Sometimes seeing well is not only about seeing clearly but seeing fast. Taking in the light waves bouncing off the ball, the court, the room, the people, the books, the walls all around you. Light is constantly dancing, reflecting, jumping off the world around you, what you see depends on how well you can take in the information and process it.
When you open your eyes or turn your head, you see the light that is bouncing off of the ball, your teammates, your opponents, the crowd, and everything around you. The light has already left the object. For the last split second that light has been travelling towards you or away from the object at literally the speed of light or slightly less than 186,282 miles per second.
The time between turning your head or opening your eyes and perceiving the object or the motion is the time it takes for your eyes to collect the light, send the information to your brain, and for your brain to understand what you are seeing. The light zips from the object to the cornea or outer layer of the eye, through the eye to the retina at the back of the eye. The retina converts these light waves into chemical signals that travel along the optic nerves, through the optic chiasm under the biological clock towards the occipital lobe or visual cortex in the back of the brain. Some of the information zips over to the amygdala, which overlays emotional information. Have you seen this object or person before? Do you like or fear them? How do you feel about what you are seeing? The occipital lobe interprets the shapes, textures and colors to mean a certain thing, a baseball, a coach, an injured opponent favoring their right side, an excited fan. And then you truly "see."
This book is about speeding up the time it takes your eyes to translate the light energy (colors, shapes, textures, etc) into chemical information travelling along the nerves towards the visual cortex (occipital lobe) at the back of the head. It is about developing the ability to understand and perceive what you are seeing more quickly. And finally it is about taking that visual information and sending it to your body, your hands and feet faster so that you can respond to what you see in a more successful way.
Blinking Is Like Weight Training for the Eye
When you lift weights you are making the movement of your arms and legs more difficult in the hope that the muscles will get stronger so that when you are on the field or court those muscles will be stronger and help you run faster or jump higher.
We can do a similar thing with the eyes by blinking. When you blink you briefly shut off visual information from your brain for the period of time that your eyes are closed. You are making it more difficult to see, especially to see things or people that are moving while your eyes are closed.
This trains the brain to grab the information more quickly when your eyes are open. In a sense the brain is learning that it doesn't have 24/7 access to the visual information it needs to respond to the world around it and so it better pay attention to the information when it can see. The two following exercises are based on the ideas that came out of Nike when they created a pair of goggles that blink for you.
These goggles are used by professional athletes during practice to speed up reaction time. The frequency and length of time the shutters are closed and open are adjustable in a way that simply blinking can't be adjusted but blinking is the place to start for free.
One way to use this book is to learn one new exercise each day for a month.
Once you have learned all the exercises, you can pick and choose the ones that seem to work best for you and only do those exercises on a regular basis.
Another way to use this information is to learn three or four exercises and repeat those exercises each day for a week or a month and then move on to three or four new exercises.
Each exercise takes one to twenty minutes so you can also decide how much time you want to devote to developing your ability to see faster and respond more quickly.
Counting Consciously While Blinking
Try this. Start blinking your eyes as you look around. If you simply blink for a minute or so, your brain gets bored and doesn't pay attention so the key is what you pay attention to as you blink.
As you blink look around and ask yourself questions.
What do you see that is red?
What do you see that is square?
How many shoes can you count?
Counting sets up a rhythm. One, two, three ... How many stairs do you see? How many people?
By practicing this blinking while counting, you send a message to the brain about what is important.
How many players are there? How many of your opponents are there? What are the names of your teammates? How many teammates can you see?
This blinking exercise can also be done as you and the other players move around the field or court.
Spend a few minutes practicing this blinking. Many people report that the room or space seems brighter after blinking for a minute or so. This is because the eyes are taking in light more quickly and easily when you stop blinking.
Paying Attention to Shapes and Textures While Blinking
In this exercise the focus is on the shape of things while you are blinking. Start blinking your eyes as you look around. Notice all the things that are round or square. Notice all the things that are soft or fuzzy. Notice the texture difference between shoes and clothes. Notice the size difference between a baseball and a basketball.
Get a sense as you blink about how something would feel it you touched it.
Continue blinking and touch some of the items you have been paying attention to. Feel the ridges on a basketball, the seams on a soccer ball, the leather of a baseball, the pointy end of a football.
You are taking in information visually and also through your hands. This helps with seeing faster but also helps with hand-eye coordination.
—an excerpt from 30 Ways to See Faster & Play Stronger, A Month of Vision Strategies for Athletes and Successful People by Kimberly Burnham
Warren G. Bennis said, "Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California is also chairman of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School. His most recent book is Geeks & Geezers.
It is the translating that can be challenging but, if you can really see in the first place, along with the obstacles you can see the opportunities to translate your vision of the future into a reality enjoyed by many.
I see you!
Four things have to happen, in order to clearly say, "I see you!" Is it difficult for you to see your colleagues, clients, strangers, potential friends, or supportive team members in a positive light? For many people struggling as they age with both eyesight loss and a decline in business insights, one of these four vision elements are often missing or damaged.
Part One: Lights and Color
The light reflecting off your face has to reach my eyes, traveling undistorted through the cornea, the pupil, the lens, the vitreous fluid until it reaches the retina and the central portion of the retina, the macula.
Simple exercises and guided visualizations that improve the way your eyes take in light improves your ability to see clearly the street signs on a dark rainy night, the expression in a delighted customer's face, and the print in an innovative book. Tools and techniques that improve your eye health and function eliminates the pain of dry eyes and the headaches induced by strained fatigued eyes as well as the pain of missed opportunities and a lack of clear focus.
Part Two: The Pathway: The Retina, the Macula and the Brain
In the eye, the retina, the macula, the rods and the cones turn colorful light waves (energy) into electrochemical signals (matter) which travel along the nerves. Each new signal strengthens an old rut or lays down a new pathway. Fifteen or twenty years ago, a neurologist might have said, the macula or central nervous system part of the retina, the brain and spinal cord can't heal but today's research and the experience of thousands of individuals indicates that all these parts of the nervous system can heal.
Tools and techniques that improve brain health improve your ability to see clearly, coordinate eye movement so that you can judge the distance between your bumper and mine. It also enables you to respond to boundaries and relationships and remember what you have read or seen. Using exercises, cross word puzzles and good nutrition that support your nervous system health can improve your vision and help you avoid Alzheimer's disease or forgetting the details of an advertising campaign.
Part Three: Pattern Recognition, Visual Memory and Assigning Meaning
Once the electrochemical information arrives in the occipital area (visual cortex in the back of the head), the limbic system (protective part of the brain) and the amygdala (emotional centers in the brain) and the hypothalamus (balance and sleep-wake regulation centers) the process of recognizing the pattern and assigning meaning to the information begins. This happens almost instantaneously in the healthy brain, where what is before you right now is coordinated with visual memories, past experiences and emotions.
Alternative medicine techniques, brain health exercises and learning a new language can all contribute to improved cognition, learning abilities, and pattern recognition. Why is pattern recognition important? It allows you to avoid car accidents by improving your ability to see the flow of traffic and where your opportunities lie. It allows you to recognize people and places that are familiar and helps you feel safe and included. It allows you to use visual information, what you see to plan where you place your foot for the next balanced step as well as recognizing the kindness in a stranger's face.
In fact, it is now estimated that visual perception is 80 percent memory and 20 percent input through the eyes. In other words, "sensory information is not transmitted to the brain; it comes from it," said Richard Gregory in ‘Brainy Mind', British Medical Journal, 19 December 1998, issue 317: pp. 1693–1695
Part Four: The Action: Visual Coordination and Response
The final step in really seeing the people and things around you, is the response as you translate the bits of light, chemicals and electrical impulses pulsing through your brain, as well as the interpretations and meanings you assign the images into an action or into reality. Your response might be to move your arm muscles and reach out to shake a person's hand or congratulate them with a pat on the back. Your response might be a facial expression that conveys happiness, disgust, fear or another emotion. The success of your leadership depends on how you convey your response to what you perceive. Is your response, the response you want to convey? Are you seeing what you want to see in terms of progress in your business?
In your response is also the element of hand-eye coordination, of balancing the light and color you take in with your other sensations and experience. Vision and visual perception forms the basis for physical prowess and your ability to move in the world. Your visual ability influences the way you take the stage at a conference or walk into an important business meeting.
You response might feel warm or cold to a colleague as they see you and your response to them, to their expressions in the world. And so when I see you and you see me there is a fork in the road with the potential for something beautiful or a sense of alienation.
Most Americans report that, of all disabilities, loss of eyesight would have the greatest impact on their daily life, according to a recent survey by the NIH's National Eye Institute (NEI). Fear of vision loss ranks ahead of loss of memory, speech, arm or leg, and hearing. After all, 80 percent of the sensory information the brain receives comes from your eyes.
How clearly do you see the bits of light? What is the state of the tissue, electrical networks and chemical soup between your ears? How are you interpreting what you see and assigning meaning?
Do you see me? Or your colleagues, customers and clients? Or the opportunities and resources around you supporting your business?
What do you see and what does it mean?
- Originally Published in The Catalyzed Leader.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD
Published in over 100 books, Kimberly Burnham is a writer, poet, and complementary medicine practitioner. She authored Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program for people interested in improving their brain clarity, creativity and muscle movements. Her current project focuses on color words, the brain and vision health designed to assist people in seeing better. Kimberly's Ph.D. (Integrative Medicine) considered manual therapy techniques (Integrative Manual Therapy, Matrix Energetics, Acupressure, Reiki) and health coaching for people with Parkinson's disease. She is an avid gardener and environmentalist, who bicycled 3000 miles across the U.S. in 2013. Kimberly Burnham is the managing editor of Inner Child Magazine and on the board of The United World Movement for Children. For a brain health coaching phone consultation or an appointment in Spokane, Washington contact Kimberly at https://www.nervewhisperer.solutions/ or email her at NerveWhisperer@gmail.com.
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See her list of publications including her latest book of brain health meditations, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
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I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
I would expect some sort of stipend and a six month to one year placement. Please contact me for details if your organization is interested in having a poet-in-residence to help get your message out. Nervewhisperer@gmial.com
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