No. 1238



There is a wonderful mental power called “ruminating” that most people do not know much about, but it can make a wonderful difference in our lives. The definition of this word means, “To chew on - meditate, reflect or ponder.” As I said, this word can make a wonderful difference in our lives if used in the right way.
To be honest, this word has not been in my working vocabulary until just recently. The lady who typed the manuscript for my new book used this word when she commented about reading it for the first time. She said, “I did not get as far as I meant to, because I stopped to ‘ruminate’ for a while, on each one, before moving on to the next chapter.”
You know, the thing that sets us apart from all the other creatures on this earth is our marvelous human mind, given by God so we can think, form words, and communicate with other human beings. As they say, the only thing a cat can learn from sitting on a hot stove is that he will never sit on a hot stove again. To use the wonderful mental powers we have been given, we need to have some quality thinking time. When we think about our lives, our futures, our service, our rewards, where we want to spend time and with whom, and where we will spend eternity, we definitely have a leg up. To say it very simply, to maximize our potential we need to stop and “ruminate” from time to time.
It is here that I would like to share something personal that may be of value to you, because it involves the process of learning. The other day I was talking with a college professor friend and told him that I was a college drop out. He responded, “Yes, and you have been trying to make up for it ever since.” He is right and the one thing that has helped me more than anything else is that I have never stopped learning. They say the three keys to learning are 1. Repetition. 2. Repetition. 3. Repetition. Without realizing it at the time, here is how I got an education that became the foundation for my speeches, books, radio program and column.
Back in 1970, I went into business with my former Dale Carnegie instructor to distribute the Earl Nightingale Motivation Programs that were produced on cassette tape. Soon after we started, I found that schools were the best prospects for our programs. What Earl had done several years before, based on his life as an omnivorous reader, was to record the “Wisdom of the Ages” on cassettes. This formed his motivational series. As I traveled from school to school over the next several years in my early career, I listened to those tapes over and over again, especially early in the morning when my mind was clear.
Now, let me pause here to make a point. Remember what I said about “ruminate”, and “repetition, repetition and repetition”. This is what I was doing with the “Wisdom of the Ages” as I drove my car 50,000 miles each year. And here is the icing on the cake. Several years ago Princeton University did a study on repetitive learning. They found that if a message was read or heard only once, 24 hours later it was practically out of the mind. However, a message read or heard several times a day for eight days was practically memorized, and 30 days later the mind had retained 90 percent of the message.
If you really want to learn something, just go over and over it in your mind and also stop and ruminate from time to time. My best wishes to you.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)