness, attention or intention to make it so. The triggers are our corpus callosum, hippocampal, and anterior
commissures (joints) and they operate like our nervous system, silently and

We call these three the “switchboard”, the interhemispheric communication
system between our left and right brains. You own three very powerful tools.
They operate on autopilot.


It is natural in learning new procedural skills (typing, computing, driving, and
SpeedLearning), to attempt to understand Why (analysis) it works, while simultaneously experiencing (practicing) the How of your new skill.

Keep intellectualizing separate from the procedural (skill) drilling. They are
in opposition. Call it Analysis (separation) verses Synthesis (combining).
One cancels out the other, so don’t step on the accelerator and brake together.

SpeedLearning Principle: Why (?) it works is intellectual and left-brained; How (?) to do it - is a procedural, right-brained (motor) skill. They are contradictory during
the learning process, and later integrated and aligned.

Principle: keep the experience (doing) away from your intellect. Experiencing is right-brain dominant (pattern-recognition), while analysis is left-hemispheric
(language) centered. When you attempt to combine, you inhibit the firing of your new synapses, and hardwiring of new neural networks.

Google: Donald O. Hebb brain principles: the cells that fire-together, wire-together.
The connection between neurons (nerve cells) increases in efficacy, in proportion
to the degree of correlation between pre-and post-synaptic activity.

He helped explain the concept of Stimulus/Response in neuroscience.


Would having a unique competitive advantage in school and career help you
obtain promotions and financial rewards? We suggest that reading three-times
faster, with double your present long-term memory skills may be useful.

Ask us how.

Speed Reading Rules
See ya,

copyright © 2009 H. Bernard Wechsler.

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals,
published by Barron's. Business partner
of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading,
graduating 2 million, including the White House
staffs of four U.S. Presidents.