Highlighters can be little magic wands of a kind. Magic because they help to select what is essential and worthwhile to you and bring it to the forefront of awareness. As I explain more below, this literal act can lead to the strengthening of a valuable perceptual tool.

When I am reading a good book, I always have a pencil and a highlighter by my side. I underline and star outstanding passages with the pencil or pen, and then I highlight and draw keys next to the “key” content. That way when I glance back over the book months or years later, I can easily get straight to the juicy parts.

If something is usable to some aspect of my work (like an exercise or diagram I want to reference in a workshop) then I will dog ear it on the bottom or more recently write the page number and a brief note about it on one of the blank pages in the back of the book. That way, I can extract and access useful content out of the book in an efficient way. I read books like a prospector looking for gold. When I am done, the treasure I found is literally highlighted in gold.

The great thing about highlighting key passages in books over many years is that it teaches you to think with a highlighter filter. Trains you in highlighter perception if you will. You automatically look and listen for the most exciting, relevant, and profound sections to jump out at you and then you give them the ability to easily jump out at everyone because of their bright color. This ability to listen for the essence of something has served me very well in working with coaching clients. My mind is naturally highlighting key parts of what a client is saying when they are sharing about something.

Who has time anymore for excess and fluff? We want to cut straight to the chase, get to the point, and get the juice of a concept without having to chew on a lot of excessive fiber.
So get yourself a literal highlighter and use it on articles, poems, instructions and books. Also practice highlighter perception and listen for and then “highlight” the essence of what a person is saying to you or the core of a situation.


Write in your Journal if you have one or just do a Free Write on a piece of paper.
Go over it with your trusty highlighter and mark the parts that jump out at you as interesting.
Write a new and more streamlined expression using mainly the highlighted sections of the old.

What about You?? Any good highlighter tips?
Comments are welcome.