Repeated use of inefficient note-making/taking systems has a number of consequences for our brains:
• We lose our powers of concentration, as a result of the brain's understandable rebellion against mistreatment. \
• We acquire the time-consuming habit of making notes on notes in an attempt to discover the ever more elusive essence of whatever we are studying.
• We experience loss of confidence in our mental abilities and in ourselves.
• We lose the love of learning so evident in young children and those who have been fortunate enough to learn how to learn.
• We suffer from boredom and frustration.
• The harder we work, the less we progress, because we are unwittingly working against ourselves.
Our current note-making/taking systems produce ever diminishing returns. What we need is a system that produces increasing returns.
f Two stories are relevant at this point. The first concerns the case history of an autistic girl recorded in Springer and Deutch's 'Left Brain Right Brain' (1985). The authors report that superior artistic ability is often to be found in autistics who also have a severe language disability. They comment that 'At the age of three and a half, Nadia was producing lifelike drawings with considerable detail..They suggest that these special abilities reflect the contribution of the right hemisphere, and later note that Nadia's drawing skills 'diminished as therapy continued'.
Had Nadia been taught in a manner compatible with her brain's function, she would probably have continued to develop her already strong artistic skills in addition to developing verbal skills. Mind Maps would have been the appropriate tool.
The second story concerns a young girl in New York, who at the age of nine was an A student. By the time she was 10, she had become a B student; by the age of 11 a C student; and by the age of 12 a D student, verging on total failure. She, her teachers and her parents were all mystified, as she had been studying as hard, if not harder, every year, and was obviously intelligent.
Her parents arranged for me to meet her. After a long and sad conversation, she suddenly brightened up and said, 'There is one area in which I am doing better and better every year.'
'My notes,' she replied.
Her answer hit me like a thunderbolt, for it solved the mystery. In order to do better at school, she had assumed that she must make more and better notes. 'Better', to her, meant 'more sentency', as close as possible to verbatim, and more traditionally 'neat'. As a result, she was innocently pouring more and more effort into the very activity that was making her misunderstand and forget what she was studying. This method was used deliberately by a Russian called Shereshevsky, who had a perfect memory, to help him to forget\ As soon as she realised what she was doing, she was able to apply Mind Mapping and reverse the trend.
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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.