Secret sauce of note taking

Prateek Sharma
3 min readJan 4, 2024
Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

You may have seen Steve Jobs’ speech where he talks about Connecting the Dots. His speech has inspired many people, including many successful entrepreneurs. In this speech, Jobs used the phrase “Connecting the Dots” to describe how our memories, relationships, and activities are all interconnected by looking backward.

For example, relationships are not isolated. We have relationships with our parents, our siblings, our spouses, and many more. When we meet someone new, we often introduce ourselves by explaining how we are connected to them. This is because we naturally try to connect the dots and understand how people fit into our lives.

The same is true for our personal growth and career. As we move from one place to another, we meet new people and make new connections. These connections help us to grow and develop as individuals.

Overall, human psychology and nature are all about connecting the dots. We are always trying to understand how our experiences and relationships fit together and how they contribute to our lives.

Let’s take artificial intelligence as an example. If we examine its underlying model, we find nodes that are interconnected. These components enable us to draw inferences from sentences, words, context, and other elements. This is how artificial intelligence has been developing and operating for quite some time.

Similarly, if we consider our own bodies, we observe that neurons transmit information to our minds and brains, creating interconnected pathways. These pathways facilitate the transmission of information and provide a framework for processing and responding to stimuli.

Everywhere we look, we see interconnectedness. This interconnectedness helps us create pathways and structures in our understanding of the world and allows us to navigate it effectively.

Imagine yourself adventuring into an unfamiliar territory, perhaps on a hiking trail or in an unknown place. Without a map or prior knowledge, you begin your journey. As you progress, you start marking your path, leaving behind physical indicators or mental notes of your steps. These markers serve as a connection between your starting point and your current location. They represent the path you have taken and act as a guide for your return journey, ensuring you don’t get lost. This process is instinctively followed by both humans and animals. By creating markers and establishing territories, we create interconnectedness and a sense of familiarity in unfamiliar surroundings.

Your note-taking approach, whether it’s in isolation or linked to other ideas, can significantly impact your ability to recall and comprehend the information later. If you have a collection of notes scattered across various places, you may face difficulties remembering what you wrote and where you wrote it. However, by establishing meaningful connections between your notes, you can create a cohesive network of knowledge that makes it easier to retrieve and understand the information.

One effective note-taking application that excels in linking ideas is Obsidian. With Obsidian, you can create notes and connect them to other related notes, allowing you to explore and navigate your notes in a graphical format. This visualization enhances your understanding of the relationships between ideas and makes it easier to derive insights and connections.

By organizing your notes in a structured and interconnected manner, you can unlock the full potential of your note-taking process, making it more efficient and productive.

When we forget something, we try to recall it by tracing back the connections to what we do remember, starting with the closest connection. From there, we form a link to the thing we’re trying to remember, allowing us to recall it through the linkage.

The graphical representation of this connection is the interconnectedness of things that make something memorable. Another important factor is creating a limit of information in each “node” of memory. Too much information in one node makes it lose its significance, so it’s essential to consider how much information a node should contain and how to link it to the next node. This requires logical comprehension and the development of meaningful connections.

For example, when reading a novel, there needs to be a connection between the chapters. While there may be some initial loose connections, there should be a clear progression between chapters later in the book. This structure ensures that the information is presented coherently and memorably.

--

--

Prateek Sharma

A lifelong learner with keen interest in tech automation, finance & economics.