Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the category “Deliberate Practice”

Four ways to read differently to be successful

With the amount of great content available we need to examine our strategies for consuming information.

An article on Forbes.com today questions whether you are reading fast enough to be successful

I’ve found four things really help effective information consumption:

1. Always have a reading objective. If you’re reading a book on innovation, ask yourself what you want to be left with after reading it (a checklist for launching your own product/ a basic understanding etc.). For pleasure reading however, just give yourself permission to lose yourself.

2. Fit into the gaps of your day. Have Pocket on your smartphone with saved articles of interest for a spare minute on the subway. Have a great feed reader like FeeddlerPro on your homescreen for a quick scan while you’re in the ATM queue.

3. Switch ways of taking information in. Audio books or your Kindle’s text-to-speech function whilst you exercise, walk to work or do the gardening allows you to absorb information with less effort.

4. A speed-reading technique that works for me for quick consumption of information: read it back to front. Reverse-reading by conclusion, paragraph opening sentences and sub-headings seems to crank my attention up a level and gives me a faster understanding.

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There will be a last time…

There will be a last time you hear the sound of snow falling, watch the moon rise, smell popcorn, feel the warmth of a child falling asleep in your arms, or make love. You will someday eat your last meal, and soon thereafter you will take your last breath.

– William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life (the ancient art of stoic joy)

Oxygen, Glucose and the Brain: spend it wisely

JB comments on Will I? : The Frontal Cortex, ‘I have to question the opening statement of this post….”we can’t help but talk to ourselves”. While it’s true that our brain automatically reverts to operating “in the default mode” when we don’t give it something more demanding to do, it turns out this mental chatter uses as much glucose and oxygen as giving the brain a more demanding mental task. Mindful-awareness meditation trains the brain to just be present for whatever sense perceptions are happening without that ongoing commentary and when a decision about action is required, one automatically discriminates between the choices based on whether the action will be helpful to self and others or not. This is truly getting in touch with one’s intrinsic power and wisdom and compassion and saves energy’

The average amount of mental chatter is scary. However, when we consider our energy as a finite daily resource which is expended via lack of focus, our human interest in focus and attention starts to look like an evolutionary adaptation in action.

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