clear your head

April 8, 2005 | 3 Comments

brainThe mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. – Plutarch

I am enamored with the concept behind this quote. Now more than ever, in the information age we live in, it is commonly concluded that the chief role of the human brain is to remember and store all that information we come across. While that may be one function of the human brain, it is not the most distinctive or the most useful.

We spend so much time trying to remember details that the brain’s primary function is lost in the mix. At most, the brain should be used to store information short term until we can move it to a more permanent home. This frees up our mind for creating and shaping. All of us our creative in some way, whether it is painting on a canvas or laying out structural details of a project.

The more organized we become, the more creative it frees us to be. This might sound counterintuitive, but it is true. All of us need a system to record reminders of things we need to do and people we need to see. If we have a reliable system, this frees our brain to focus on creating and shaping rather than remembering.

Many of these thoughts have been shaped through David Allen’s books: Getting Things Done (see this entry) and Ready for Anything. I’d highly recommend them. Whether you read them or not, find a way to clear your head and stoke the fire. The Creator has placed his creative image on you. Unleash it.

  • matthew spiel

    fascinating indeed.

  • Gerilyn

    Funny. As a teacher this is my (and my mentor teacher’s) favorite quote but I take it in a much different context. Do not try to “feed” your brain or learn for the sake of learning. Get excited, lite a fire, and then you will have the “burning” to know more. At the same time as a teacher, and we all are in some way, do not “teach” but create a desire to know. It’s the “teach a man to fish” concept. Give people a “fire” or reason to seek for themselves and they will contine to learn because they want to. I could go on, but you get the idea.

  • Great thoughts Gerilyn. Same concepts, just with a different application. Have we tried to do so much education by rote memory that we have conditioned all of us to think that the best way to use our brains is simply as a storehouse?