02 Apr Why “Brain Dancing: Work Smarter, Learn Faster”
For you to understand why I wrote this book, you have to understand how I used information to shape my life. The obstacles were overwhelming, although many have had it much worse I’m sure.
My Dad used to bring sheets of lead home from his construction jobs, and I spent hours playing with them until my hands were black. In the 60’s, we didn’t know lead as bad. Just as we didn’t know I was allergic to cows milk until both my ear drums were heavily scarred and my hearing permanently damaged by age 8. We didn’t know the popcorn ceilings we installed contained asbestos. My friends and I used to pride ourselves on being able to jump and scrap the material into a cascading dust cloud. We didn’t know the shag carpet would add to the air pollution in our house triggering a severe allergic reaction that left me legally blind with 20/300 vision in one eye and a diagnosis of cornecopus which I later reversed as an adult using information shared in chapter 8. I had tracks of tests on my forearms, and goose egg sized bumps on my arms from the allergy shots. Our family couldn’t figure out why I had a speech impediment and averaged over 20 cavities per checkup despite trying every “dental hygiene” approach known at the time.
“Is he going to be alright?” I asked the nurse as my sister and I sat in the emergency waiting room. Her response was as cold as ice: “I’m afraid not” and kept on walking. I was 12. Dad was dead suddenly and unexpectedly from a massive heart attack.
When we got home from the hospital I found a pile of rocks on the back porch. The last thing he did in his life was volunteer to pick up rocks on the little league baseball field. I decided to go fishing instead of helping him. He put the rocks on the back porch because he was going to use them to pave the 2nd half of the basketball court he had built for me in our backyard. The loss was devastating, but the guilt far worse. I literally stopped growing for 3 years weighing less than 100 pounds when I entered high school.
After being saved by a miracle while skiing on Mount Bachelor in 1975, my life began to turn around. I still didn’t know I was allergic to milk, and drank nearly a gallon of skim milk a day throughout high school. The hormones in the milk and other dietary mistakes caused me to develop Pottenger’s cat syndrome. Exaggerating? At a health trade show 25 years ago I approached the Gerson Clinic’s booth eager to speak with Charlotte Gerson, daughter of the programs founder. She wouldn’t even speak to me. She just shoved a copy of the “Pottenger’s Cats” book in my face and said “read this”. A painful book to read but I could see the truth in my own life. In my teens I developed severe and mostly permanent physical abnormatlities. By applying the ideas in chapter 8 of this book, I was able to reverse many of them. While lifting weights in high school I chipped a vertebra in my back which contributed to a diagnosis of scoliosis (curvature of the spine) in my mid 20’s. Fortunately, I was also able to reverse this using the ideas in Chapter 8.
As bad as these physical difficulties were, the emotional, mental and spiritual challenges I faced were many times worse.
After graduating from high school with a 2.75 GPA, I headed to Everett Community College where something really profound hit me: My future was now in my hands: how well I did in college would directly impact the rest of my life. I began studying 6 hours a day, literally copying text books by hand to help me learn and remember. I stayed after school almost every day to ask my calculus professor questions. My efforts paid off. Not only did I get straight A’s, but I also increased my credit load to graduate early. Cool, right? After graduating from ECC and continuing at Western Washington University, I found myself at a seminar entitled “How to Study Smarter”. This two hour seminar doubled my studying efficiency and changed the course of my life. Why didn’t they teach us this stuff in Junior High? That is a very good question! This is why I have provided my e-book, “Brain Dancing for Students” free of charge on the web since 1998.
It was relatively easy to graduate early and pass the CPA exam my last quarter at Western. I had that part of life down. Working hard was easy. Starting work at Arthur Young & Company forced me to realize just how little I knew about everything else in life.
Eventually I stumbled upon a book by Tony Buzan called “Use Both Sides of Your Brain”. This book took me from reading about 50 books a year to extracting useful information from about 50 books a month. If one book could quadruple my information metabolism, I had to wonder if there were other “metalearning” books out there that could have a similar impact. Not books on a specific topic, but books that improved my ability to read any book and learn any topic. Thus the concept of “Going Meta” was born, as covered in Chapter 6.
Learning how to work hard and effectively was hard, but I brute forced my way with books, tapes, seminars, and some great friends sharing this journey with me. The Dale Carnegie training was awesome, Context Associates training incredible, Toastmasters amazing, and Tony Robbins Firewalk experience weekend was life changing. “Constant Learn Mode” was how one friend described me.
A great way to learn something is to change your paradigm to that of a teacher. Writing this book was my “reason” to learn. As a result, learned far more than I would have as a mere student. If you decide to invest time reading Brain Dancing, please understand that I am not a guru. I do believe strongly in the power of information to transform my life, and hope you will find this synthesis helpful on your journey as well.
You can get the Kindle version of my book free from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D2IXG52