Doodle power!

9:24 AM

Doodling has bee proven to help you learn and remember things better.

Doodlers of the world raise your hand! Non-doodlers...hear us out!

I have been a doodler for as long as I can remember. I've doodled at home, doodled during classes, boring lectures, presentations, on holiday...
There has been doodles on my worksheets, notebooks, day planner, in a sketch book, on scraps of paper, in scrapbooks.

Doodles that were silly, some good, some in colours, some in black and white. With special pens, or a good old ball points.

You don't need a fancy pen or paper to doodle, your regular writing pen and a blank spot on any paper is all you need

The doodles that mean something, and those that don't.

Doodles doodles everywhere.

Doodles always had one purpose though, a purpose that many of my teachers over the year never really fully took seriously: It helps my mind connect the dots and retain more info from those lectures that seemed to have no end.

My teachers back in the days didn't understand it, they dismissed it as a distraction and a sign of disregard for their lecture.
They were wrong, oh so VERY wrong! Science and many serious researches are on our side, the side of us doodlers that is! Don't believe me? Read this article!

Doodling increase focus, and helps the brain make new connections and retain more informations.

Doodle power I tell you!

Doodles don't have to mean anything or be perfect, a scribble has the same power as a portait sketch

For me, doodling not only provides the visual support my highly visual memory needs to simply keep focus in a lecture that is all speech and not much else. It also helps me make brand new connections and come up with new associations to help me retain even more content.

My teachers never understood what the link between historical dates and tribal tattoo design was. Or what swirls and curls had in common with Voltaire or why Rousseau deserved nothing more than a few angry lines and grids (the guy was a pompous jerk, he doesn't deserve fancy doodles).

I doodled my way through every topics that didn't provide any visual aid, and saved myself countless horrible marks doing so.
A glance at my twirls and curls and pretty flowers scribbled in the margin of a xeroxed worksheet was all I needed to access those powerful connections and cut my exam study time in half.

But, oh yes! Those doodles got me in a small amount of trouble. There has been warnings, punishment homework, and even notes sent to my parents. Followed almost inevitably by the teachers bafflement when my parents brushed it off and my marks kept going strong.

They were dead certain I was not paying attention. Nobody serous about studies doodle a "Taz vs Vader" comic strip in her school diary.
But "Mrs P - Vader" (my history teacher if you must know) throwing replicas of Columbus' ships at Taz to stop him from going "Bugna prrrrrt" had a great amount of logic.

I kid you not, I still remember those 4 ships: Santa Maria, La Nina, La Pinta and Santa Clara...they hurt Taz.
But only until Taz made a secret alliance with "Mr R-Vader" (math teacher) and unleashed the "perfect circle" and a bunch of equation at Mrs P precious ships.

This helped me ace Trigonometry making the parallel between Trig and geographical navigation.

Stupid doodles? I don't think so, not when my school diaries contained more usable content than my class specific notebooks and brought all topics together and connected them.

Mind maps can let you organize your thoughts and ideas is a more efficient way...try it

Then there are the times when my doodles end up looking like "mind maps", a technique that put on paper what goes through your mind in an organic way that mimic how brain cells connect.

I use it when I am confused, or have too much going on my mind. The mind map above is one I made recently to flush my mind before bedtime as I knew sleep would not come until I had it all out in front of me.

The bonus? It looks funky and quirky enough to display as art, share on Instagram or....solve that dilemma about blog post ideas I put on said mind map (go read it and find it out).
Because yes, that mind map doodle prompted me to write this post about doodles...HA!

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  1. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Happy Janamasthami to you and family. May Lord Krishna bless you. How is little Radhika (Ishita)?

    Hmm.... doodles, quiet and out of the box way to retain information. I knew someone who used these kind of mind maps. So, that is how I declutter your mind. Once you know how to retain information, it is easy to process it.

    I did not find much of what was taught intersting, so I always got distracted. Anything with lots of instructions, never intested me. I was all ears in the literature or history class because I was interested in it. There was something new to discover. Every year when the new books arrived, I read all the stories in both Hindi and English and ofcourse the history book.

    As soon as I get something with do this, do that, I get so put off. It means that you must do it, there is compulsion. I wish everything was a story book.

    I guess the mind map technique is used by the engineering and medical students where the conventional methods do not work due to the volume of information and its complexities.

    Oh yes, isn't St Maria, Nina and Pita the three ships of Chistpher Columbus granted by the king of Portugal to find India?


    1. Thank you, Happy belated Janmashtami to you too :-)

      Columbus' 4 ships (you forgot Santa Clara) were granted to him by the Spanish Government who were the one financing his project. The Protuguese crown was rooting for Vasco Da Gamma around that time and they were in favour of sticking with the safe proven routes to the East.

      In the long run, Spain's daring move lead to heaps of discoveries and wealth that made Portugal regret not financing Columbus' crazy plan.
      He didn't discover a new faster route to India, but he lead the Spanish to a whole new world and heaps of gold.
      This is why South America is now mostly Spanish speaking at the exception of Brazil which was colonized by the Portuguese.

      Mind maps actually works for any topic, but yeah used a lot more frequently by the scientists lot.
      It is because the method is based on association, which is something the brain naturally does all the time. One is constantly comparing new data with data that has already been stored in the brain.

    2. oops I re-checked,turned out my brain counted Santa Clara and La Nina as two ships when they were in fact the same ship, la Nina was the nickname. It was 3 ships and 4 trips across the Atlantic that Columbus did.

      Not bad though that I still remember those tiny facts 20+ years later :-)

    3. Anonymous3:04 PM

      There are links between the ancient Asians, Egyptians and the south Americans. The temples of east asia, Egyptian pyramids and south American temples is profound. The cult of the sun god worship is also common between ancient Indians, Egyptians and the Mayas.


    4. Add the early pagans in Europe to the Sun worship. In Europe in early paganism, not only was the Sun worshiped as a god, the moon was as well, as a goddess. This was along the core belief that everything has an opposite force.

      I am not surprised as this common link though, we are all humans, and every human has worshiped the elements and forces they could not control over the millenniums. The Pyramids structure doesn't surprise me either considering that people built these structures to reach toward the heavens and probably all came to the realisation that if you want something to reach high you need a solid base to built upon.

      I think the thing that is probably way way way more interesting than the sun worship and pyramids is that EVERY religion through the ages, wether monotheist or polytheist have the exact same idea at it's core :

      What you send out is what you reap.

      There are variations in the wording, but all have the idea that whatever you do, good or bad, it'll come back to you.

      It's something that even philosophical movements like the "New thought" movement and the "Neo Pagans" aka "Wicca" have at their core.

      This is what lead me to choose being non religious. I can't abide to any religion when they are indeed all the same thing with more or less embellishment.

    5. Anonymous1:09 PM

      I reach the same core from different directions. I do not necessarily believe that being relgious and somewhat conservative is an impediment.

      When I go to a Sikh Gurudwara, I cover my head, bow my head before the holy book and follow their rituals. For a brief moment I am sikh. When I come out, I am a Hindu. The conviction to follow their rituals come from my own religion which puts faith in rituals. I have made a trip to the almighty through their route. Different modes of transport to the same destination.

      I think the problem is not even of faith. The problem is of not giving legitmacy to other religions and keep on harping on your own way.

      I think being an Indian, we have this unique opportunity of experiencing different culturs and religions. Alas, people miss this opportunities and concentrate on the differences.


      But I guess it is my personal oponion.


    6. Seeing the crap that is going on in Europe, I'd say that the problem of people wanting to focus on differences is universal.

      I think the main problem is religion. The divine exist independently of religion, religions did not create the divine energy. Men created religions around certain beliefs that were shared by a few others and then imposed as "truth".

      People around the world have massacred each other, belittled, shamed and humiliated one another in the name of one or another religion, which less face it, is as ridiculous as killing or shaming someone for wearing the "wrong" t-shirt colour.

      Spirituality is really what I think matters and what people have completely lost touch with

  2. Queen Isabella granted the Italian Mr Columbus cash & ships to discover a new route to the Indies. Mistakenly Columbus discovered the Americas and deemed the native Americans to be Indians.

    I wish my doodles were as neat & color coordinated as yours, Cyn.
    Unfortunately mine also suffer tea stains & food smudges as I'm often cooking new recipes & making adjustments thereof.

    1. Thanks :-) Some of my doodles are very messy too :-) I just didn't snap pictures.

      Yep, Columbus was that guy who went from courts to courts to get his grant just like scientists today pursue investors to finance their research.
      I think that along with the Portuguese crown, the French and the British also rejected his plan stating that his proposed route wasn't shorter and that he miscalculated the distances.
      The Spanish decided to take a shot at it because they were really interested at gaining back some ground on the maritime spice routes.

      Columbus pretty much saved his ass by stumbling upon a new continent otherwise the Spanish court would have been probably more pissed than they actually were at not securing a faster route to the Indies.

  3. Anonymous6:20 PM

    Mind maps confuse me, but I like doodles. I started a daily visual journal last june, inspired by one of your posts by the way, and I love it. Do you use only english in your doodles ? - Padparadscha

    1. Aren't journals fun? :-) I am glad I inspired you to keep one.

      It's funny that you pointed out the language thing, because yes, I only use English for some reason.
      I think it started when I was in high school and was trying to perfect my English AND keep my little sister out of my personal diaries.
      I started writing in my diary in English exclusively then. My school mind maps were still in French then because the classes were given in French.

      These days I am constantly exposed to English, so the mind mapping and brain dump process happens in English simply because I am constantly thinking in English.

      I feel an interesting struggle when I am among French speakers and a few non-French speakers though. Once my mind has started thinking in French I consider English an oddity and a mental exercise :-) It's like there is a switch that constantly goes up and down between the two language in my head :-)

    2. Anonymous1:29 PM

      I have been thinking in Hindi since childhood, surrounded as we were by a sea of hindi. I had to really make an effort to switch from my native tongue Bangla to hindi when I was admitted to school. Bollywood did help because though we did not speak in hindi, we saw hindi movies on tv and the quality of language was quiet good. After a few days of struggle I took to Hindi as fish takes to water. My first linguastic instinct even today is Hindi. I ended up speaking better hindi than hindi speakers themselves, because I read a lot of literature. I dream in Hindi too. Bangla sometimes feel like a foreign kind of langauge. I guess it is an experince of all non hindi speaking people brought up in an Hindi environment.

      For us this switch was happening everyday from Bangla to Hindi, english and back to bangla.

      Off late, when I started writing in these blogs, I had to switch from Hindi to English. It seems right in Hindi, but how to convert it to english so that the essence is not lost. Then I have to think in English. Words, pharases, sentences which work in Hindi do not work in English. Strange mental exercise.

      I think being multi lingual has its advantages. It is like having different keys for different doors. Your mind thinks in three different ways.


    3. Multilingual people have a great advantage over those who only speak one language, especially in the communication area of the brain.

      I myself dream in a mix of English and French, depending who else is in the dream.
      When I get super angry, I usually explode in French. First because it has a lot more cuss words I can use :-) and then because even if I blow up in public, the chance of anybody understanding exactly how much of a potty mouth I turned into is pretty slim in India.

      My daughter knows it's better to not argue or push my buttons when I start screeching in French LOL

  4. Anonymous8:28 PM

    There are common cuss words in Bangla and hindi because it is more or less the same language.

    What is amazing that many cuss words in hindi are exact translations of English cuss words which leads to the conclusion that we all think alike lol.



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