I am not. At all. But I think that might be changing in my age. I used to be an extreme type A personality. Extreme. Then something happened. I’m not sure what, but then I became okay with just living in the status quo. I think part of that is because of a diagnosis of duodenal ulcer my freshman year of college. Or part of me decided to use that as an excuse for what turned out to be 5 years of laziness. Or perhaps it all stems from undiagnosed and untreated (for YEARS) obstructive sleep apnea. All I know is that I was tired of hustling.
And I was (and still am) left-brained. Sure the most recent research shows that there really is no delineation between being left or right brained (hard-science and proof vs. creative and “artsy”) so I am unable to explain it. So, I’ve never been creative.
However, I happened upon some theories and research in the recent past pertaining to memory. While it is true that, for those of us with all of our senses available to us, we experience 90% or so (ish) of our stimulation visually (and I do not mean men only, nor sexually), there are other means of gaining knowledge and interpretation of stimuli. There is also hearing. These are probably the top two when it comes to learning. Most people utilize a third when in a learning environment. Writing. Since writing is not a sense, per se, it benefits the one writing (by virtue of being the reader, generally) visually, often engaging the writer/note-taker in an, “Oh, yeah, right, I remember…” moment.
While there is obviously a benefit to this, there is a disadvantage that the note-taker experiences. The most obvious one is that the note-taker cannot possibly write (or type, this is now 2014!) as quickly as the speaker speaks to relay information. Thus, the note-taker is required to prioritize what it is that he or she is writing with regard to his or her suspicions as to what is worth remembering later. Truth be told, taking notes generally rarely helps with memory unless the notes are revisited at a later time.
I have taken it upon myself in the past year to try some new things. One of these is to be more intent in my blogging. I think I still suck at it (thank you for your kind words of encouragement), but to do so more frequently and to actually share it via Facebook and Twitter has been a challenge for me. The other was to experience my first 5k. There will be another one. Again with me being intentional. In order to ensure more time at the gym given down time and opportunity at work, I will keep a “ready bag” in my office – the gym is a mere 1/4 mile down the road.
Finally, I want to begin to exercise some creativity. This does not come naturally. Another item on the “research shows” for me is that folks who doodle or just draw odd shapes or whatever during meetings or presentations (even if those drawings have nothing to do with the topic), have a greater propensity for remembering the topic and the key points of the conversation. I do not know why that is, but it seems to make sense simply by engaging other regions of the brain. For the same reason, I encourage my clients to speak something, to write the same thing, and to hear it said to them by another individual. It stimulates different depths of memory and emotion. And emotion is what makes us human and alive.
How do you process information in a way that benefits you best? What’s your secret?