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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

Deferring judgment is an important rule for brainstorming sessions, and it's just as important for working with your own ideas. If you judge an idea too quickly, you will reject many ideas that have real potential. Early ideas are easy to reject because they are imperfect, but they can be improved and embellished. Sometimes the best ideas come from combining parts of several imperfect ideas.

If you feel yourself jumping to judge or reject an idea (either your idea or someone else's idea), take a moment and allow yourself to recognize that not all ideas spring forth from the mind in perfect order.

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Icebreakers are little exercises that help relax tensions and loosen up a formal atmosphere in a meeting where you want to have creative ideas and group participation.

Everyone stands up and one person is chosen to start. This person asks a question like, "If you have a pet dog, sit down." Some people will sit down and some people will remain standing. The person then asks another question and more people sit down. When there is only one person left standing, it becomes his or her turn to lead the game. This is a fun way to get to know people and create a team atmosphere.

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Start carrying a small notebook and pen in your pocket and whenever you have an idea, write it down. Try not to censor your silly ideas, because it's the silly ideas that frequently have a nugget of genius buried inside. If you are diligent about doing this for a few days, you'll be amazed at how many ideas you have every day that you forget because you never capture them on paper. From time to time you can go back and review your ideas to find the good ones. Pretty soon, you'll have more ideas than you know what to do with.

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Get a piece of paper and draw a bunch of non-overlapping circles on it (20 will be a good number). Now set a timer for 2 minutes and start doodling. The goal is to use as many of the circles as you can. For example, you may turn one of the circles into an apple by drawing a stem, or you may turn two adjacent circles into a bicycle by drawing the frame. See if you can use all 20 circles in 2 minutes. It's not as easy as you think! Try to create entirely different pictures every time you try this exercise. If circles get too easy, use triangles or squares.

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The following exercise will help you pick a scent that you can associate with being in a creative mood. Whenever you need to get back into that mood, you can use the scent to get you there.

Find an unusual scent and make it into a scent canister. Browsing the spice aisle at the supermarket is a good way to find new scents. The first step is to condition yourself to associate this scent with being in a creative mood. It will take several weeks to accomplish this. Whenever you are feeling particularly creative or mentally productive, take a whiff from your scent canister to associate the smell with your mood.

After a while, the association will be so strong that the scent will act like a trigger to help you bring out your most creative self.

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