You attended a lecture. You knew the speaker and knew that he was well qualified to speak on the subject at hand. What you didn’t expect was that one of the speaker’s remarks stimulated a brilliant idea in your brain that was strictly your own. Also, what you didn’t realize was that after the speech was over, you couldn’t remember what the brilliant idea was. All you could remember was that you had it.
What you might have remembered is that while the mind can provide some room for long term storage space, it’s main function is to do something with what it receives. One competent psychologist discovered that if you attended a three-day seminar containing many brilliant ideas, and didn’t have the aid of some note-taking, you would likely lose 60% of the ideas you wanted to remember.
All this is to say that having a paper and pencil with you at all times will help you to retain information for future use of it and it can also be a helpful aid to your understanding. As earlier suggested, recording someone else’s idea, may stimulate in your mind an entirely new idea that is strictly your own.
It can also be helpful to get in the habit of reading with a pencil in hand. You can underline, make notes and add any ideas that may turn up in the process. It has been pointed out that there is away to get more out of a book or lecture than there is in it because of the stimulation of your brain.
The fact is that the title of this article came to mind while thinking about something else, but it immediately became captive on an available piece of note paper to pass on to you that it is right to write.
-- Arthur S. Anderson