The power of the human mind

Please picture an iceberg and now imagine that the iceberg is submerged and all that you can see is the very top of it. The rest of that huge bulk lies deep below the water. Well, if you were now to imagine that the bit that you can see above the water approximately 10% represents the part of your mind that you use during an entire lifetime, while the bit below that huge roughly 90% is the part of your brain that never gets used, then you’ll understand how we are not only underutilising our very own ‘supercomputer’ but just consider the potential of the mind which many people miss out on. In the words of author James Allen “ You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you”

So what if you could harness that potential no matter how old or young and literally master your mind to achieve some quite amazing things, which may at first seem impossible and certainly untreatable from a conventional medical point of view. Would that be of interest?

In the blog that now follows, over coming weeks and months, I hope to be able to share with you just how powerful the mind really is and what you can personally achieve once you are open to the possibilities for change. My intention is not to baffle you with science nor do I wish to make any extreme claims about the subject matter to follow. What I do hope is to de-mystify the myth about all things to do with the mind, mind control and hypnosis. The media has understandably stirred a subconscious interest in mind power, from psychological illusionists like Derren Brown to hypnotherapists like Paul McKenna and even more recently from magicians like Dynamo, that enigmatic blend of science and the paranormal is intuitively appealing to even the most skeptical. It is far more interesting to be challenged by the unexplainable than to simply have that experience handed to your understanding on a silver platter; it’s just how we are built.

I hope that the reader finds the information interesting, educational and certainly helpful in what it may open up in terms of opportunities for personal development. I will begin as from next week exploring how the mind can be used for faster and more effective learning by discussing the fascinating subject of accelerated learning and memory, so whether you are an emerging student or a more mature learner looking to maximize your brain’s potential you may just wish to ‘tune in’ next time. Let the journey into mastering your mind begin.

Accelerated Learning

It is true to say that the mind can be viewed as an iceberg and throughout our lifetimes we never really use the full potential of our mind’s capacity. The brain, being a supercomputer is capable of making infinite connections per second and is vastly superior to any man made computer available to date.

Why is it then that so many of us would argue that we have a poor mind or poor memory and that we are forgetful. Consider this situation, and it has happened to most people – you wander into a room and suddenly can’t remember why you came there? Maybe you put down your keys or phone and return to the exact place where you would have sworn you left them and yet they are not there. We struggle with names and faces and we can’t even remember something as simple as an eight-digit pin number, let alone recall what we ate for lunch a few days ago.

The reason is that from a very early age we never train our minds to think the way the brain likes to learn best. The brain retains and process information not in words and abstract grammar but in pictures. They say a picture can speak a thousand words and that is exactly why because pictures communicate in the brain’s language. Imagine your favourite car or consider describing your ideal partner. Are you seeing those descriptions in words or in pictures? Do you dream in words? Of course not, the mind can only relate to pictures and symbols. Knowing this helps us to accelerate our potential beyond the normal 10% and develop a far sharper memory and ability to learn and retain new information more efficiently.

Accelerated learning is like putting your brain on turbo-power and one of the first things you can learn is how to reduce information into more symbolic form. Let me give you an example. Here are 10 words you can try memorising – WALLET – SNAKE – PEACHES – SCREW DRIVER – DRUM – BOOK – PIANO – GOAT – MIRROR – TANK. Now look away from the list and note down the list the best you can remember it. The chances are that you may remember a few of the words but almost certainly you will struggle with whole list, and if I was to ask you from memory to recall the list backwards you would think I were mad. With accelerated learning you can learn to not only recall the entire list, but you can also learn 100 words just as easily…and say them backwards!

The key is to use the pictures in your mind in a creative way to make strong connections. But that is only part of the story because next you must learn to access the most receptive mode for learning known as the Alpha state. Studies into brain frequencies show that when the mind is relaxed then it learns without any distraction. This alpha state or learning state can be generated, by learning self-hypnosis or meditation so that in effect the mind turns into a laser, pin pointing and retaining far more information. In some educational facilities, students listen to relaxing music, ideally classical to encourage this learning state. This is known as the Mozart effect. Indeed not only is the student more able to learn new information but can also recall that information to achieve better grades on average up to one grade higher than they otherwise might.

Other methods for stimulating better recall include the use of vivid colours to encode information more prominently on the memory. Where colours, creative symbols and imagination through association are all combined together, the learner creates a powerful combination.

In my next blog entry I will share how to memorise that list of ten words so that you never forget them and I will also show you a powerful exercise for entering the alpha state.

So how do we accelerate learning above and beyond the normal level which as we have already discovered accounts for ten percent of what the brain is really capable of. How do we ensure that the memory becomes sharper and retains information more long term?
In my last blog I explained that information decays very quickly if it isn’t encoded in a way that makes it ‘stick’ or makes it stand out to our conscious awareness. The secret lies very simply in how we process information. The adage ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ is that secret. Once you can encode any information in pictures you can capture vast amounts of information very quickly and always know how to access that information weeks and even months later. Most pictures we see don’t stick though because if they did then they would fill up the brain’s ‘hard drive’ pretty quickly. That is why we forget most peoples’ names and we might find it difficult to recall any information, which is mundane or doesn’t excite our attention. If I asked you to think of a picture that would stick in your head for the rest of your life however, you would probably have no problem at all recalling what happened on September the 11th 2001 and yet would probably have no clue as to what you were doing on September 17th 2003, unless of course that date had a special meaning for you in your life. So what makes information stick?
It is simple really. Anything that evokes emotion in us or peaks our attention because it is illogical, funny, violent, colourful or rude tends to be very memorable. That is why cartoons are more memorable than a long poem. Knowing this allows us to channel our learning using these basic principals. Take information you want to learn and then turn it into a picture, which is memorable using some of the principals outlined. In its simplest form the picture must be associated with something illogical or extreme and then connected to a piece of information which is already familiar. There are well-documented techniques for associating information for better memory and recall but my favourite is called the ‘Loci’ method, which relies on associating pictures with familiar locations such as the rooms in your home.
Start by taking a mental journey through your home. Maybe begin in your bedroom and then imagine walking through to your bathroom and then find the toilet and move onto another room, which isn’t your initial room. Imagine walking down the stairs and walking into the room closest to the street then move into the room further back and then the kitchen. Finally study the back door and then walk into the garden or area behind your home. You now have 10 locations where you can potentially place any information you choose.
Now I have to stress this is simplistic but the concept is the same for any information, no matter how detailed, you wish to recall. Take the list we looked at last time WALLET-SNAKE-PEACHES-SCREW DRIVER-DRUM-BOOK-PIANO-GOAT-MIRROR-TANK. The list is irrelevant but the concept of memorising the list is very relevant.

Start off again in your bedroom and now connect the word ‘Wallet’ with your bedroom in an illogical, funny, colourful or extreme way. Maybe e a huge gigantic leather wallet stuffed with fifty pound notes right in the middle of your bedroom. The second location was bathroom so we now connect the second word ‘snake’ to that location. Remember to make the picture stick by making it fit something out of the norm. So in this case we might imagine walking into the bathroom and being horrified to see a giant snake wrapped around the shower-head and seeing the bath full of snakes (Sorry if you have a fear of snakes!) Proceed to the next location, which was ‘toilet’ and make a funny connection with ‘peaches’. Maybe see loads of juicy peaches filling your toilet and spilling over the sides. Proceed through the entire list and connect each word to a location. The moment you revisit each location you will find the word pops into your mind as a picture. What do you remember in your bedroom? What could you see in the bathroom, and what about the toilet, yes those peaches! You get the idea?
Just for fun try memorising a shopping list of ten items and connect them to the ten locations. Once you have achieved ten why not extend your locations to twenty or even more. One memory expert uses the very same concept to remember the order of 10 packs of 52 playing cards after having seen them only once using exactly the same principle.
This literally is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to memory and accelerated learning. If you have enjoyed this then please visit my page and LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and FOLLOW. If you would like to know more I am always available to answer questions so please private message me again via my page.