Thursday, January 28, 2016

What is your learning style?

 One size does not fit all when it comes to learning.

  
Link here
There are four types of learners - visual, auditory, read-write and kinesthetic. Each type listens differently, learns differently and uses different memory systems. Learn more about the types of learners here. Recognizing how you learn best can speed your learning processes.


If you love audio books, speak slowly and think in a linear fashion you are probably an auditory learner. Learning from recorded instructions works for you.

If you talk quickly, find yourself interrupting other speakers, and enjoy visualizing you are probably a visual learner. Charts, graphs and pictures help you learn. You might be a doodler. Tony Byzan's mind maps are just what you need. I found this one helpful.


If you like text based presentations, reading how-to's and reading and writing in all forms you are most likely in the read-write learner category. 

Kinesthetic learners like hands-on problem solving with trial-and-error processes, are slow to make decisions and engage all their senses when learning. They also enjoy any activity that includes body movement - like dancing, swimming or running.


As with many categorized processes for humans, many folk may have a primary learning form but draw on one or more of the others as well.  

As a visual learner, I learned to crochet and cut hair from magazine articles. My kinesthetic side comes out when I  crochet from a picture and learn by doing, unraveling and doing again. And I love to dance and learn exercise routines.

What type of learner are you? 



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WHAT? Brains can change themselves?



You can't teach an old dog new tricks. 

 

 How many times over the years have you heard that? If you're like me - plenty. Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned IT IS NOT TRUE .

 

 

The research and proof

Norman Doidge,M.D.'s first book is: The Brain That Changes Itself. This book was featured on PBS'S The Brain Fitness Program (Youtube Link here) and offers amazing stories about, and strategies for, brain flexibility. A five star book if there ever was one. If you, or someone you know, has had a stroke, brain injury or motor difficulties, read this book. It offers hope for recovery.

An astonishing new science called "neuroplasticity" is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.

We can learn at any age.


The stories in this book will make believers out of doubters. The hope offered to stroke patients, brain injured and others is remarkable. And for the rest of us, we can learn about our brains and put them to even better use.

And for writers

 

And I like the possibility for writers to create characters with amazing skills. Extrapolate from Doidge's research and who knows how your next character will turn out. My 'what-if' brain is running rampant through the possibilities.

One of the many positive reviews


“The power of positive thinking finally gains scientific credibility. Mind-bending, miracle-making, reality-busting stuff...with implications for all human beings, not to mention human culture, human learning and human history.”
-The New York Times


Read it or watch on Youtube
Let us know what you think of the book and the message.





Thursday, January 14, 2016

4 small steps for instant stress reduction.

Learn that stress reduction comes in small ways and benefit daily.

Where I learned small, daily fixes for stress


Years ago I read The One Minute Manager. I have a vague overview of how the book went. There were instructions on one minute praising and one minute reprimands. But what I remember the most was the instruction of taking care of yourself by recognizing and fixing small irritants.

The example he gave was of a man driving home and peering through a dirty windscreen. Suddenly he realized he'd been complaining to himself about that window for weeks. Take care of yourself echoed in his head. He pulled into a car wash, cleaned the car and windshield and drove home a happier man. (Note: It is now The New One Minute Manager)




Small bites are the trick

We cannot, at a whim, take a two month vacation, buy a bigger house, change jobs, or take a trip to an exotic locale, but we can become aware of small irritants in our life and fix them. Those little events like constantly having to search for our car keys. Take a minute, put a hook or nail inside the coat closet, and use it. Feel your morning stress go down a notch. (And continue to notice on a daily basis - do not take it for granted.)

4 small self-care steps

Those tiny fixes in the midst of our ordinary days, work to reduce stress.

1)  Do something special for yourself.

Maybe a special coffee (no, not a take out). After making ech sounds over my usual coffee for weeks, I bought a lovely, smooth blend of Nabob, and after the first sip it's aahhhh not ech.



2) Take time to fix small things. 

After moving a container with my amethysts in it from drawer to box and back for a years, I finally found a necklace ribbon (in the same box) to put the largest one on. That was yesterday. It took me maybe five minutes. But left me feeling satisfied all day.






3) Get creative with what you can do for yourself.

Today I remembered that I've been frustrated by the inability to get earrings into my earlobe holes.
I've been saying for months I might need them re-pierced. This morning I took my blunt, wool-darning needle and tried to find the tiny holes. Low and behold they were NOT grown over - just shrunken. I pushed in the needle as far as I comfortably could and shortly thereafter got hooks into my ears.


 
4) Do what you know has worked in the past. 

As a writer, my morning pages fall into this category  I'd been going to get back to them for years. Since I've done so, my mind runs creatively riotous every day. (Okay it's 15 minutes - but you know what I mean.)  

 Results - feel calm, confident and capable.
  • A shot of calm pleasure with my morning coffee sets a positive tone for the day.
  • My necklace lets me feel more "put together" - and more confident in my appearance.
  • I feel frugal (didn't have to pay) and capable since I did it myself
  • I am getting pages and pages written on my book in progress - a competent writer at work.


What is your most common irritant. How can you fix it?

What small repair jobs, what seemingly minor tasks, have been unconsciously bugging you?
 Pick a few - execute and reduce your stress.

Please let us know how this works for you.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How do we find creative gold?



 Finding Gold
Ted panning his gold, 1994

 Brains.

Wonderful inventions. Our thinkers live somewhere in our brains. And our memory is plugged into the thinker. However our brains work in a non-linear fashion, and our thinkers spit out what the brain sends them.

 Reading about swimming cows on Diana Cranstoun’s blog I ended up thinking about gold in the Yukon Territory here in Canada. How the heck did that happen? Here’s where my thinker went.


  • Those cowboys came from Scotland. (See the last sentence in her blog.)
  • Robert Service came from Scotland.
  • He worked as a cowboy on Vancouver Island.
  • He later worked for a bank.
  • The bank sent him to Dawson City in the Yukon.
  • Working on a ledger in the bank there he glanced down and saw the name, Sam McGee.
  • He stopped working and wrote the now famous poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee.
  • My father used to recite that poem.
  • The actor playing him in Dawson in 1993 and ’94 gave a marvelous recitation.
  • The real Sam McGee is buried in Beiseker, Alberta.
  • We went back in 1994 and worked in Dawson for “the season.” (May to September)
  • Where is that gold bracelet made of the nuggets I got while I was there? 

My Gold. Panned, found or given to me.
But real gold nuggets are a story for another day.

We are not always aware of our thinker leaping along the path of our thoughts. It happens quickly.  As a writer, I find that my story does not evolve in a linear fashion either. I’ve learned to work with it.

Morning pages (as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way) help capture the steps and idea links. Doing "pages" clarifies my life thoughts and also helps me find the gold I need to enrich my stories.

Ted's Gold, Upper Bonanza Claim, 1994



The world is full of wonderful triggers to stimulate our memories or creative processes. Watch your thinker for a few days. Where does it take your mind and how does it get there? The awareness may surprise you and give you gold.