As an educator, I have spent some time learning basic functioning of brain, and what makes smart people smart.
3 Commandments of Smartness
Thou shall not miss : Fundamentally whenever a piece of information hits you, it needs to be captured well in the brain, so that some processing can be done on it. So, first step to smartness is how well does your brain ingest the information that is coming in. Making sure that you are not missing things or exhibitingmore than normal.
Thou shall keep it deep : Whenever some information is captured, it is recorded with contextual markers. If core information is the outline, contextual background are the colors. The reason why we remember 1 day fun trips but fail to recall 100 days we spent at workplace is because the contextual markers for 1 day trip were unique, deep and emotional. While for workplace, the context remains constant, thus making the information very superficial and hence unlikely to make a mark in your memory.
So how to make it deep ?, Give your information contextual backgrounds.
One of the ways to give different contextual backgrounds is by reviewing. However, the review that one does should be evenly spaced. It is popularly known as. This is how smarts get better long term memory.
Small amount each time, but more number of times.
Simple tricks – Keep bookmarking your web-pages, do not overdose yourself with knowledge in one go. Diversify !!, give yourself enough breaks for information to sink in.
Thou shall challenge it
Long-term memory is one side of the coin, Neuroplasticity is the other. How does one learn quickly ?, the answer lies in this word- Neuroplasticity. The ability to accept newer versions over older versions is neuroplasticity. The synaptic pathways that get solidified over time, should be flexible enough to reform themselves.
One of the ways to exploit neuroplasticity is by exposing yourself to conflicting and opposite pieces of information at regular intervals.
By doing this you basically let yourself go through
Cognitive dissonance is pretty much like muscle training, you bear the pain, so that you get stronger.
Simple tricks – Do new stuff, make puns, sing backwards, learn new languages, switch roles, meet people who oppose your views, understand them.
By Kriteesh Parashar: Educational Specialist
(Member of Mindspark Development Team)
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