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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!

Thinking fluently is a key quality of a creative thinker. One way to force yourself to think fluently is to impose a quota upon yourself. Set a time limit and a goal for a certain number of ideas, and then start writing down every idea that comes to mind. The initial ideas will usually be less interesting than the later ones because all of the obvious concepts are right at the surface of your consciousness. If you go long enough to get through the obvious concepts, you will have much better results. For this reason, you should set your quota high and keep writing down your ideas until the time limit expires.

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Getting organized is a great way to improve your memory, and it can also help you stay motivated and be more productive. Taking some time to plan your workday or workweek can have a huge impact on your productivity. One study showed that fifteen minutes spent planning could save an hour of execution time! If you have ever been in a disorganized meeting that seemed to drag on forever, you will understand how much more can be accomplished in the same amount of time if there is an agenda.

All you need is a few minutes with a daily planner, PDA, or piece of paper. Write down the tasks that you need to accomplish and the amount of time that each one is expected to take. Now schedule these tasks into your day and stick to the schedule. You may be surprised to find that you will be much more productive if you do this.

This technique works because without a plan, we waste a lot of time between tasks. When you have a plan, you won't have to spend time trying to figure out what to do next. It also helps you work faster because you won't be worrying or multitasking. When you have a plan, you can focus 100% of your energy on the task without stressing about anything else. Disorganized people waste time trying to do two things at once, or worrying about the things that they haven't finished yet.

Once you realize how much work you can get done if you organize it ahead of time, you will become more motivated, productive and worry free.

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One way to come up with new ideas or improve upon existing ideas is to elaborate on them. In fact, some people believe that all new ideas are elaborations of existing ideas. You should always be striving to improve your ideas and solutions by adding depth or detail. You can use the following nine different principles to help in your elaborations.

Substitution
Can I put something in place of something else?

Combination
Can I combine two ideas into one?

Adapt
How could I make something similar work?

Modify or Magnify
How can I alter or expand the use of this idea?

Put to other use
What other applications is this idea useful for?

Eliminate
What parts of the idea can I get rid of?

Rearrange or Reverse
How can I rearrange the components? What are some opposite ideas?

You can remember the above nine principles by using the acronym SCAMPER.

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For each of the following statements, come up with at least two plausible reasons why they are true. Now, come up with at least two plausible reasons why they are false. This exercise will help you to see that many issues have different sides to them.

1. Vitamins are good for you.
2. Reading makes you smart.
3. Gold is valuable.
4. Winning the lottery will make you happy.

You can repeat this exercise by using any subjective statement that you can find.

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Cognitive dissonance is a mental condition resulting from conflicting ideas. The information that you already know is so important that your mind has a hard time reconciling new information that is contradictory or inconsistent. It is these contradicting thoughts that drive the human mind to invent ideas and beliefs that minimize the amount of dissonance. A creative person must be able to tolerate conflicting ideas and find ways that opposites can be connected in a new point of view. The inability to tolerate opposites is an emotional block that can be overcome with practice.

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