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!
Good criticism serves to give perspective and help the creator evolve the idea into a better solution. A good criticizer knows that early ideas will always have flaws. A good critic asks lots of questions to try to fully understand the situation before they give their feedback. Additionally, good feedback must avoid the use of negative energy. It is certainly possible to be very critical about an idea without using negative remarks that disrespect the creator and put this person on the defensive.
Instead of pointing out what is wrong, try to offer suggestions. For example, instead of saying, "That knob is way too big!" try saying, "Do you think a smaller knob would allow people with smaller hands to use it more comfortably?" Remember that what you dislike is not the same as what is bad. Try to keep personal opinions to yourself.
Another useful technique is to alternate positive and negative remarks. Point out something that is good for each thing that needs changing. For example, "This button is just the right size and shape, maybe we should think about adjusting the size of this knob to match it." It's like Mary Poppins sang, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down."
This icebreaker will have everyone laughing:
Break everyone up into small groups of 2 or 3. Give each group a made-up punchline. Each group now has 5 minutes to come up with a joke or story that uses that punchline at the end. The crazier the better! Here are some example punchlines:
1. And that is why you never let a cat go fishing!
2. That proves that elephants don't like hot dogs.
3. Finally he said, "Sir, your computer doesn't have a cigarette lighter."
4. The moral of the story is, "Always wear socks!"
Here is an icebreaker that will test the group's creativity:
Everyone needs to stand up. Now, going around the group, each person must say the name of an animal that starts with the next letter of the alphabet (Ant, Bear, Cat, etc). When you reach the end of the alphabet, start again at the beginning, using all new animals. If someone can't think of an animal, or repeats an animal, then they are out and must sit down. Keep going around the circle until only one person is left.
You may choose to award a small prize. You may also vary this exercise by picking things other than animals (flowers, foods, movies, names, etc).
If you can anticipate when you are going to be put into one of these situations, you could prepare by getting some good sleep. If that isn't possible, you could bring along some props to help you stay alert. For example, if you bring a glass of ice, you could hold an ice cube in your mouth. The coldness from the ice will keep you awake. Experiment with your own ways of keeping your mind and body alert.
Try this one to get people out of their seats and interacting in new ways:
Have everyone line up in the order of his or her birthday. The catch is that nobody is allowed to talk or write. This should inspire people to use some interesting forms of communication. Variations of this game could include lining up by age or alphabetically by the city in which you were born.
- Memory Tests - Determine how good your memory is.
- Flash Cards - Create and use flash cards to learn new information.
- Vocab Builder - Build a better vocabulary with these words from the SAT and GRE standardized tests.