The skill of information chunking has been around since the 1970s. It has since been proven to increase intelligence and problem solving for those who develop it.
Chunking is simply the skill of organizing what you experience in a hierarchy of broad to specific details.
For example, if you become an expert on dogs, as a child you might first learn what “animals” are (broad category) then learn about “dogs“(one chunk level down) then you might learn about different breads of dogs (one chunk level down from there). If you were to chunk up from the idea of a “dog” getting more broad you would probably go up to “animals” then maybe to “beings on planet Earth” etc. get the idea?
Studies have found that the most intelligent people have the ability to shift their focus to think in very broad chunks (“beings on this planet”) then very quickly think in very small chunks (“the female Labrador Retriever named Wolfowitz) and back.
This is the process by which people become experts on any subject; by learning all the chunks in the right hierarchy.
Where we run into problems with this process is when we forget to take into account the biggest chunks possible.
As our brains develop as babies we begin a process that sets up 2 big chunks that play into every other perception we have and limit our abilities to see things as they really are and many times to understand the most fundamental piece of information about any subject – why it’s important in the first place.
These 2 big chunks are set up like 2 boxes in our brains that everything else we perceive gets filed into. It becomes so habitual that we usually don’t ever question how these 2 big chunks are effecting how we organize all the other things we perceive.
I call these 2 chunks the I Box and the Other Box. The I Box is where your brain files everything that you think of as ‘you” and the Other box is where everything else goes.
Most people never chunk up past these 2 big chunks and then everything they learn is limited to what they believe about themselves and the limitations they believe about what’s possible in the world.
That is how we can have the most intelligent people on the planet being used to develop technologies for destructive purposes. The brilliant people often times only get good at chunking down from their I box and become experts in their field but never really fully understand how what they know could benefit the planet apart from the limits of their own self concept. They can be kept in the dark about how what they develop is being used and never question it because they only see how what they are doing relates to them (their I box).
The good news here is that the skill of chunking can work in both directions, up and down. You get good at chunking down into further and further detail and you can get good at chunking up into broader and broader categories.
The stereo type of the enlightened guru on a mountain top would be an example of someone who has mastered chunking up beyond all chunks.
When you chunk up beyond your I box and Other box you are chunking up past all chunks into pure experience. This is perceiving outside of the limits of your brain.
No thoughts are required simply awareness of what is happening.
Getting good at the skill of chunking down into detail can help you make your circumstances better. You’re able to see things more accurately, see how they relate to one another and find solutions to problems easier.
The skill of chunking up into broader categories can help you become happier, more at peace and experience more fulfillment.
Ultimately having the ability to switch between all chunk levels easily gives you the most opportunity for effectiveness and happiness.
If we can chunk down into the smallest details when we need to while remembering the broad perspective and peace that comes with chunking up beyond all chunks, then we are bound to be both effective and thriving.
Here’s a simple way to begin getting good at the skill of chunking up beyond all chunks and chunking down into further details each day:
This is simply memorizing 1 statement and 3 questions.
You can say the statement and ask the questions to yourself several times throughout each day until they become a habit.
This will direct your attention to the biggest chunks first and then direct your attention to chunk down into smaller details of life in a way that you can maintain the broadest perspective and feelings of peace and happiness as possible.
The statement is: “Notice yourself as the space in which all you are noticing is.” (repeat this several times)
Question 1 is: “What’s the most exciting way to be right now?”
Question 2 is: “What’s the most exciting thing to do right now?”
Questions 3 is: “What is the most exciting thing to let go of in order to allow more excitement with less energy right now?”
The statement is designed to take you beyond your I box and other box into pure experience. Say it several times to yourself as it may not seam to make any sense to you at first. You can use it as a mantra for meditation and it works great.
The 3 questions are designed to focus your attention on maintaining the most alive state of being. You’ll notice that the I box is not in any of the questions.
Creating a habit of directing attention to this statement (pure perception beyond all chunks) and then maintaining the most alive state of being while you chunk down into smaller details can allow you to experience becoming better and better at what ever you choose to focus on while simultaneously experiencing more and more peace, happiness and fulfillment.
Check it out!
Here’s a new song I wrote a few days ago called “If Experience is Reflection”
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