The hidden powers of Sorting and Categorizing in “unpacking” the Mind
Their role in achieving an organized life
Sorting and categorizing applies to our day to day activities. It is the capacity we have as humans to choose what we want and don’t want and to place them in a mental “basket” for future references or discard them. It could be surfing the internet, unpacking your luggage after a trip, highlighting interested topics/categories on medium to get feeds from & attaching a tag or two before publishing, creating a to-do list on the phone or iPad and placing items in a cart from an online shopping website. The list goes on. Sorting and categorizing plays a crucial role to in organizing our lives.
Categorization is a basic task children are often involved in. According to Gabor Gyori, it is a cognitive process you implore, which includes to sort, arrange and place items in a defined category based on their physical properties (size, shape and color) and/or mental properties (function?). I will be discussing further on the latter-the mental properties you can utilize to learn to categorize ideas which will help decluttering your mind and enable you become organized.
First, you must be aware that sorting precedes categorization. You cannot categorize anything without first sorting out the bits and pieces of it.
For you to place something in a category, the visual cortex in the brain must first create a picture of what you have seen which signals another part of the brain (cerebrum) for interpretation. This usual tasks, performed from right when we were kids, help to form and boost our mental prototype to categorize vast majority of things beyond inanimate objects. For instance, when you are taking a walk alone at night and happen to notice someone covered in black hoodie walking down the same path, this triggers the visual cortex to send a signal for interpretation as danger dependent on prototype or conceptualization clustering.
Likewise, when we sort and categorize different thoughts or ideas in their respective parts (conative, affective and cognitive), this leads to a settled mind thus resulting to an organized state.
Getting your mind organized means sorting and categorizing things associated with other aspects of your life. These aspects usually include mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually etc.
Sorting and categorizing declutters the mind (mental categorization)
Mental categorization is like a starter to growth and development that spans across other areas of your life. Mental categorization usually begins with critically evaluating who you are- the traits and characteristics you possess hitherto, the kind of behavior you know you exhibit. Performing this exercise sincerely will enable you place your mental state in a category of sound/ fuzzy/ unsound. This honest exercise will also allow you categorize your overall behavior. Determining this first, first of all, unloads your mind. Further steps to take include discovering what other traits/characteristics to cultivate in order to modify your behavior if objectionable.
Because categorization is a cognitive process, this gives you an added advantage on its own to enhance your mental capacity devoid of any stereotype. So, for instance, if have been dishonest with evaluating what and what not needs to be changed about you, then it’s a problem on its own that needs modification in that regard. So, when you sort and learn what you are lacking in the mental aspect of your life, you will easily discover what you need to replace it with. If you think you lack virtues such as patience, compassion and courage etc., well, maybe it’s time you placed them on the mental “to be worked on basket”.
As aforementioned, mental sorting and categorization affect other areas of one’s life, in that, determining something good or not good in the mental aspect can serve as a hint to the likely cause of a “hiccup” or advancement in another aspect of your life. So, for instance, impatience (mental aspect) may be the precursor to your physical unfitness (physical aspect) as a result of your detest for regular exercise and joy with instant gratification and so on.
The part of the brain responsible for spiritual experiences is the parietal lobe of the “neurobiological home”. When you don’t feel in tune with the spiritual aspect of you, many factors are usually involved. It could be due to lack of self awareness or attentiveness in recognition to the spiritual experience as that they all utilize the functions of the parietal lobe in accordance with a group of scientists. This could also be due to distorted or unsorted negative feelings regarding religion abuse. Sorting and categorizing help place emotions, feelings and connections into place to establish one’s spirituality, none spirituality or as spirituality but not religious(SBNR) etc.
Although categorization has to do more with the cognitive part of the mind when compared to the rest, emotional sorting and categorizing, as the name indicates, seems to be more applicable to the affective (feeling) part of the mind. The ability to sort out and categorize your emotions leads to acquiring emotional intelligence(EI). EI encompasses self awareness (cognitive), self control (balance between conative/affective/cognitive) and social awareness (cognitive/affective) and other competencies. Inadequacies with pin-pointing your emotional capabilities can either result to displaying erratic behaviors such as hot-temperedness or tolerating emotional abuse unintentionally. Sorting and categorization play major roles in understanding one’s flaws; what may be amiss and needs replacement or modification. This can amount to long emotional stability which in turn stabilizes the mind and perhaps other areas of your life to hence, achieve organization.
What am I trying to say?
Methods to sorting and categorizing become effective when you unload the mind, be attentive, organize and place your thoughts and feelings in a mental “basket or cart” which in turn, can influence actions for a better result. This occurs sequentially but non-linear fashion.
It is noteworthy that categorization has its downsides which is rigidity. Precaution must therefore be taken by understanding that conceptual categorization gives room for different levels of fitness or definitions and so, may not typically fall into a classic/sound category but rather others such as fuzzy and/or prototype categories.
Attaining stability (organized state) in one aspect of your life increases the its likelihood of influencing the others positively and vice-versa. In many cases, one area of your life may require more portion of the cognitive part of the mind than the affective and conative parts. Being in check with our minds with regards to sorting and categorizing what needs to, will produce formidable ease with operatively organizing ourselves. This pursues to kill many birds with one stone.
Are we ready to be mentally unpack and stay organized?