Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 111 - October 2014 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 6 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 1,359 To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us or read my book ‘Brilliant Speed Reading’.

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Welcome to the October issue of The Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month we have a story about the differences between men’s and women’s brains and a somewhat related article on how your attitudes may be holding you back – specifically from improving your memory. As always, we have our regular features of Quote of the month, Mind Map Tip and What I’m up to.


October's Quote of the Month

"The soul never thinks without a picture."

~ Aristotle

[Pictures and IMAG(E)ination are vital to memory]

More quotes here


Mind Map Top Tip of the Month

If you are creating a Mind Map to think about a problem or plan your actions do not do a ‘rough one’ in one colour and without images first so that you can do a neater one later. Start with colour and images. These are not just there to make the Mind Map look pretty. They stimulate your thinking and creativity so without these elements your thinking will be weaker. Even a messy Mind Map with colour and images is likely to be more effective than a neat monochrome 'Proto-Mind-Map'.

101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps

What's Phil Up To?

Phil Chambers

I am writing this from a hotel bedroom in Fankfurt, Germany prior to two days running a series of Mind Mapping and Speed Reading seminars.

I have also been doing ongoing one-to-one coaching to help young girl with her schoolwork in England.


Neuroscience News: The Battle of the Sexes.

Over 50 million copies of the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” have been sold worldwide. According to CNN, this makes John Gray’s book the “highest ranked work of non-fiction” of the 1990s. It was so successful that the phrase has now become part of common parlance, often cited to explain the short comings of either gender, disagreements and relationship breakdowns. Men and Women are so different that they are from other planets. Even used as a metaphor, this is a hugely dangerous assumption as I will explain below.

I recently watched an interesting documentary, part of the BBC ‘Horizon’ series, that you can watch online via iPlayer if you live in the UK – for the next few weeks. It was presented by Dr Michael Mosley and Professor Alice Roberts who set out to investigate if male and female brains really are wired differently and, if so is this a result of genetics of social conditioning? The programme cited various studies and recreated some of the experiments. One part that particularly struck me was the work of Gina Rippon , Professor of Cognitive Neuro-Imaging at Aston University, Brimingham.


Professor Rippon has concluded through her research, which mainly concurred with the conclusion of the programme, that there are very small, if any innate differences between male and female brains. In fact, there is more variation within a sample of men’s brains or women’s brains than there is when comparing men and women. Observed differences in behaviour, attitudes and performance in specific tests are the result of social expectations and gender stereotypes. These affect brain chemistry and physiology creating new pathways.

The brain is a remarkably plastic organ which changes throughout our lives. We are constantly forming new connections between brain cells based on experiences and learning. If you are female and believe that girls can’t do maths (or you specifically as a woman can’t) then you will program your brain to reject mathematical information and hence perform worse. If you think you have a bad memory your memory will actually get worse.

This is on one hand frightening and on the other hugely liberating. Regardless of gender, society and the expectations of others can condemn people to lives in menial jobs, with low self-esteem and poor school results. With the right attitudes, beliefs and support the exact same individuals can succeed to do whatever they desire and be as smart as they dare. Genius is within the grasp of everyone! Don’t let your own, or other people’s, doubts, prejudices and low expectations hold you back.


Five Reasons Why You Haven’t Booked On My Memory Course Yet.

1) I don’t have a problem.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt! Even trained memory athletes suffer occasional lapses of memory. Can you honestly say you’ve never forgotten someone’s name or got frustrated trying to recall an illusive fact? Lots of people joke about their poor memory without realising just what a serious issue this is.

2) It’s too expensive.
I appreciate that average earnings are not keeping pace with inflation so money can be tight. I have lowered the price for a limited time. The course may be somewhat costly but offers incredible value. You will earn back the cost very quickly in improved productivity and priceless extra time to spend how you like.

3) There’s not need for a good memory with technology.
This is so untrue. With so much information available at the click of a mouse or the swipe of your finger across your tablet, a good memory is more important than ever. When information is cheap and omnipresent you must innovate or fall behind! You need to remember the salient facts and then synthesise these into new ideas to compete. You cannot make new connections without memory otherwise data is fragmented and without context. What’s more, you cannot access technology without multiple passwords that must be remembered to make sure they’re safe. The ability to memorise passwords with ease makes life so much easier.

4) It’s too late for me – It won’t work. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
It is never too late. The techniques that I teach rely on imagination. The older you are, the more life experience you have to draw upon, so the more scope you have for your imagination. It is just a case of giving yourself permission to play. The beauty of memory techniques is that they make a massive difference without a great deal of hard work. If you want to be a memory champion of course you have to put in hours of practise but that’s not the point of the course. I aim to give you tools that can make you daily life better.

5) It’s nerdy – Nobody likes a smart a*se
What an idiotic statement! This sums up everything that is wrong with society. It’s not cool to be clever. It’s the smart people who do best in life so why wouldn’t you want to be smart? Have the courage to be the best you can be. Don’t settle for mediocrity for the sake of being part of the gang. Stand out and rise above the crowd!

In the words of Marianne Williamson in A return to love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.”

So visit the website and book now. What’s stopping you?

Memory Advert

That's all for this month. Look out for the next edition in November.

Best Wishes