Archive for August, 2011

Carl Honoré is quite right. People are stuck in fast-forward mode, and barely notice life flashing by at break-neck speed.

If people want to rush, panic and flap themselves into an early grave, that is their lookout. Just so long as they don’t try to take me with them.

Seriously, guys, unless there is some immediate physical danger to life or limb, what’s my hurry?  Deadlines don’t have physical life, they exist in the minds of the people who impose them. Where’s the fire?

The idea of “the faster the better” has even become a core component of ability testing. Does fast thought necessarily equal quality of thought?

I hate being timed. I hate being rushed. I hate the feeling of always having to be somewhere, in order to satisfy someone else’s schedule.

I lived with someone who could never wait for anything. Everything had to be done NOW. Not when I had finished with whatever task with which I was currently occupied, it had to be done immediately. I would be hard pushed to recall a request that escaped his lips that wasn’t suffixed with, “Now!” or “Immediately!” or “Fast!” or “Expeditiously!”

People like that rather remind me of Walter Mischel’s famous deferral of gratification experiment. They are like the kids who couldn’t wait to eat the marshmallow, despite being promised more if they could wait 20 minutes until the experimenter came back.

An organization I was once involved with had been told that I was busy lining up some important musical projects. I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time until I had gotten the music projects underway, at which point I anticipated having a lot more money to enrol on their training courses, as well as time to commit to them. The staff there showed a complete lack of ability to wait, and tried to pressurize me into starting immediately. They displayed an utter lack of ability to forecast a more optimum set of circumstances, and were only interested in their weekly stat graphs.

Rather than framing ability as how fast a person is able to move, I see things somewhat differently. Being able to exercise determinism over various areas of one’s life means that a person is in control of their life to that degree. That would also include being able to exercise determinism over one’s time.

If a person is just reactively going fast just because of the expectations of others, then the person is not exercising determinism over their time. Exercising determinism over one’s time means doing things at exactly the pace chosen by that individual.

If I do things fast, it is because I chose to.

If I do things slowly (or not at all), then again, it’s my choice.

If you have made your point to me that something is important, then it will get done without unnecessary delay. In the meantime, unless you’re trying to purposely annoy me, don’t even think about chasing for it.

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A couple of years ago, I enrolled on the course offered by the School of Phenomenal Memory. Here is the article I wrote summarizing and reviewing the system they teach.

I admit that the way I originally worked through the course was the worst possible way to do it (apart from giving up entirely and not completing, of course). I never had a consistent study schedule. I pushed myself to complete the exercises while distracted, tired, hungry or ill. Because of the lack of time in my personal life, I was taking screenshots of the lessons to print out and do in bits and pieces while squeezed in like a sardine on a packed commuter train, or while snatching a quick refreshment break at my desk.

I was happy enough with the results I did achieve, even under these totally non-optimum conditions. But for obvious reasons, I do not feel that I really got the best benefit out of doing the course.

So, after acquiring some state-of-the-art brainwave conditioning equipment, I decided to start over with the GMS course.

There was little point repeating the “bootcamp” lessons 1-12 that teach the basic memorization techniques; I just worked with the “Improve Memory” software and practised random numbers at increasing speeds to get back into the swing of things, and then got started again from Lesson 13, the Database course.

Interestingly, what had once been a tiring chore to keep concentrating and visualizing image connections for a couple of hours or more at a time, was made significantly easier when practised in conjunction with the light and sound equipment. I used to reach a “wall” where I just got too physically tired to visualize any more, but while hooked up to the machine I would reach that point, bust through it, and then hit a sort of second wind where I could just keep going and going.

I have yet to finish re-doing all the lessons. The goal, when done, is to far exceed the passing standard of the course.

I’m still finding my way around the equipment and what it can do. However, rather than become “machine dependent”, I expect to refine my ability to find various brainwave states without needing the machines to tell me I’ve got there. Michael Hutchison, author of “Megabrain” and “Mega Brain Power” writes about how these gadgets have a “training wheels” effect – you learn how to do it on your own.

Together with the study techniques that I used to teach, it will be interesting to explore the use of three of the most powerful mind technologies I have come across, in various combinations. There is little use in having raw potential if it isn’t harnessed, directed and trained. Time to become an Olympic athlete of the mind.

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When you have a person whose mind works entirely differently from their age peers, there are obviously going to be misunderstandings. The more different the person, the more likely it is there will be a complete failure to relate. That isn’t anyone’s “fault”, it’s just a given.

When the group of people concerned are all four and five years old, it is a rather tall order to expect the “different” child to have the life experience or to be emotionally equipped to deal with being different. It is also a tall order on the wider group to have the maturity to show tolerance, patience and understanding to their unusual classmate.

(Jeez, I feel like I shouldn’t be having to spell this all out.)

If anyone is to “blame” here, it is the adults in my life at the time for not grasping that a kid who could already fluently read chapter books didn’t belong in that class.

So the purpose of this post is to express my frustration at what is universally missed, even among some fellow gifties who should know better: I did not cause these kids to treat me the way that they did.

I don’t know what pop psychology some people have been reading, but I did not invite, attract, manifest or “pull in” these kids’ bad behaviour. They did that all of their own accord.

I suppose that at the time, because it happened every day, I just assumed that was what kids do. If, indeed, the thought ever occurred to me.  I can’t ever remember introspecting on my behaviour at that age and thinking, “Now, what I am I doing to make these kids not like me?” Things were just the way they were.  That was life.

One day, while walking in the street with Dad, we ran across a classmate of mine, who called out a cheery “Hello”. I, of course, saw a completely different side to this little girl each day in the playground, and held on to Dad’s hand tighter as I slunk past. Dad was annoyed, and I got a lecture about how I could be very popular if I only learned to “show some manners”. Thus the idea that I must be “doing something to deserve” the constant abuse got laid down in concrete from the point of view of my parents and teachers as if it were incontrovertible law.

As for the idea that I antagonized these kids by showing off all the things that I could do that they couldn’t, nothing could be further from the truth. In our class, nobody gave a toss how well you could read, write or count. The things that impressed youngsters of that age (myself included) were whether you could win a running race, perform gymnastic tricks or play ball games. Either that, or how impressive your toys were. If the truth be known, I fell rather short on both sporting prowess and material acquisitions.

I had no concept as to my differing intellectual qualities at the time.

In fact, I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on!

Showing off was not something that even occurred to me, as I had no clue I had anything to show off about. If the kids in the class perceived the way I was as being stuck up it was not because of anything I was doing on purpose. It was simply their perception, brought about by the mismatch in intellectual development.

No amount of other people asserting the idea that I antagonized the others into doing what they did will make it “fact” or even “sound psychological theory”.  I stopped blaming myself for this a long time ago, so stop being irritating.

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