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How to Think Without Googling

https://forge.medium.com/how-to-think-without-the-internet-again-308da944139d

forge.medium.com

How to Think Without Googling
If it's also 2019 where you are, I'm sure you have had a similar experience. Maybe you've reached for your phone to map directions to a friend's house that you've walked dozens of times, or calculate the square root of four, or find instructions for making your own mother's bolognese.

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Our mental processes and habits

Our mental processes and habits

E-thinking has moved us into habits of grabbing our phones to answer the simplest of questions: finding the map directions to a known address, or calculating the square root of four.

While the verdict is still out if the internet is rewiring and/or dumbing us down, we should consider to what degree the internet is changing how we think.

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You can’t pay attention to anything

Attention is selecting which elements you look at, interact with, and remember. Attention can get tired, like a muscle.

The internet is a very powerful stimulus for attention. It offers information constantly, demanding and overloading a system that was designed to function in the low to medium social networks of the natural world.

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The burden of task-switching

The burden of task-switching

Trying to protect oneself from boredom and the fear of missing out (FOMO), has caused people to switch from tab to tab, or screen to screen on the desktop. 

People switch between content on computers every 19 seconds, viewing the content for less than a minute. Multitasking this way breaks concentration. You lose time with this and context-switching and deplete your available mental energy.

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Reclaim your attention from the internet

This is not a fight against the internet, but a fight against a society that is obsessed with speed and productivity made possible by the internet. You can practice resistance. 

  • Close some of your tabs. 
  • Shut off your notifications. 
  • Don't answer an email for a few days. 
  • Stop listening to podcasts at 1.5x-speed.
  • Take time for silence and introspection.

Your brain network, associated with creativity and imagination, becomes active when your task-oriented networks are shut off. You might become more productive as a result.

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How your memory works

Your memory comes in a variety of subtypes: 

  • Episodic memory: remembering events that happened, such as your wedding day.
  • Semantic memory: remembering facts like the sky is blue, or where you went to school.
  • Procedural memory: remembering how to drive your car.
  • Transactive memory: knowing where to find information. This memory is behind most of the advances in human society.

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Storing information

Storing information
Google might be altering the entire nature of your memory for facts. Now that all information is searchable on our phones, it stands to reason our brains might convert semantic memories, all those useless facts, to transactive ones.

Storing information, when it is filed in transactive memory, makes it disastrous for remembering later. You may have a disjointed set of thoughts that you have trouble remembering and using. 

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How to remember facts better

Our brains are organized through networks of related concepts, stories, or the overall perception of a topic. When you learn a new fact, it gets embedded in a nest of everything else you know. The tighter the connections, the better you will remember and recall the information.

If you want to remember facts better, create a little contextual nest for your new fact to live in: Read some background. Consider what you've just read. Think about the terms you already know. Write it down or draw little images.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Albert Einstein

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Albert Einstein

Boost Learning Speed

  1. Learners proficient in fast-paced games are significantly faster at performing new cognitive tasks.
  2. By pretending you are teaching something to someone using simple language, you understand it better.
  3. Bilingual people may have a leg up when it comes to understanding new things and processing information, regardless of the learned language.
  4. Learning new material right before sleeping provides a significant retention advantage.
  5. Establishing as many connections as possible is an effective way to learn, and the best way to do that is to relate new information to known information. 
  6. The brain processes visual information faster than text. Include relevant visuals (charts, symbols, diagrams…) with learning materials to improve retention.

Perceptual Learning

Is the idea that we learn unconsciously through our senses in a self-regulated way, without requiring external reinforcement. 

More simply, you can learn to intuitively identify different situations or images through directly experiencing them in a fast-paced manner.

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The Forgetting Curve

Our memories have a 'forgetting curve', and unless we review what we see or learn, most of the content is forgotten in 24 hours, and the rest in the following days.

Due to the Interne...

Memories Are Associations

The more information that is available to us, the more we are unable to retain it. Memory means association and most information we consume may be simply buried inside, lurking deep in, and surfacing when the right cue pops up.

Binge-watching or binge-reading serves no useful purpose as we are only holding the content in our working memories. That's why schools space out the chapters and review them, helping us retain the material.

Memories Get Interwoven

The art and culture we engage our brains in turn into memories which can be unpredictable and fickle.

The books we read, the songs we hear and the movies we watch become interwoven and entangled with everything else in our lives.

Asking For Help

Asking For Help

Not wanting to seem weak, needy, and incompetent or like we’re taking advantage often keeps us from asking for help, but that’s often an overblown fear caused by our tendency to think the worst....

Seeking Help Is Strength

By taking an active step in seeking help or advice, you’re actually taking control of your life, and not letting external circumstances (such as what people think) affect how you behave and perform. It is courageous to accept your weaknesses.