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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!

Stereotyping is an inescapable habit of the human mind. You are constantly making stereotypes without even knowing it. The mind simply cannot store every detail about everything that passes through it, so it tries to simplify things by sorting them into groups that are consistent with information that already resides in your memory.

For example, without looking at it, try to imagine what the face of your watch looks like. Does it have numbers for the hours or is it just implied? Are there any words printed on the front? What color are the hands? Chances are you cannot remember every detail of your watch even though you look at it several times a day. This is because your mind knows how to deal with watches so it stereotypes your watch and forgets about all the inconsequential details.

Topics that are important to you are unlikely to be heavily stereotyped, whereas unfamiliar topics will be heavily stereotyped. If you are uninterested in mountain climbing, it is very likely that you have a bunch of stereotypes about that particular sport. However, an avid mountain climber knows so much about the topic that few stereotypes remain.

Stereotypes can also affect the way you unconsciously feel about something. If you are allergic to bees, it might be difficult for you to think of them as beneficial insects that you might want in your garden.

Just being aware that your mind is full of stereotypes will help you look at things with an open mind. The next time you are trying to solve something, ask yourself if there are any stereotypes that are constraining your thinking.

 



Pan-tech-ni-con

noun :: A depository or place where all sorts of manufactured articles are collected for sale.

Sealed packing-cases went north and east and west to various pantechnicons, and the engines were boxed with peculiar care." --Wells, H.G.

 



When you get into a routine and do the same things over and over, your brain gets very little stimulation. Previously, we have learned that our minds works on the "use it or lose it" principal. One easy way to introduce novelty into your life is to shop at different grocery stores. For most of human history, finding food was a difficult task that required social interaction and ingenuity. In modern society, getting food from the local supermarket requires very little thought. Here are two ways to spice things up.

1. Try doing your grocery shopping at a different store. This will force you to learn a different store layout, and different brands of foods. Maybe you'll find something that you like better.

2. Shop at specialty markets. Instead of getting everything from one place, go to a bakery, a butcher shop, a farmers market, or an ethnic food store. You will probably get fresher food that will taste better and be better for you. Often these markets will have uncommon varieties that you can't get at a supermarket. Try one of these to get a different sensory input.

 



Worrying about a problem reduces our ability to focus 100% of our attention on the task. One way to focus your attention is to answer the following questions.

1. What exactly is the problem? There is no sense in worrying about something if you do not know exactly what you are worrying about. Take some time to write down specifically what the problem is that you are trying to solve.

2. What caused the problem? Sometimes solving the immediate problem is not the correct solution because it does not fix the root causes. Try to determine if this problem was caused by something else.

3. What are all the possible solutions? Too often, one solution is proposed and time is wasted arguing about that one solution. Try having a brainstorm to find every possible solution before you argue about the merits of each one.

4. What solution is best? Once all the solutions have been laid out, it should be a pretty easy task to pick the best one and move forward with it.

If you are in a position where people bring their problems to you for help, this is a great strategy to help them solve their own problems. Simply, ask each person to answer these four questions before coming to you. It is likely that they will solve their own problem, but if not, it will make your job much easier.

 





 

 



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