The 10 Minute Habit - this trick will make you a better photographer!
Of course I am not a neuroscientist, but it is a fascinating science and very encouraging for all of us who are learning new skills - such as photography!
More later. Let me tell you a little story first. When I started my Bachelor of Veterinary Science at The University of Sydney ( gosh I miss those days!), I had just turned 18 and I had never lived away from my parents. I was accepted into a wonderful on campus residential college just for women.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed my newfound freedom and living on campus was an exciting new lifestyle! The course was demanding and life was fun. I made new friends. We talked for hours, played tennis, went out for dinner and drinks. I was so busy that I never had the hours of peace and quiet that I was used to, to focus on my studies. Well, I am sure you can guess what my first exam results were like.
Being young I did not worry too much at first - this was a 5 year course after all. I had plenty of time.
Yet time continued to be an elusive entity in my busy new life and I started to see that I really needed to change my ways and to study harder.
The residential college where I lived was an exclusive place and they wanted to ensure their residents did very well in their studies. They had a reputation to uphold. So they made us feel guilty but also provided tutors and study groups. One of the tutors was a young woman who was finishing med school. I remember she had very red, curly, long hair. I don't remember her name. She taught me one of those life lessons, which stay with you forever.
She said: "Have fun, enjoy uni, but use ALL of your time wisely. Whenever you have 10 minutes in between classes, before dinner, while you wait somewhere use that time effectively and study something! Make this a habit. It will serve you well."
It took a while as these short and sharp study moments were not something I had ever done before. I had also never been this busy before. Still I started doing as she recommended. I wasn't a star student but my marks improved and by the time I was in 5th year I knew how to party and get good marks ;)
The '10 minute habit' is still part of my life now and it is how I studied photography as well.
Of course being a working mum with young children redefined the meaning of 'time poor' and 10 min of 'me time' can seem like an eternity now. All of you, who are parents, are probably nodding right now. I feel your pain!
So, what does neuroscience have to do with all of this?
It seems that the "10 min Habit" fits in perfectly with recent findings, that our brains are continuously reshaping themselves, according to how we live and what we do. It is called neuroplasticity and it defines how quickly we can learn a new skill ( and also loose old bad habits).
Here are some fancy graphics which explain this
This shows,that if we are in the habit of thinking about or doing anything related to photography repeatedly and regularly, we will get better at it much more quickly. We are never too old to learn a new skill, as long as we PRACTICE, PRACTICE,PRACTICE!!
Isn't that great news? Nature rocks!
The above infographics are from this article Rewiring your brain for optimal learning. I loved reading it, maybe you do too.
If not, then you can still make the '10 Minute Habit" your own tool to become a better photographer ( or anything else you want to be!) without understanding 'why?'. That is what I did back in those fabulous uni days and I can promise you it works!
Of course actually taking photos and reviewing them on the computer is the best way to learn. You do need to make time for that, but why don't you give these 'camera free' ideas a shot ( no pun intended ;) every day from now on and start strengthening those photography pathways in your brain!
I am sure you can come up with many more ideas! Why don't you share some in the comments below so we can all expand our repertoire.
By the way the clever scientists also say that when you learn from failure the lesson learned has an even more profound effect on becoming better at something. Take lots of pics, get a 'happy hormone release' from the ones that worked out and learn big lessons from the ones that turned out awful.
It's all good stuff that will restructure your brain to allow you to become a more skilled photographer.
Hope this inspired you and let me know if you will also start your very own "10 min Habit".
Oh and I hope reading this post didn't take you more than 10 minutes!