Yesterday on the radio, I heard University students talking about the fact they were revising for exams and writing essays. It reminded me of an NLP technique called the ‘learning state’. The technique is very simple, and in my mind is something that anyone who has kids (whatever age), teaches, coaches or is in education in any way should know about. If you’re currently revising or perhaps you kids are – it’s worth knowing this tip – for 2 reasons.
What is the learning state?
All learning happens at an unconscious level (our conscious minds simply can’t retain the level of information that our unconscious mind can – it’s like the super computer vs. the old crapy laptop). We are already experts at going into a learning state, in fact many of us do it without even noticing. I want to introduce you to 2 types of vision – Foveal vision and Peripheral vision. Foveal is when you have a very narrow vision or focus and Peripheral is where you have a wider field of vision – when you are looking ahead, but you can see things either side (you can have up to 180 degree vision, or some say even wider than this).
Take for example driving a car – if you drove your car only using foveal vision you’d increase your chances of crashing (no I haven’t tried it, but I believe that’s likely). Have you ever driven your car from A to B and all of a sudden ‘woken up’ and wondered where the last 2 miles of road went or you don’t consciously remember passing a particular point of the motorway – it’s highly likely to were in peripheral vision, accessing the auto pilot of your unconscious mind and perhaps were in a very very light state of trance (we’ll talk more about trance on another day). Children are naturally very good at trance, they spend a lot of time in their own world, the day dreamy world, often very imaginative world – but as they start to grow up, it’s discouraged – I know many people who were told off at school for not paying attention (because the teacher noticed they were not in foveal vision and assumed that they were not listening or taking in what the teacher was saying). If you are in Peripheral vision you are likely to feel a bit ‘trancy’ – a bit day dreamer like – this is great for learning. Being in Peripheral vision is when you access the learning state.
What are the benefits of the learning state?
When you are in the learning state (using your Peripheral vision) you are directly accessing the unconscious mind and therefore it’s much easier to ladle in information – if you like, the trap door to your unconscious mind is open. If you or anyone you know is revising for exams, being in Peripheral vision will help. If you find you or the young person gets a bit anxious about exams, being in Peripheral vision also helps because those feelings will be lessened, significantly. When you are then in the exam, if you want to recall the information you put yourself back into Peripheral vision, ask yourself the question and the answer will be easily recalled (assuming of course you were in Peripheral vision when you learn’t it).
How to get into a learning state
I’ve never tried teaching this via a blog before – but here goes, let’s see if this works for you…
Pick a spot in front and higher up than your natural field of vision – look at the pin-pointed spot intensely (perhaps a spot on a wall, or a screw head or something equally tiny so you really have to focus). See if you can really focus on it – like you’ve got tunnel vision. Then when you’re ready, start to expand your field of vision – expand it, and relax it so that you are still looking forward, but you become aware of things either side of you, in the corner of your eyes, you can see the things to your left and to your right – perhaps you can notice the wallpaper, the clothes on someone next to you, maybe even what they are doing – perhaps you find it quite relaxing. Then when you’re ready, keeping that expanded peripheral vision, bring your eyes down to focus on the task in hand. You can the go back to normal vision whenever you are ready.
As you practice putting yourself into Peripheral vision, you’ll start to be able to do this without the need to follow a prescriptive set of instructions – it’s really handy to pop yourself into Peripheral vision to install learning, access learning or in order to reduce the effect of negative emotions you may be experiencing (it’s virtually impossible to do negative emotions whilst in Peripheral vision).
Have play with this and let me know how you get on 🙂
Laura is passionate about helping people realise their potential, and achieve the results they deserve. She believes, if you change your thinking, you can change your results. If you’d like to find out more about Unleash Your Potential, you can check out our NLP courses, coaching options, and link up with us via our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or link up with Laura via LinkedIn. You can of course also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org