Contributed by: Daniel Chun, Cohort VIII
One of the many things I’ve been grateful for along this journey with the Omidyar Fellows program is developing a newfound joy of reading. While I’d like to say that books and I have had a long-term relationship, the truth is, I was never fond of them. So, as I’ve been picking up and finishing (and enjoying!) more books, I’ve been finding wonderful inspiration in this expansive new world of knowledge and creativity.
What’s challenging for me about these moments of inspiration is that they are often fleeting. I experience them as I’m reading but hadn’t found a meaningful way to capture them so that I could integrate them into my life. Enter the helpful brilliance of Brené Brown…
I recently started reading the 10th anniversary edition of The Gifts of Imperfection, and along with apparently being 10 years late to the party, I was excited by one of the new elements she added to her book. She calls it the “Integration Index,” and it was adapted from a system used by Maria Popova, the curator of BrainPickings.org.
The idea is that when you read a book, you walk away with certain takeaways that are thematically linked, and in most cases, these takeaways don’t occur sequentially. An integration index is based on ideas that are important to you, and the act of creating it allows you to find and document the patterns that generate personal meaning and understanding.
The process is simple, yet effective. You create index categories based on the book you’re reading and what’s important to you. As you move through the book, you tag ideas or phrases by notating the page number(s) under these index categories so that you can easily reference it in the future. This process of documenting and categorizing key takeaways as you’re reading helps to embed the work in your life. As Brené says, “Creativity is the engine that drives integration—it helps us transform knowledge into practice. We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.”
Coming up with your own index categories is the fun part, but here are some of my favorites that Brené suggests:
- Beautiful language
- Don’t understand; need to learn more
- Family Dinner (as in, topics to discuss at…)
- More books to read
- Share with ______ (your spouse, partner, etc.)
You can learn more about this process and download her Integration Index template at brenebrown.com.