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Gathering and sharing information is a big part of my Soul Mission. I am knee deep in learning this week and I am super excited to share. I have immersed myself in a free online event called Brainpower For Success Summit, which started on Monday and continues throughout the week.
The summit is hosted by Jim Kwik of SuperheroYou, and the purpose is to teach people how to boost their brainpower. This kind of training speaks right to my Saturn in Gemini and North Node in the Third House. I am all over it!
Twelve experts are participating in the summit. Today I will give you some highlights from the first talk I heard. If you want to check out the summit for yourself, click here.
At the start, Jim shared what I found to be some really uplifting news: Your brainpower can be improved. It’s not static. Your focus, memory, ability to read faster, creativity, thinking, and imagination are all skills. They’re not just what you’re born with; you can actually learn to be smarter. How cool is that!
Jim then had a fascinating conversation with Michael Gelb, bestselling author of How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michael also expressed that brainpower is designed to improve with use. It doesn’t have to decline with age. If you work at it, your brain will get better and better, no matter how young or old you are.
Michael shared some key ideas for improving your brain function, which are covered thoroughly in his book. I took copious notes, and here’s a rough version of what I learned.
→Curiosity – Young children absorb information like sponges because they are so curious. Everything is new to them and they want to soak it up. In order for us to absorb information the way they do, we have to reawaken and maintain a level of passionate curiosity throughout our lives.
→Having a sense of purpose drives your curiosity. If you are motivated to do something, that purpose will help you leverage your potential and impel you to be more curious. German philosopher Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” A sense of purpose brings out whatever talent you have that you don’t know you have.
→Keeping a notebook to record your crazy ideas, free-flowing thoughts and doodles is wise. Michael mentioned that Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and many other great minds practice this habit. (I happen to know that Eminem does this too.) There is power in writing things down.
→Think for yourself, demonstrate things in your own experience, become an original thinker. Learn to discipline yourself with any important idea by considering multiple perspectives. Become a critical thinker. Look for information and opinions that are different than your own. Challenge your ideas. Seek different opinions and listen with an open mind. You can’t say you’ve really thought about something unless you’ve considered something different than what you believe.
The more ‘senior’ in business someone becomes, the more important it is for them to seek different perspectives. Don’t become a ‘yes man/woman.’ An expert has more perspective.
→Sharpen your senses. Consciously be aware of/attuned to exquisite beauty and make it a part of your everyday life. There is a relationship between beauty and creativity. However you can, surround yourself with expressions of whatever you consider to be the highest form of beauty. It nurtures and informs your Soul and deepens your appreciation for the creative aspects of your life. Fresh flowers, music, picturesque views deepen your sensitivity and your enjoyment of life. Put more dolce in your vita. Comparative appreciation is also valuable. Try different types of music, art, chocolate, wine, etc. Compare and contrast; talk about it with your friends. We remember better when we have something to compare.
→Embrace the unknown, the hazy and mysterious. This is a principal of genius, it’s a practice, and it takes some discipline. You’re not the first person who has felt ambiguity/lack of clarity/uncertainty. Being in the depths of uncertainty is an inevitable part of any creative breakthrough. If you’re really going to come up with something new, it means you’re going to be abandoning the familiar and the certain. That doesn’t just happen instantaneously. You have to cultivate Confusion Endurance if you’re going to take on big challenges. Something new means change, uncertainty, possible confusion. Sometimes it makes sense to be non-linear. The one thing we can be certain of is that there will be uncertainty.
→Balance art and science, logic and imagination. Use both sides of your brain. Do that by learning mind mapping, which helps you generate more ideas in less time, make connections you wouldn’t otherwise make, and access more of your brain by creative doodling, color and imagery - while honing the analytical part of the brain in choosing and printing key words.
→Balance the body and the mind – learn to preserve one’s own health. Our life choices make the biggest difference to our wellness. Eat a healthy, wholesome diet, savor every meal, drink a little red wine in moderation (that was Da Vinci’s advice!), get regular exercise.
→Remember the importance of sleeping on a problem. If you try to solve everything with your immediate, cognitive thought process, it’s a strain. Your stress keeps you from being your most creative. The creativity comes when you use your brain as hard as you can, and then surrender – let go, take a break and sleep on it. You can rely on the incubation phase of the creative process. It doesn’t work if you haven’t been working intensively on an issue. The connections, the a-ha’s come to you at 4am or when you’re in the shower, when you’re relaxed, not afraid of embarrassment, when your brain shifts out of active beta waves into slower, more harmonious alpha or theta waves.
Then you have to write it down in your notebook and link it back to your active, cognitive, analytical brain so you can actually do something about it! Creativity is not just going off in the imagination – it’s got to be translated into something really practical. A balance between the relaxed and easy, and the focused, disciplined, critical mind is optimal.
→Take breaks, quit while you’re ahead, move your body, don’t burn out, play is not frivolous. We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play. Da Vinci said, “Men of genius sometimes work best when they work least.” Play is our birthright; we’ve just forgotten how to allow it to happen.
→Playing chess or bridge will help prevent dementia, as will learning a new language, a musical instrument, juggling. Learn something new for 15 minutes a day – the more challenging, the better. The worse you are at it, the more awkward and difficult it feels, the greater the benefits are for your brain. Doing something that stretches your capacity is the most valuable thing you can do to recruit new parts of your brain and improve your brain as you get older. As a child, you are told to learn new things. As an adult, you don’t have to do anything potentially embarrassing. The bad news is, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not do anything new. Iron rusts from disuse, and thus it is with the human mind. Keep it active, just like you would to build any muscle. Use it or it goes dormant. You do not lose it – you can revitalize and awaken it at any age. You need that challenge and that fun. With challenge, you have change, and that’s how you awaken all those new connections in the brain.
→Geniuses are people who are more connected to the greater mind, who know how to have access to it. Pay attention to the subtle nuances of your intuition to get access to your greater mind.
→Reading is so important – if someone has decades of experience and you can download it in a few days, that’s remarkable. Learn to speed read! (That’s Jim Kwik’s area.)
I love all this advice and I couldn’t agree with it more. I am happy that I have many of these practices in place, yet the reminders to reinforce them are stirring and inspirational.
I do know I want to add one of these suggestions, in particular, to my collection. Next up, I’m listening to Jim Kwik’s talk so I can learn how to speed read.
What do you want to do? Pick something, and then act on it!
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