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Monday, January 31, 2011

Is your mind in good shape?

Yandamoori Collections

Opting for easy, habitual solutions will lull the brain into lethargy. Go on and challenge it to seek out unusual solutions and the mind will turn alert, attentive and agile

Take on students' test of nerves

WORKOUT: The brain too needs to be exercised to stay fit.  
Nature has given us everything, five senses (Jnanendriyas) to function and organs (Karmendriyas) to work, but it left the mind to our discretion. To develop a healthy mind, exercise all your mental muscles and be able to move it in different ways. It includes logical judgement, critical appraisal, analytical assessment, visual thinking and verbal communication.

Efficiency is the ratio between output and input. It deals with how much of your resources you put in to get the maximum yield.
It is different from `effectiveness', which normally deals with quality. It is the resolve to make exactly what you want to do, irrespective of the quantum of resources, energy and time. We have to balance between effectiveness and efficiency depending upon the nature of work. Regrettably we fail many times to determine where to be more effective and when to be more efficient. Tom Wujec, author of an outstanding book `Mental Fitness,' asks us to think why some minds are sharp, energetic and overflowing with creative ideas and some others less than dazzling? He gives two reasons: demands made by their way of living, and their mental habits.
People get mentally out of shape when they stop challenging the abnormal potentiality of the mind and intellect.
This happens when a person becomes mentally complacent and opts for quick, habitual solutions, confining himself to a small range of interests rather than purposeful thought.
The author gives an example of a highly professional computer engineer, who does an excellent job and is financially very sound but weak at organising his financial budget, managing his time or holding a good conversation or telling a funny story.
There are more than one million jokes, originally created by someone. Did you ever create a joke of your own? In the initial stages your mind declares it impossible but soon you get amazing ideas.
Train your mind in the sphere of creativity. There are four basic qualities that characterise a fit mind: cerebral strength, intellectual endurance, mental flexibility and emotional coordination.
Cerebral strength
Cerebral strength is the ability to work through complexity, sort out between difficult options, narrowing down to the nucleus and concentrating on it, till the result is achieved. Some students fail in this aspect. Instead of concentrating on the path, they search for escapist venues or prefer excuses. They call it `lack of concentration' and attribute it to external factors though the problem lies with them.
Intellectual endurance
Intellectual endurance is the staying power, the capacity to persist, without getting distracted. Take a single digit and three digit numbers of your choice ...say 8 and 556.

Without the help of a pen and paper, go on adding 7 to the first and deduct 7 from the later (15-549, 22-542 etc). At one point your brain does not cooperate, but don't stop. Take a few minutes' rest and start again. This is one way of developing intellectual endurance.
Mental flexibility
Mental flexibility includes finding new combinations and new possibilities. If somebody asks you how you cut a cake into eight pieces with just three cuts, its not possible to explain though you know that a `plus' (+) cut above the cake, followed by a horizontal slice solves the problem. 

Visual thinking does not play a role here, but verbal communication does. Split the cake into four parts with two cross cuts, place them one above the other and cut them vertically to make eight pieces. Mental flexibility is thus switching from one mode of thinking to another.
Emotional coordination
Emotional coordination deals with timing, balance and agility to work out things. It is like orchestrating our work with several things at a time. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. "Great minds have purposes and little minds have wishes," said Irving Washington. The choice is ours. 

Yandamoori Veerendranath 

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