What makes you successful at learning

The longest night this year is December 21st. This is a good time to think about the way we passed and the way ahead of us. This year I have definitely made my share of mistakes, yet I learned a couple of valuable lessons. It is probably impossible to tell what makes people successful in life, …

Your life as a story: using autobiographic memory

Quite often we can view our life as a story. People often tell that before the clinical death they could see their whole life passing before their eyes. This is the autobiographic memory in action. Autobiographic memory is very important in our life. We can train it, we can use it to remember other things, …

Brainy habits

There are many ways to study in life. Some ways are more conventional than others. There is an intricate connection between what we do and what we know. Some habits may have a surprising effect on our brain. This post was inspired by this, this, this and this articles. Conventional education It is pretty safe …

How to choose a book to read

Suppose we generated enough time each day to read something meaningful. This is in no way a small achievement, and if you can read every day you are probably one step ahead of 90% of your peers. Now, what do we read to make the most of this time? The answer is probably quite complex… …

Physical switches in our brain

Our brain is a physical object, and its reactions are physical. We may attribute our memories and experiences to some spiritual and intellectual domain, which is perfectly fine. Sometimes, however, it is best to attribute our experiences to misinterpreted physical experiences. For example, if you have a bad gut feeling, it is probably a heartburn …

Long term memory manipulations

Most of the memorization methods work with memory for several hours or days. This is what we train working with memory palaces and mindmaps. Some of the exercises work with short-term and memory: remembering an image of a paragraph or a series of numbers for a few second, enough to grasp complex concepts and generate …

Iterative reading of complex documents

Suppose we are doing a research project, and find a patent or a complex article. The document contains text, tables, graphs, names, numbers, formulas… Where do we even start reading? How do we know we understand what needs to be understood? Occasionally it makes sense to read a document more than once or twice, but …

Journal of markers for complex subjects

Sometimes coming up with visualizations is easy, and sometimes it is very hard. When we deal with abstract and professional terms, names and languages the visualization process suddenly become complex. There is only so much time we can allocate to visualize and remember everything while reading. How do we deal with such situations? The easiest …

Dealing with emotional texts

Reading is a sort of conversation, and like any conversation, it can be stressful. If you disagree with the author and his arguments, will you be able to consider them openly? If reading the text strikes some old wound in your soul, will you focus on the text or your own pain? If you are …

Noticing your progress vs measuring it

To which extent can we notice our progress and to which extent do we need to monitor it? Our mind is full of biases and not to be trusted, however if we focus entirely on measurements we may loose something precious that forgot to measure. I will tell tales of two students and then we …