So many of us are aware of the benefits of exercise (and it's not to lose weight). It is a multi-billion dollar industry. Hundreds of pounds/dollars are spent per person every year. All this to improve the way we want our body to be. It was Socrates who elegantly put it “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
However, all but the very elite 1% stand to gain back financially from this
Now compare this to how little we pay attention to improving our mental performance. But why should we?
From plumbers to presidents we all have to make decisions everyday that matter, some that shape our future. Our ability to react and respond to any information is controlled by the power of our own brain. Everyone can gain back what we invest into building our mental performance
Being smart is not about IQ. Being a member of MENSA does not give you much right for success over anyone else, just an ability to solve complex mathematical puzzles. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world said about investing “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ. If you have an IQ of 160, sell the other 30 to someone else”. Boasting about IQ is the replacement ego trip for those who cannot lift weights.
What is more important is keeping these brain functions at YOUR peak that include:
1. Reaction time
2. Decision making
3. Short term memory
4. Executive function
Change happens throughout our life. If your mind is not on top form, it will often be overwhelmed, like a stalled computer, and not make the choices you would want.
So how do I improve things, I've heard brain training games are good?
There has been some evidence behind this, but playing brain training games will just get your better at playing brain training games. Some mental impotence is due to lifestyle and can be easily corrected. Be conscious about your consciousness
The most important foundations for maintaining a sound mind are:
1. Sleep - will consolidate memory, and clears the brain of all waste
2. Hydration - dehydration will not only affect function but also brain structure!
4. Active learning
5. Stress reduction - having control of the above 4 can help with this. Increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, can otherwise make it an uphill battle.
Having facts and knowledge is great but it's mental masturbation unless you actually use it to benefit from. I read a lot but it is useless unless I use or am able to teach someone what I've learnt.
Creating habits is a key to successfully changing your regular patterns. Don't expect change if you can't initiate change.
Improving the executive functions of our brain frees us from the stress of not being at our best, and missing out on opportunities. Invest in your mind and you will reap the rewards. This is the ONE thing that will really make the difference for your life. Whatever you do you can't afford not to.
We go to the gym to get a stronger body. Work out your brain for peak performance. Who doesn't want to be awesome? :)