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Switch on Your Brain

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” – Confucius
They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Well, I think there’s a third…STUDYING! This inescapable fact applies to all of us at some point or another. And even after that final bell has rung or we’ve been awarded a degree, the need to keep learning throughout our lives is a reality we cannot elude.
Not many schools actually teach us how to study. All we’re told is to organise our notes, create a prioritised study plan, take regular breaks, and not to panic. Is that really all there is to it? Um, no. Fact is, we’re all different and generic advice like that simply won’t do. What we need is something that works for us as individuals. Fortunately, that something exists.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha
Switch On Your Brain is a book I highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn better and faster than they ever have before. In it, Dr Caroline Leaf outlines seven different intelligences. Each of these has implications for the way we think and learn. Briefly, they are as follows:
1. Logical / Mathematical – These people think by reasoning and love experimenting, questioning, and figuring out puzzles. The intelligence can be enhanced by playing mental calculation games and practising how to remember statistics (e.g. in sports).
2. Visual / Spatial – These people think in images and pictures and love designing, drawing, and visualising. The intelligence can be enhanced by working with flowcharts and doodling when thinking.
3. Linguistic – These people think in words and love reading, writing, and telling stories. The intelligence can be enhanced by reading broadly and doing crossword puzzles.
4. Kinaesthetic – These people think through movement and senses and love dancing, running, and gesturing. They “feel” what you mean. The intelligence can be enhanced by role-play situations as well as creative movement routines.
5. Intrapersonal – These people think deeply inside themselves and love planning, dreaming, and setting goals. The intelligence can be enhanced by spending quiet time alone as well as by developing greater self-awareness.
6. Interpersonal – These people think by bouncing ideas off other people and love leading, relating and, er, partying. The intelligence can be enhanced by retelling stories as well as engaging in group work.
7. Musical – These people think through rhythms and melodies, and love whistling, singing, and tapping. The intelligence can be enhanced by listening to classical music and humming while you work.
Of course, these descriptions are by no means exhaustive. After providing a thorough questionnaire to determine which profiles you most fit into (there can be more than one), the book goes into much more detail and includes suggestions on keeping your brain healthy with good nutrition, planning a career that would work best given your intellectual tendencies, as well as how to study appropriately in school, university, and beyond. It just makes sense.
“Truth here always forces its way into rational minds.” – Jonathan Swift

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