ABOUT OUR BRAINS. Understanding how your brains work and why you do things in a way you do is important not only in work, but for life in general.
In this post I'll present two different thinking modes + an exercise to practice.
Neuroscientists have been making profound advances in understanding the two different networks that the brain switches between:
>> focused mode (highly attentive state). It is when you concentrate on something that's already tightly connected in your mind, often because you are familiar and comfortable with the understanding concept. Your thoughts moves easily through the previously ingrained patterns and quickly settle on a solution. That's why sometimes it's so difficult to find a new creative solution to the problem you're solving.
>> diffuse mode (resting state). It is what happens when you relax your attention and just let your mind wander. This relaxation can allow different areas of the brain to hook up and return valuable insights, to see a "bigger picture". You can switch to a diffuse mode by going for a walk, doing meditation, yoga or simply watching something easy.
So these two modes are highly important for learning and solving problems. To find a new approach, you should first focus on a problem and then turn on a "big picture" diffuse mode.
And now you try! See whether you can form a new triangle that points down by moving only three circles. When you relax your mind, releasing your attention and focusing on nothing in particular, the solution can most easily come to you.
Let me know if it worked!
P.S. information was taken from the book "A mind for numbers" by Barbara Oakley. This is THE book that I highly recommend everyone to read.
How breathing techniques can help you learn faster.
The key is to apply these two principles:
>> first you need to focus. Bring yourself to heightened state of alertness. Do super oxygenated breathing (like Wim Hof or kundalini breathings).
>> then you want to drop yourself to a state of calm. Do that with ‘inhale -> inhale -> exhale’ breathing couple of rounds. Then your brain is in a state of hightent learning because of higher levels of neuro chemicals like sydocolin.
I haven't tested yet, but very keen to try and see if it really works.
P.S. a great video about growth mindset & neuro plasticity explained in a very simple way.
Worth your time!
PRETEND. Einstein's theories of relativity arose not from his mathematical skills (he constantly needed to collaborate with mathematicians to make progress) but from his ability to pretend. He imagined himself as a photon moving at the speed of light, then imagined how the second photon might perceive it. What would that second photon see and feel?
Barbara McClintock, who won a Nobel Prize for her discovery of genetic transposition ("jumping genes" that can change their place on the DNA stand), imagined gigantic versions of the molecular elements she was dealing with. She personalized even made friends with the elements she was studying.
It may seem silly to stage a play in your mind's eye and imagine the elements and mechanisms you are studying or working on as living creatures with their own feelings and thoughts. But it's a method that works and helps you see and understand phenomena that you couldn't intuit.
Discover and use your power of imagination and mimication in the work you do.
From Barbara Oakley book "A mind for numbers" - The book for learning how to learn.
IMPROVE READING. You can create little neural hooks to hang your thinking on, making reading an article, book, etc. easier to grasp:
>> Take a "picture walk" through the article.
>> Glance not only at the graphics, photos, but also headings, summary and even highlights/questions at the the end if the article has them.
>> Read the article.
You'll be surprised at how spending a minute or two glancing ahead before you read in depth will help you organise your thoughts.
TIP: if you want it really stick!
After you've finished the article - summarise it (write it down or tell it yourself). And if you be able to explain it to a 5-year-old (means as simply as possible), then you’ve really learned and understood it.