There is currently a lot of hype about the benefits of visual thinking and learning, with instructions piled up for students in the run-up to the new term. But have you ever applied it to your own life? Are you a master of connecting ideas for school, while your personal life is a complete mess?
Here are four very real and very important ways visual thinking can make a difference to your life.
Just because you work with facts and figures during your work day, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in your own time. Maybe you’re a budding author or poet; maybe you enjoy sketching or designing – did you know that visual thinking can be invaluable for creating and honing your skills?
For most people, creativity strikes at odd times. But if you block out a time and set your visual thinking skills to work, you will soon find your innovation spring to life. Ideas that you always had in your head are now in front of you, and your brain is then better able to connect them, progress them, and even cut out ones that don’t work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your brain is an endless pit for producing, retaining, and connecting ideas. It really isn’t, and Mr. Inspiration only strikes when he wants to.
How many weeks do you have to save for that trip you’re taking? Can you remember all the details of that book you’re reading for book club? You forgot to take the shopping list with you – how many items can you remember?
Memory crops up in all areas of our life, and while technology is a huge help us note down the things we need to remember, it can actually hinder us in many ways. Instead of remembering the name of a song, you just Google it; instead of memorizing your emergency contacts, you just back them up. How much remembering do you actually do?
With visual thinking, you are opening up a whole new part of the brain – the visual part – which is intrinsically linked to memory. You are much more likely to remember an image of something than a text; more likely to remember certain colors better; and more likely to remember patterns than lists. So, the next time you are struggling with your finances, why not make a visual map with milestones on it? How about a tree diagram of the points and themes to discuss for book group? There are no rules to follow, just ways to practice and see what works for you.
You’re planning a wedding, helping to organize an event, or maybe just taking some time to look at your career span. It’s easy to get frustrated and feel overwhelmed with the mammoth task in front of you and the mass of information you need to organize.
What do you know? What do you need to do? What can you eliminate? Lay out your starting ideas and progress from there. You will quickly find you can organize and prioritize what you need to do, as well as cutting out or honing other actions. Not only will you find solutions to your problems in a much more streamlined manner, but you will feel a whole lot less stressed too!
You would be surprised how many visuals you engage with when it comes to your health. From infographics to food charts, it seems that the best way to help people understand their health is through images. Think about your beloved FitBit or equivalent pedometer/health coordinator, which is built upon information fed to you through images and graphs rather than just numbers.
When my wife and I were given the earth-shattering news that our son would be born with spina bifida, neither of us could see what the future would hold. It was after being given some personal and life-changing advice that I realized there were people out there going through the same thing. All I needed was to connect these people like pieces of a puzzle – who knows what incredible support and information others could contribute?
That was when I started working on Your Smartest Friend, a digital assistant which can help you create and connect pieces of puzzles no matter what your situation. Your Smartest Friend understands and implements your unique circumstances to find insights specific to your situation that would otherwise be hard or impossible to find, giving you the ability to simplify, improve and even change your life.
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