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5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

The dictionary defines wisdom as the “state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action and having sagacity, discernment, or insight.” Wisdom is also knowledge of what is proper or reasonable, and is gained by having many experiences in life.

The famous King Solomon stated that wisdom is more profitable than silver, yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Solomon’s perspective of wisdom is my favorite.

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Why is wisdom desirable and so valuable? There definitely seems to be a positive correlation between wisdom and wealth, respect as well as fame.

How does one get wisdom? Can it be found in textbooks or taught in schools? Is it found in experiences or is it passed on? Gaining wisdom is a combination of all the above and a little bit more.

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Want to get more of this precious entity called wisdom? See these time tested and demonstrable principles of gaining more wisdom.

1. Desire and seek it

This is so obvious that it is often overlooked, but the first step to gaining wisdom is to desire it and see its high value. It is pretty much the same way as a merchant values fine pearls and seeks them out. Desire puts you in the state of mind that propels you to seek wisdom and therefore create an enabling environment for wisdom to thrive. Napoleon Hill rightly said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement. Not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” Desire therefore leads to the right action.

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2. Get out of the cave

In the Allegory of the Cave, wisdom is depicted by Plato as getting out of the cave and coming to see things as “they really are.” To gain wisdom, entrepreneurs and businesses must constantly step out of their world and study how people are behaving, and how they respond to various stimuli both in the business field and their personal lives. Observation in all its simplicity is only practiced consistently by a few.

3. Intentional thinking

The more we think, the smarter we get. There is a difference between thinking and worrying. Worrying dwells excessively on the problem and gets stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Thinking puts the problem and the solution on the same path. Deliberate thinking is single minded, highly focused and goal oriented. It is training the mind to put a particular subject or situation under rigorous mental scrutiny. Thinking for it be effective therefore needs to be deliberate and disciplined, with time set aside in our daily routine to just think. Of course, we all occasionally get those “A-ha” moments. However, deliberate thinking produces wisdom and leads to creativity. The more we make thinking a habit, the wiser we get. Edward de Bono said, “Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.”

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4. Be insanely curious.

This naturally follows from a habit of intentional thinking. Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but it is the fuel of great innovators and brand champions. Leonardo Da Vinci attributed most of his genius to his sense of curiosity. He often roamed the countryside, asking lots of questions and searching for answers to things he did not understand. “These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.” Curiosity leads you to asking why, which in turn leads to answers, produces great results and adds to wisdom. Apples have always been falling off trees. However it was only the great and insanely curious English scientist Isaac Newton in 1666 who asked why. Before then, no one had asked any questions. His curiosity and study led to the discovery of the now famous law of gravity.

5. Have a mission mindset & sense of purpose

Plato, the first Utopian thinker, wanted to reform society. He created a special school called the Academy with a singular purpose to create not celebrities but great thinkers and ‘guardians’ who would reform and transform society. Steve Jobs wanted to change the way the world used technology, and in the process make “a dent in the universe.” Bill Gates had a vision of putting a computer in every home. Ted Turner was laughed at when he first thought of an all-news TV channel. For such a tiny woman, Mother Teresa had a big vision to change the world, one person at a time, working with poorest of the poor. We all know about Martin Luther King who had a dream that one day.

We all applaud these individuals and credit them with great wisdom. When you have a mission bigger than yourself, a strong sense of purpose and an unflinching reformist agenda, your wisdom level increases. We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon,” said Konrad Adenauer.

Wisdom then is the deep inner knowing. Wisdom is made up of what we know and what we do not know and embracing the gaps in between. We can all grow in wisdom and, with wisdom, we can each create our own special place under the sky.

More by this author

Dr Phil Osagie

Writer & Public Relations Strategist

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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