Archives for September 2015

Smart Thinking

I just finished reading the book Smart Thinking by Art Markman, PHD which went over some great ideas in cognitive science to help the reader understand how the mind works, how memory works, and how to effectively learn and use knowledge. In the pursuit for your independent prosperity, reading and increasing your knowledge should be a main objective. It will expedite and disburden your journey. This is a great book to start with to ensure you effectively absorb and use knowledge to build your prosperity. IMG_0037

3 key ideas from the book:

The brain often works in 3’s. Most people can only retain memory of about 3 things from any one event, presentation, meeting, book, situation, observation, etc. An example provided in this book was a baseball game where the 3 main things you may remember are: 1-home run hit, 2-unfair out called, 3-batter getting hit by a pitch. In this baseball game example, that person may remember 3 details about each: 1-who hit the home run, 2-how many runners were on base, 3-the pitchers that got switched as result. Therefore, to enhance your memory, practice summarizing the 3 most important points of any event/situation to solidify your retention of the information. Also, when teaching or presenting to others, keep in mind the rule of 3 and try not to overstimulate your audience with too many facts or topics.

Memory is triggered by associations: similarities in either objects, or relationships. Solving problems depends on our ability to draw on past experiences that relate in some way to the current problem, providing insight and perspective on options for solving that problem. Most people trigger memory through similar objects, but triggering memory through relationship using analogies is much more effective most of the time. Practice rewording problems in a more abstract description when trying to find a solution as this will help trigger more memories through relational context (analogies) that don’t necessarily have similar objects – use proverbs.

Repetition creates habits that become automatic. If you want to change a habit, become aware of what triggers the automatic behavior and find something to replace the unwanted habit. An example from the book: trying to stop eating snacks while watching TV. The trigger is sitting down in front of the TV and you can replace the habit of eating with knitting, engage your hands in some other activity.  If you want to create a new habit, practice the action and link it to a trigger that will help it become instinctual. An example from the book: remembering where you put your car keys. Place a hook by the front door that you see when you come home that will remind you to put your keys there. How can you improve your smart thinking habits? How can you create the new habit of summarizing the 3 main points after every meeting, lecture, book, convention, etc? What other ways can help you think about things more abstractly besides proverbs?

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