Taking Notes

Taking Notes

Why take notes when your memory is perfectly capable of remembering. Well, I am here to tell you that taking notes is one of the most important aspects for you and your memory to retain information. I was a big believer that I could remember anything and everything, and for the most part, I could (at least that is what I thought). In reality, I was missing some major highlights, highlights that could have benefited me in the situation I was currently in. The SEAL team enhanced the need for note-taking. Every training event, mission, health and even gear correction had to be taken into account. Thinking about how placing something somewhere, or eating a certain way could affect your ability down the line. But there is a far more important aspect of taking notes beyond memory retention.

Different Ways to Take Notes 

We all know the basics of taking notes, listen and write down key lessons. However, there is a completely different aspect to taking notes that I never realized until I got in the SEAL team. I use this process on a daily basis. Good news you probably use this process as well, you are just unaware it is happening.

Think about the environment you live in currently. How did you learn to live or fashion your own reality from your environment? You took notes subconsciously and made decisions based on those experiences. Think about it for a second, you are processing billions and trillions of events each day. Your mind is constantly thinking, linking elements together to make movement. You do these things instinctively. How did you learn to crawl, walk, run? As a baby, you looked and observed you took mental notes, thought about it for a second and then made it happen.

Note Taking Systems

I am glad we take notes all the time but what is the process behind the process? How can you make use of these subconscious notes we take every day? It is simple really and there are 3 key steps in the process.

1. Become Aware

If I saw this subheading I would say to myself, “I am aware, next step please.” But wait, are we? I am constantly reminding myself to be aware. Becoming aware is not a one-stop shop, it is a constant tool to be honed. It is also the single most important aspect of the whole process. You cannot become aware if you refuse to look past yourself and into the environment.

Most of the world’s events are shown to us from a narrow perspective. We allow society, our environment to tell us what to be aware of and not to look beyond. I remember as a kid being told to be cautious of the kids down the street. Because they were not at the same social level as my family. I believed this for years I muted the signs and signals I saw daily that would indicate otherwise. One day I went out and hung out with the kids down the street and it was one of the best times I had as a kid. The influence society puts on us as kids and adults is troubling.

2. Getting above the fog 

Most people around us are older and have been brought up a certain way. Society has led them to believe there is only one way to do something and to ensure everyone younger does the same thing. If you find everyone around you is younger, take a second to see how your influence shapes their reality.

Getting above the fog is the natural next step in becoming aware. At this stage, you are aware of your surrounding and how they affect you. Now it is time to stand up and look above the fog and see what is really happening. Remember the kid from above? Once I realized things could go differently, it changed my whole perspective. People told me you have to go to do well in school, go to college and get a job. Well, then what? I didn’t do well in school and nothing about school inspired me to learn. I wanted to be outside having fun, and learning skills that benefit humanity. Not necessarily learning theory.

Full disclosure I did eventually go to college after a 13-year hiatus. But when I came back to school after traveling the world I found my true passion, Data Science. I was laser focused and no outside influence could sway me. However, I still kept my awareness about the constant changes in Data Science to ensure I was retaining what was necessary. On a much larger note, I noticed the people around me changing. I had less negative people around me, and more people that liked to see a person go for their goals.

Rising above the fog is getting above the oppressive nature of what could be around you. Not everyone has this situation, but it is important to understand your abilities to be aware.

3. Enact Change

Now you have the tools you are ready to take action. You are now ready to walk through the door to the unknown.

When I was a fitness trainer I would program workouts for people that would prepare them for life. One of my main focuses was pushing them past their preconceived limitations. These limitations are subconsciously programmed into people. Much how we started this article, people are influenced by the outside environment. In fitness, people can be pushed and the result is very clear. The trainee and I would get immediate feedback. I waited for this point in training, it was the perfect place to dispel mental unawareness and fog.

I would start with a question. How do you think you did? The answers were varied but there was always a common result. Belief. Belief in themselves again, you could almost see the flame starting to burn. Their eyes even after the test seemed brighter and more open. It almost seemed like they felt unstoppable. These trainees were enacting change physically and mentally. During these tests, they were pushed. The trainee had a fast track through all three steps and was forced to enact change. Afraid as they were at first the fear turned to excitement which fueled them far beyond the workout.


Remember taking notes goes beyond a pad and a piece of paper. Once you start taking notes about your environment, you will naturally start to see things differently. From there it is up to you, to enact the necessary changes. Don’t hesitate when it comes to your life, you are in control. Start taking notes and believe in yourself throughout the process. There may be a struggle or two and there most likely will be, but I can guarantee you it will be worth every penny.

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