Newsletter #8   
October 2012 
S Lakshmi Narasimhan 
Welcome to this edition of the Voyages of Discovery Newsletter, the newsletter that is all about you and your voyages of discovery of your genius.  If you missed our previous newsletters, get them here from our archives.

In This Issue
Sounds of Silence
Mind Mapping - your cerebral paint brush
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Sounds of Silence
Sounds of Silence
Have you listened to the sounds of silence?


No, I am neither being facetious nor philosophical. Silence creates its own symphony.

Negative Space
In design there is a concept called negative space. It denotes the area of empty space in and around an image or drawing. It is what accentuates the filled space. It is what provides the striking contrast. Silence is the negative space of our cacophonous world.

Ask yourself this. Do you know how your own voice sounds? Have you given yourself enough negative space - periods of silence - to identify that? Sounds of silence can only be heard when we are divested of the scrambling mode we perennially are in. The mind needs to calm down and be ridden of deafening distractions before we begin to hear the mellifluous, therapeutic sounds of silence. They are sounds unlike anything we have heard or will ever hear. They assuage the mind in ways a therapist cannot.

Times of reflection and introspection are important to understand your innermost thoughts. There is no better ally for this than silence. Unfortunately the priority that we assign to reflection is low. We are so busy building a career that we have not stopped to think whether that career is bringing us inner peace and achieving our mission in life. That is, if we have had time to even ponder on a mission. After all, that needs reflection and thought as well and the most scarce commodity in our armory today is time. We have no time for anything (bar the frenetic rushing around) far less something as path breaking as a mission. But if you did not invest time in this transformational activity you are just spinning your wheels where you are. You are not going anywhere.

Silence can kindle thoughts and motivations buried deep in your psyche that you will be astonished you had. It is like the miner who has hit that rich vein that he always dreamed of but had no hope of accessing.

Morning Magic
Early morning (actually every morning Monday to Friday) around 6 AM I walk to the gym in our club house. It is a reasonably short walk but which I extend by taking a circuitous route. To me however that walk is the most looked forward to daily activity. It literally sets up the day for me. The fetters on the brain are off and it is cleansed and free to absorb what is around me, the fresh morning air, the chirping of birds (an alien natural sound in our digitally driven world), the rustling of leaves, the gentle waft of the breeze, to name just a few of the magical creations of nature. These are subtle sounds that abound in the environment around us. Alas, we do not hear them! You see, the problem with our lives is that we have stopped noticing and listening. Our hearing is passive and does not absorb the rich detail and inspiration around us.

You rarely get true moments of pure silence. When was the last time you had ten or fifteen minutes of silence to yourself? If you indeed had those moments of quiet solitude you would have experienced thoughts and motivations as never before and clearly above the din of daily rigmarole. Go on try it. You will shock yourself.

Where are you when you get your best ideas? Most probably when you are walking in nature, relaxing in your bed, listening to music, driving your car. In other words, when you are by yourself, when you are surrounded by silence. 

The great genius Leonardo Da Vinci said: the painter must be solitary...for if you are alone you are completely yourself, but if you are accompanied by a single companion you are half yourself. Nurture solitude for inspiration. Sit by yourself for some time each day. These are magical moments of silence which will kindle creativity, foster inner peace of mind and build happiness in you.

However, noise is part of every moment of our waking life. Even normal conversations are accompanied by harsh background noise created by that chief culprit of all - the television set. Have you tried talking to your friends or family at home when the television is blaring incessantly. Your voice and what you have to say will completely drown in that sonic pounding that modern day television sets deliver. Add in surround sound and the effect is even more drastic. 

Moreover, the mantra of modern lives is multi-tasking. Everything that we do must be done simultaneously. We must do at least four to five tasks at the same time. In the process however you have forsaken the most pivotal dimension of the human brain - its inability to do more than two tasks at a time. In this context, being with just yourself and your thoughts in silence are liberating.

Read on for this research on multi-tasking and the brain.

Neuroscientists Etienne Koechlin and Sylvain Charron of the French biomedical research agency INSERM in Paris turned to functional magnetic resonance imaging, which measures changes in brain activity

Koechlin says the results suggest that the brain can't efficiently juggle more than two tasks because it has only two hemispheres available for task management. The triple-task jugglers consistently forgot one of their tasks. They also made three times as many errors as they did while dual-tasking.

When the brain tries to do two things at once, it divides and conquers, dedicating one-half of our gray matter to each task, new research shows. But forget about adding another mentally taxing task: The work also reveals that the brain can't effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once.

This really emphasizes the critical need for moments of solitude, being by yourself in total silence. The mind calms down and your senses are ready for the symphony of silence. It is indeed nirvana for the soul.

Let me leave you with this thought.

Would you not want to partake in the most precious gift of nature - the mind soothing sounds of silence? 
I promise you it will be unlike any other sound you will hear. 
Your sub-conscious will vouch for that.
Leave your comments about this article by clicking here.  
Mind Mapping - your cerebral paint brush

Mind Map of Creativity

Imagine conjuring up ideas the way your brain is wired to do?


Would it not make you infinitely more creative?
Of course it will!

Information Avalanche

Information assails us day in day out. The avalanche of promotional material that is unleashed on television, in newspapers, magazines, online, personal computers and even on that current day obsessive phenomenon called your smartphone is enough to drive you up the wall (not the Facebook one though). You have no clue which ones are genuine and which pure fakes. It renders making choices a perilous pursuit. In this threshing process, we are required to do some form of summarizing and information collating for ourselves. This means, from time to time you have to take notes, jot down observations and keep track of your choices both at work and at home. Not a easy task by any stretch of imagination. In fact, among the plethora of reasons stress dominates our lives, making choices, justifying them to ourselves (and finally living with the consequences) will rank very high.

Capturing thoughts
So, it makes sense to develop a modus operandi which will not only reduce stress but actually do it in a creative and useful sort of way. But traditional note taking or recording of thoughts is not the answer, being a brain dulling linear approach. What do I mean by that?

Clash of the Titans - The Linear Vs The Lateral
In traditional note taking we use a 1, 2, 3... approach (linear) to record what we want to remember whether these are tasks to be completed, ideas to be captured (before they are gone forever!), observations to be preserved and so forth. But it is counter intuitive to the way your brain is wired. The brain moves laterally. It is not sequential which is the way all of us take notes.

Your brain is wired to spray its output in a lateral manner - Tony Buzan the father and inventor of Mind Mapping calls this "radiant thinking." For an in-depth look at his books, software, training and certification courses please visit

What is Mind Mapping?
So, having said all that, what is mind mapping?
Mind Mapping is a visual way to record your thoughts while harnessing the brain's natural way to think.

What does this achieve?
  • it focuses attention on the objective
  • it enhances (actually puts it on steroids!) creative thinking and problem solving
  • it throws up relationships amongst thoughts which linear note taking can never hope to achieve
  • last but certainly not the least, it allows thinking which your brain recognizes as its natural way (this triggers those fertile leaps of imagination resulting in innovation and inventions)
The focus in a mind map is the central Idea from which all related ideas radiate. This is the natural way your brain thinks. Colors and emphasis on thin and thick lines and key words embellish the thought projections.

Click here for a Mind Map which I created on the key sources of creativity using each letter of the word "creativity."

Elements of Mind Mapping
The following are some important elements of the process of mind mapping according to Tony Buzan:
  • Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
  • Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
  • Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  • Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
  • The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  • Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
  • Use multiple colors throughout the Mind Map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
  • Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
  • Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
  • Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.
Consider this thought:
In this finite life of ours harnessing the way our brains are naturally wired is paramount. For it elevates our thoughts to levels which will astonish us. 
Try it. It will be a revelation.

Leave your comments about this article by clicking here.

Next Issue (see you in November 2012)
Discover your Genius
The road to your passion

Have you found your inspirational time of the day - magic moments of stimulation, creativity and purposeRead why and how.


You need to be out of the box first to think outside itAre you?

and many more......

Feedback on the newsletter is welcome including any suggestions for improvement and may be sent to

Believe in yourself and discover the genius in you.

Talk to you soon.
S Lakshmi Narasimhan
Author of the just released Book: Discover the Genius in the Mirror

About Ignite Insight LLC: I am the Founder of Ignite Insight LLC, a Consultancy specializing in providing Group/Executive Training, Coaching and consulting services to companies, business groups and individuals. We empower you to discover the genius in yourself!

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