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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!

Our attention is easily diverted by any number of distractions (a song on the radio, an overheard conversation, an itch, etc). The next time you need to concentrate on something, pay attention to what distracts you from your task. What types of things divert your attention? How does it feel to be distracted by something against your will?

If you become aware of which types of things can easily distract you, you can try to block them out when you need to concentrate. For example, you could turn off the radio if you are easily distracted by music.

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One of the things you notice about creative people is that they are extremely prolific thinkers. They produce tons and tons of ideas both good and bad. A creative thinker is constantly rethinking and recombining ideas into different permutations.

To be a creative thinker, try to force relationships between seemingly unconnected ideas, and don't be afraid to record an idea that you're not sure is correct. You can always come back to it later and combine it with something else to get a new idea. Go for quantity in your ideas and try not to censor yourself.

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Every brainstorm should have a large stack of paper and pens because one of the best ways to communicate your ideas in a Brainstorm is to be visual. Draw it, act it out, or make a little model out of pencils and rubber bands.

The more visual you can make your idea, the better you will be able to communicate it to the group, and the quicker they will be able to understand and build on it.

Another part of being visual is that all the ideas should be written where everyone can see them. A whiteboard or big sheet of paper works well for this. Write big so everyone can read the ideas. At the end of the brainstorm, you can have everyone use Post-its or colored markers to vote for their favorite ideas.

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The goal of a Brainstorm is to come up with many different possible solutions to a problem. Be prolific! Don't dwell on any particular thought unless you are building on it. There will be plenty of time to think about the details of each idea at a later date.

The moderator should try to maintain the energy and pace of the meeting by keeping people on track and forcing them to go on to the next idea. If someone is going into a long-winded explanation of something, the moderator should interrupt them and ask for a one-sentence summary.

Having a quota for the number of ideas you want to produce is a good motivator for the group. Try for at least 100 ideas in a half-hour brainstorm.

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In a Brainstorm, you don't need to come up with completely unique, original, and fully formed ideas. If everyone did this, the meeting would be very quiet while everyone sat and thought, and you wouldn't end up with very many novel ideas. The best ideas come from a collaborative effort of springboarding off one idea to arrive at another improved or modified solution. After you have built on the original idea several times, you'll have something completely new that you never would have thought of on your own.

Never hold back because your idea is only partially formed or incomplete. The other brainstormers can build on it and turn it into a possible solution. Even a little random thought could provide the spark that gives someone else a great idea.

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