Elevate Your Mind

Elevate Your Mind

Elevate Your Mind

What does it mean to elevate your mind? What are the benefits of thinking on a higher level? This article will answer these questions, and offer a few suggestions to increase your mental capacity.

What?

Ask yourself the following question: if a brilliant thinker were to spend a day inside your head, would they be interested in your thoughts? If you think small and simple, like all of us do from time to time, they probably would not. So what kind of thinking would be worthy of a great thinker’s attention (and therefore yours as well!)?

It doesn’t really matter what you spend your time thinking about, only how you think about it. Elevating your mind means thinking big, thinking about how things fit together. It means viewing things from above it all, where one is able to fully comprehend the significance to the whole.

This video of what’s called “The Overview Effect” elaborates on this idea:

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

Why?

What are some of the benefits of elevating your mind? Since this is an education blog, I will focus on the academic benefits. Let’s take a case study: reading comprehension.

Suppose you’re reading an article (well, I guess you actually are reading an article). How do you make sense of all the information you’re reading? For a given sentence, you can’t just take the words in isolation to make sense of it; you have to consider all the relationships between all the words. Likewise for a given paragraph and its constituent sentences, and for the article as a whole and its constituent paragraphs.

This illustrates that the act of comprehending amounts to building a relational map between sub-parts, which must increase in complexity as one goes along. To keep the example going, if you continue reading other articles, you must create an even more complex map, relating each article to each other article, in order to comprehend their collective meaning.

What this little thought experiment shows us is that the more your mind thinks big, or equivalently the more it looks for relationships among parts, the more it comprehends the meaning of the information it processes. So don’t think small, and always look to draw connections!

How?

So how do you train your mind to draw connections and discern relationships? Start by asking your mind the right questions. In case you’ve never heard, or never noticed, the mind is powerless when you ask it a question: it must answer.

Here are a few questions to ask your mind as you go about your daily life, which will increase its tendency to make connections and to think big.

  • How does this information/experience relate to others? (piece together all the words into a sentence)
  • How does this information/experience fit into my existing mental map? (compare your new sentence to others that came before)
  • Does the complexity of my mental map fully capture the diversity of my experience? (add layers as needed, from word, to sentence, to paragraph, and beyond)

Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about what it means to elevate your mind, go out into your world and try comprehending it on a whole new level!


About Jared R

Jared, founder of The Knowledge Roundtable, is passionate about the advancement of knowledge. He has a B.S. in astronomy and physics from UMass and an MBA in Advanced Financial Analytics, also from UMass. He has a day job as a Big Data Analyst in Boston. He has over 500 hours of tutoring experience in everything from algebra to writing. He taught our SAT prep group courses for two years in NH, and before that developed educational content for math, stats, and finance textbooks for two years. His teaching style is hands-on with a focus on problem-solving and critical thinking.

 
 
  1. Rick 10/23/2013, 9:20 pm Reply

    I agree with the ideas of thinking big and making connections. Going through my first year of college/university, I am learning how to learn and was struggling to keep up in lectures and assignments. I was reading with my class about fully understanding readings and lectures/speeches instead of just memorizing them. Thinking about the big picture will help people actually learn and understand. Finding the purpose of each part is and how they all relate to one another helps make connections between related ideas. Asking questions about each subtopic helps further understand because people seem to just scan over ideas and terms that they don’t know what they mean, I am someone who did this a lot. I figured if I kept reading that detail wouldn’t matter. But, that detail helped link the smaller ideas to the main ideas and connect the reading/assignment together.

    • Jared R 10/23/2013, 10:05 pm Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Rick. It sounds like you’re on the right path towards learning how to learn. Glad to hear that your experience along that path has brought insights similar to my own!

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