In order to really understand something you have to get your hands dirty.
(A follow up to last week's post.)
When it comes to really understanding information and data, getting your hands dirty means manipulating or "interrupting" the information flow so that you can absorb it.
In other words you are creating a filter to process what is being thrown at you.
WHAT IS DISFLUENCY
Absorbing the information and putting it into your own words is what is referred to as a “disfluency.”
Charles Duhigg made the New York Times bestseller's list in 2016 with his book, Smarter, Better, Faster: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, and describes how disfluency positively affects learning in the context of the 2014 study mentioned in the predecessor post Put it in your own words (Part 1).
He states that "writing is more disfluent than typing, because it requires more labor and captures fewer verbatim phrases" [quoted by Dean Bokhari in "Disfluency: the secret to turning knowledge into power."]
Furthermore, disfluency, psychologist Adam Alter tells us, is the disruption that takes place when you're trying to understand something that seems difficult.
WRITING NOTES IN YOUR WORDS FORCES YOU TO UNDERSTAND
For example, if we write our own notes in our own way, it breaks up the fluency of the transcription process.
The type of disruption that occurs when we take notes causes us to process the information with more care, and absorb it with more understanding.
HOW CAN WE PUT THIS TO PRACTICE
So, when we think the subject-matter that we are trying to comprehend is difficult to understand, we NEED TO disrupt IT so that we can break it down.
In other words, to slow the flow down, reshape it, and respond intentionally in a somewhat new context IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
Seriously - Try this technique the next time you're overwhelmed by data:
Select a piece of information that you want to understand. Take a Wipebook white board notebook and write it out in another way. Disrupt the flow of information. Rethink it. Dig deeper.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY
In other words, don't go the easy way by merely recording information or typing it out. Play around with it. Put it in a pie chart. Make an equation with it. Include it in an outline.
Put it in your own words and absorb it for real.
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