The key to building a good map is to be aware of all the information that’s available and organizing it in a meaningful way. In the case of our current need – building the initial foundation of a map for successful living – sensory information is the category of knowledge we need to focus on. To state the obvious, we are all aware of our external world – the sights, sounds, smells, etc. – that constitutes our reality. When we cross a street we keep track of sights and sounds or find ourselves in serious trouble. Hence, being aware of ongoing external sensory input is essential to survival. Yet, external information only constitutes half of our sensory world. The other half we create in our minds, and its importance cannot be overstated. Moreover, it is the interplay between these two streams of sensory data – what’s going on around us and what’s going on in our heads – that makes things so confusing.
Take for example the experience of driving a car while talking on a cell phone. This is the classic conflict of inner vs. outer. You see (no pun intended), the issue is not whether or not you have both hands free that causes the problem. It’s the inner screen vs. the outer world, two streams of sensory information competing for awareness. While we’re talking on the phone we create in our heads the reality we’re conversing about. In other words, as we tell our friend what we did last Friday night, we’re seeing in our minds what we’re describing, literally watching it on the screen in our heads. Consequently our ability to focus on the road gets compromised as we simultaneously talk, have a movie running in our heads and try to focus on driving. I’m sure many of us have experienced a “YIKES, THAT WAS CLOSE”. So the whole idea of headsets vs. holding the phone is actually a moot point – neither works. So lesson number one is begin to notice how you create images in your mind as you talk with anyone under any circumstances. It’s like air, it’s always there but we’re oblivious to it.
So keep your cell phone usage to a minimum while driving. Better yet, just use the phone for emergencies and listen to some good music instead.
“SEEING” The Hidden Inner World of Talking