Thursday, 16 June 2011

Like no other

To every problematic situation we encounter in life there will always be a hidden solution. Being able to crawl out of this well is not always a matter of perseverance. It instead hinges on happening to know the right information timely. 

Know everything
Being able to recall the right fact at the right time is a great feeling. For example recalling the office location of a doctor by remembering the name and room number from a passing glance at a doorway. It stems from our brains by some chance evaluating a passing glance as something important to remember and making the right connection. We should avoid games of chance. Instead every glance is assumed to be of value someday. Simply memorizing a list of facts is ineffective, each must be understand first. Thus when storing information we have to place it in a network of interconnected details. The easiest way to do this is to connect objects with their setting. We can connect the image of the door with a hospital or clinic. When the time comes to recall this information we work our way backwards starting from all the images in our mind related to hospitals. All this talk of images may have implied a need for photographic memory.

Learn by images
Photographic memory isn't entirely a birthright. Like any task involving memory it can be trained. The biggest hurdle is practicing how to remember by images. One approach is to imagine our mind taking photographs of the object of interest. Mental images work the same way as any other form of memory, they all revolve around an object of focus. To make it easier, avoid memorizing every detail of your surroundings and only focus on the the most important clauses.

This approach to memorization is applicable in many scenarios from taking tests to managing disasters. A good approach to start preparing yourself is to apply these mottoes outside your comfort zone. We can change our day to day setting or try to learn something outside our field of profession. Our goal is to not just be good at something but to be experts at everything.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Anxiety and inherent dilemmas

As a victim of anxiety we find ourselves unable to finish our sentences. Every social encounter becomes an evaluation of our speaking ability. We might spend the next hour cursing ourselves over what we did wrong in that situation. The view I argue against is that anxiety results from low self-esteem in oneself and persona. Instead I say that anxiety stems from an over-confidence in our inner perfectionist and the permanence of our passing relationships. We can approach feelings of anxiety head on by imagining ourselves in a conversation.

When we find yourself pausing amidst a conversation, let us consider the first thoughts that cross our minds: Is there something better I can say? Have I lost the attention of my audience?

In my view, anxiety is not a dilemma of whether something should be said. It is rather an argument of the mind, contemplating which tangent to continue the conversation on next. This debate within our minds drives us inward, away from the conversation and our audience. We end up sacrificing continuity in our conversations in hope for a now unattainable response from the audience.

The audience determines our propensity for anxiety. An unfortunate reality of our social interactions is that some friendships turn sour regardless of whether we want to maintain them. It may be especially unnerving for a victim of anxiety to see these friends slowly lose interest in their encounters and drift apart.

When this happens it is impossible to change the situation. Anxiety victims often fail to see that the resulting events can't be described causally. It is human nature to become bored of the common and move on to find something new. Even when realizing this, the victim is often shocked to find the interaction was not mutual. At this point many try even harder to maintain contact only to be eventually ignored. The anxiety victim maintains the belief that perfection is possible, and by presenting the right persona the audience might again show interest. All the while the problem deepens as conversations become an internal struggle.

Anxiety is something to be dealt with independently and uniquely. Trying to correct our mistakes is a natural process in social growth. However the fear of making mistakes should not deter us from finishing our thoughts in a conversation. It helps to come to the realization that all interactions are temporary. The only advice is not to have too much respect for your acquaintances nor try too hard to hold onto them. If an interaction is not mutual, make it mutual by bringing less to the table. If your audience has come to abandon you, find another audience.