Accelerated Learning

"Live and Learn, or you don't live long." Robert Heinlein

A key to taking in information is paying attention.  We know several things already about paying attention.  We know that the Alpha State is the state of focused attention, so before you read anything, technical material or difficult material, close your eyes and go to your peaceful place first.  Focus your attention on a peaceful place so now you have a focused attention state to shift over to the material you're about to read.  Now, instead of hoping the material will bring you into a focused concentration state, you focus your concentration first on your peaceful place and then shift over to the material you are learning. 

Another thing about paying attention is that it is much easier to pay attention to something when you have some kind of idea what you're going to pay attention to before you pay attention to it.  Its much easier to move into the process of learning, when the mind/spirit/heart is warmed up.  So step one, you scan the material.  This is not reading, its not even skimming.  You take a look at what you’re about to read, just looking at a few words on each page, the words that pop out at you, just thinking about what subject this is, before you read it. 

The reason for this is that one of the most basic of all human experiences is the fear of the unknown.  When you take a book that you haven't read before and you look at what you're about to read your eye is a camera it actually takes a picture.  We all have a photographic memory, though some of us develop the film better than others, we all take pictures.  Go back to actually read the material and it seems no longer unknown.  There is an instant recollection, an immediate affinity for what feels familiar.  Always look over the material before you read it. 

Perhaps the single most dangerous thing our school system does, is force children to take classes they're not interested in.  When you attempt to learn something you're not interested in you usually don't learn it very well and therefore you feel less intelligent.  We don't need to force children to take classes they're not interested in.  We already have existing today, the technology to entice them to.  Just hire creative people like those who come up with ideas like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to make commercials for English classes.  Kids will be saying, “please, please, let me take English. 

One time, to create passionate interest in a physics class I feared would be boring, I imagined I was walking out of my class carrying my physics book in my hand and walking across campus and across the street from campus to my bank.  I walked into the bank carrying my physics book in one hand and my check book in the other hand and as I got in line in the bank, I noticed that standing in front of me in line, the next person in line, was the woman of my dreams.  There she was, Venus in blue jeans, Aphrodite in a halter top.  Everything, everything, everything I'd ever dreamed of in a woman was standing right in front of me.   Even from the back I knew, she was the one for me. 

I’m imagining that I’m staring at her, and she turned around and she looked at me, and her eyes met my eyes and my eyes met her eyes and cupid's arrows were shot into both of us and there were flowers and hearts and angels and rainbows and it was love, it was love at first sight, it was the most incredible love, it was the most wonderful love.  We stared at each other, wondering where we had been all of each other's lives and then all of a sudden I noticed she started looking down.  I thought that was rather odd until I noticed that she was looking at my physics book, what a strange thing to do, and so for the first time I looked down and I noticed, what a small world, she was carrying a copy of that same physics book.  Amazing coincidence. 

She looked at my physics book I looked at her physics book, our eyes met once again and she said to me, “Oh you’re taking physics, I'm having oh so much trouble with that.”  I said “Well fair maiden allow me to be of assistance.”  So we went over to this coffee shop across the street from the campus and she said “Do you really understand physics?” and I said, “Well of course I do”

At that moment, I opened my eyes for real, I picked up my physics book for real, and opened it up and I read the first paragraph, for real.  I closed the physics book, closed my eyes, imagined my peaceful place and then, the restaurant, and there she was again and she said “What did it say?” and I told her what it said and she said “Oh you're so smart” and she started holding my hand as we started studying together.  We studied together for our first physics exam and we both got As and came back together and congratulated each other and we started studying together all semester long. 

About half way through the semester I had a really brilliant idea and I decided to make her a better physics student than I was.  Now all of a sudden she's picking up on this stuff faster than I am and she’s saying, “What's the matter don't you get it?”  I’d say, “Well give me a minute” my male ego’s being challenged.  This exercise with my Physics Girl changed my academic life dramatically.  To this day I truly LOVE physics.  It has forever become one of my favorite subjects to study. 

If you're already interested in what you're about to read then get in touch with that interest and amplify it.  If you're not interested in what you're about to learn then create interest in it.  When you read, you read for the duration of your attention span.  It’s fine that we have a limited attention span because it doesn't really matter how long it is.  Five minutes is as good as twenty minutes, because regardless of the duration of your attention span you have an incredibly rapid recovery rate. 

You can pay attention to something for five minutes, then take ten seconds off (in your peaceful place) and you're ready to go again for five more minutes.  Pay attention for five more minutes, take ten seconds off and you’re ready for five more.  It doesn't matter how long your attention span is.  Because you have an incredibly rapid recovery rate. 

When you study, distractions and interruptions can be GOOD.  If I'm studying and all of a sudden I hear this truck go by “vroooommm”, that's good, because my attention had begun to fade enough so that the truck captured it.  I didn’t hear the previous trucks go by.  I only heard that truck because I wasn't giving my full attention to what I was reading any more.  When you get interrupted, or distracted, that gives you an opportunity to go to Alpha and get a brand new attention span.  

If you are reading and you have this internal distraction, this thought that says, “You need to do your laundry!”  What you need to do then (to keep the distraction from reoccurring) is to make a decision.  You need to decide when you are going to do laundry (for example, Thursday 4 PM) or decide when to decide when to do your laundry (for example, I’ll do it after I finish reading this chapter). 

It is important to effectively process the information.  One of the most interesting things about the process of memory is that when information comes in there is short term memory and long term memory.  Short term memory is very temporary, lasts for just a few moments. 
Long term memory is anything that lasts more than those few moments and what happens with long term memory it goes into permanent memory storage.  There is no middle term memory.  If it makes it into long term its there forever.  Your memory is perfect, the ability to recall information from the memory bank is what breaks down.  Where information goes in the memory bank, has nothing to do with the information itself at all. 

If you imagine your memory bank being like a file cabinet drawer with the easy to remember stuff in the front and the hard to remember stuff in the back, where information goes in that memory bank has nothing to do with the information.  What it has to do with entirely is something I call the emotional rider.  The emotion you feel about the information is what determines where in the memory bank it goes. 

You remember what you love, you remember what you hate and you remember what scares you, you remember what excites you, what you don't remember is what you didn't care about, what bored you, what you were apathetic about.  The more emotion, the easier to remember, the less emotion, the harder to remember.

The key to processing information is doing it with emotion.  This works with real emotion or pretend emotion because the subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between imagination and reality.  As I finish reading, I stop for a moment and I say to myself, with great passion “GOT IT”.  I put that emotion of intense confidence onto the information I just learned and then it files into my memory bank along with everything else I feel that confident about.  It goes right next to, how to tell time, how to tie my shoes, what my brother's name is.  Process information, put an emotion on it, before it goes into your memory bank.

The real key to learning technical material is effectively reviewing what you’ve learned.  When you're reading technical material go through it once and let yourself miss stuff, its okay because you know you're going to go back.  Get the gist, the basic idea, the first time through.  Let yourself miss stuff, don't reread, continue to read onward, feeling it’s okay to come back and get it next time through.  You go back and you go very, fast over the material that when you read it the first time you realized you already knew that.  You go  very fast over the material that when you read it the first time you realized you definitely got that.  You go very fast over the material that when you read it the first time you realized that you don't care about that, and you stop and you carefully study what you still need to learn.  “Great students only study what they don't know, they don't study what they know.”

Read it once through for the purpose of getting most of it and then go back really quickly and only stop and pick out the pieces you missed the first time.  If you like to underline or overline or take notes on what you are studying, this is where you do it.  Do not underline the first time you read something.  The purpose of underlining is to prioritize, to determine what's more important than what.  How are you going to do that effectively, when you don't know what you’ve got to work with yet. 

Finally you practice remembering.  This is an example of Mental Rehearsal in the Alpha State to create Peak Performance.  If you were a student and you had a history test on Friday, you would start your practicing a week before. 

You would close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your Peaceful Place. Next you would imagine yourself laying in your own bed waking up in the morning.  Imagine your first thought is, “Today is Friday”, today's my history test, and I'm ready.”  So you imagine getting up, feeling very confident, and going to school. 

As soon as you get to school you imagine that you sit down at your desk and the teacher passes out the exam, and as soon as you get the exam you imagine that an invisible part of you steps outside of yourself and is watching yourself from over there taking that exam. 

Imagine that you are a little to far away to see what questions are on that exam, and a little too far away to see what answers you are writing, but you can see as you watch yourself, is your pen zooming along answering question after question, and you can see that smile on your face, and that gleam in your eye.  You know just what you look like when you are doing great, and that’s what you looks like.  Answering every question, nodding, smiling, having a great time. 

Imagine finishing with lots of time left, put down the pen, pick up the answer sheet, checking your answers, nodding smiling, saying, yes, yes, yes, yes.  You hand in the exam, the bell rings and you walk out of the room.  As soon as you get out of the room you imagine that it’s the next class day, you turn around walk back into your class, the teacher passes the corrected exam back with a big red A on the top and you say ALL  RIGHT!!

Imagine this about fifteen times a day for a week before the exam.  When you walk into that exam on Friday for real your subconscious mind is going to thin/feel “Oh this exam again - I've taken this exam a hundred times, I always get an A on this exam.  The last hundred times I took this exam I got an A.  I've got a habit of getting an A on this exam.”  

What happens is, that all the answers that are in your mind will come out.  Now of course this only works if you study, but if the information is in there it knows how to come out.  This virtually eliminates the tip of the tongue syndrome. 

For pleasure reading, just read, but for study reading these six steps are what you need to do.

Study Skills

1.  Scan:  Look over the material before you read it.  Warm up the mind on the subject matter before you begin to study.

2.  Psyche up:  Get yourself interested in the material that you are about to study.  Imagine why it actually is important to you or else make up a reason that motivates you to pay attention.

3.  Read:  Read with total focused concentration in alpha using the tri-focus technique for the duration of your attention span.

4.  Process with confidence:  In eyes closed Alpha, imagine that you are fully confident that you know the information and will be able to recall it anytime, especially under pressure.

5.  Review:  Go back over what you just read, very quickly over what you realized that you already knew.  Go very quickly over what you totally understood.  Go very quickly over what you don’t need to know, and stop and study only what is left.  Review what you know, study only what you didn’t get the first time through.

6.  Rehearse:  Imagine that you are watching yourself taking the test.  Watch the smile on your face and the gleam in your eyes as you successfully answer question after question. Observe yourself checking your answers and realizing that you got them all right.  Imagine handing in the test with great confidence.  Next, imagine that you have come back to class on a later date and received the corrected test.  Imagine the A or 100% and finish by congratulating yourself on a great performance. 

Focus Power

Focus brings to bear the power of the conscious mind, and Passion brings to bear the power of the subconscious mind. When the two minds come together in harmony, something magical happens. They create a third mind; a higher consciousness. This is literally a second level of thinking. With Focused Passion, all the power is in the second level of thinking. You get to think about your individual thoughts and feelings, and choose to empower the positive ones, and choose to release the negative ones. In this way you come to enjoy all of your thoughts and all of your feelings. Do this and you will discover that there is a side effect. It is called happiness. Happiness is not about your particular circumstances. Happiness is not about your initial thoughts. Happiness comes from what you think, about what you think.

Here is a simple and powerful technique for creating the state of Focused Passion. Focus comes when you move away from stress, just a little of the way toward sleep. Passion comes when you enjoy what you are doing.

Focus Passion is moving from divided attention (multi-tasking) to paying attention to just one special thing. Do this and you slow down your mind. You move toward stress when you feel endangered. To move into Focused Passion you need to feel safe.

Close your eyes.

Most of the input that comes in through your five senses comes in through your eyes. Close your eyes and you slow down your mind. It's the first thing you do when you want to fall asleep. Focused Passion can be reached with your eyes open, but closing your eyes cuts out many of the potential distractions.

Take a deep breath and imagine that you are in a very safe and peaceful place.

By making this safe place, a place that you love to be, you add passion to your state of focus. When you feel stressed you tighten your muscles and hold your breath. Release your muscle tension and let go of your breath and you will begin to feel safe. Choose this place with your intuition. Let it be the first safe place that comes in to your mind. Imagine that you can see this place, or that you can hear the surrounding sounds. Simply pretend and get the feeling that you are there. If your mind goes off to a different place, just notice this and then bring yourself back to your first place. Always return to this same place each time you wish to re-create this state of Focused Passion.

With Focused Passion you can solve the only two problems that you face. One problem is that you know what you want, but you don't know how to get it, and the only other problem is that you don't know what you want.

When you don't know what you want, you go to your place of Focused Passion and you ask. Then you listen for the answer. This is called meditation, introspection, reflection, or prayer. If you believe in a higher power then you might believe that the answer comes through you. If you don't believe in a higher power then you might believe that the answer comes from you. Either way the process is the same. You ask, and then you listen for the answer.

If you do know what you want, then you tell. You imagine what you do want, as if you already have it, over and over again, with GREAT PASSION! This is called mental programming, visualization, self-hypnosis, or auto-suggestion. It is an application of the amazingly powerful law of attraction.

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