Use all your senses to gather data

Henry Waller | Old Boys Assembly speech

This week’s Habit of Mind is ‘use all your senses to gather data’. You might not think so, but we all use this Habit of Mind every day. Just think back to today, yesterday or last week. When you are handed something new, you immediately want to touch it and find out what it is. Use your five senses being: vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste; you gather data.

A relevant example for many of us living on the Gold Coast could be the beach. When people are at the beach they become so relaxed that they tend to start noticing every little nuance of their surroundings. On first approach people start to notice the smells of the beach as they are driving toward the beach. Several kilometres before approaching the ocean they can smell the salt water. The smell is so distinct that it puts people into a trance knowing they are getting close. Once they smell the ocean air their body tunes into more of the surroundings. Once on the beach people start to get excited about the ocean scene itself. There are so many wonderful sights that catch their attention. First is the sight of the sand and ocean itself. Furthermore, when faced with problems or opportunities it is important to look at many options to use all your senses to gather data.


Joel Gray | Assembly speech


The habit of mind for this week is to use all of your senses to gather data. In life it has become too easy to rely on just one sense to do the majority of all work. The human body has become so accustomed to relying on our sense of sight to guide us through life that it is at the detriment of all of our other senses. Being a cox it is important to be aware of all of my surroundings to give my crew the best chance at winning. I use my sight to watch direction and technique, my touch to follow the rhythm of the boat, as well as sound to make sure all of the oars are in the water together To make sure I don’t hit any bridges or buoys or pilons.


However it’s not just on the sporting field that utilising your senses can help. It is important to control your academic environment to maximise your time spent preparing for assessment. A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology monitored what college-age adults ate, and how it correlated to their moods. The study found that those participants who ate seven to eight servings of fruits or vegetables a day reported meaningful positive changes in mood.


A lot of people also like to listen to music while they study including my self A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that ambient noise is an important variable that affects creativity. They said If you’re doing more creative work, ambient noise is most effective in stimulating your thinking.


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