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Lessons From Candy Crush

Lessons From Candy Crush

I will admit the fact candy crush has impacted my life positively, and am now addicted to it that I cannot get through days of the week without playing a little Candy Crush. In my defense, it’s one of the simplest ways to make long subway rides in Manhattan bearable! The other day, though, I was quite amazed on what Candy Crush taught me about succeeding in business.

As I keep on playing the level, I noticed my mindset swing into the belief that I was going to win the round, and I eventually I did! As I thought about what happened, here are the business success tips that came into my mind as I played the game:

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1. Always formulate Goals.

The first thing is that each level of Candy Crush has a goal. You must do things like make striped candies, create color bombs, or drop fruit down to to the screen. You must have a goal to accomplish to move to the next level. Do you get that? As an entrepreneur, you need to formulate goals for yourself. And, when you might have achieved those goals, you get to move on to the next challenge that is ahead. That new challenge will help you to set new goals. Those new targets may have something in common with the old ones, or they may be entirely different. Always know which “game” you are playing, and the rules to win that game, and stay with them.

2. The focus is the Only Way to Success.

On some Candy Crush levels, as of this article, I am only on level 230. I have found this helpful as to how simple it is to make striped candies and color bombs, and I get caught up in seeking out these combinations or avoiding a bomb. Then, I realize I have gotten completely distracted from the goal of the level I’m on. In fact, I don’t need striped candies, or the bomb has more turns to explode than moves I have left in the round, so exploring them doesn’t matter to the goal. In your business, once you have set a goal, you need to focus on it. Activities you do on a daily basis need to align with that goal. You need to quickly call yourself out when you are doing anything that distracts you from that goal (unless, of course, you are taking a break to allow yourself to recharge).

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3. Believe You Can Succeed, and Don’t Quit.

I have played some levels of Candy Crush for what seems so long I go to the walkthrough cheats. Often, I learn that the strategy I am using is the right one; it’s just not paying off for me. I return to the level, frustrated, and wondering if I will be able to make it this time. If I have the mindset that the level is just not winnable, I usually lose. The other day, though, I stared at the game board, and I realized I CAN win. Candy crush. I just knew with absolute certainty that this was a challenge I was prepared to meet. It was uncanny; everything came into focus – the goal of the level, where I was on the success meter, and what I needed to do to meet the target. I mentally knew I was going to win, and I did! There was some logic, some luck, and a core belief in my capabilities.

All of these things are vital to your success as a business owner. First, the going gets tough. There will be days, as a “business-on-the-side” owner that you debate whether you will ever be able to do your business full time. Full-time business owners, you will have ups and downs, and in a down moment, you have to make the decision to stay in the game. All of this takes a strong belief in yourself.

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4. Accepting Help is OK.

Every day I turn the Candy Crush Booster Wheel and get an excellent treat I can use to make a level simpler or to help me win a level versus repeat it. I often talk myself out of using these boosters because I feel I should be able to do this by myself. It’s just a principle thing – like I’m saying I am less capable if I use one of these boosters. Well, what about your business? Just where are you turning down help? It could be due to cost, but make sure it’s not because you believe you have to do everything yourself. That’s just nonsense, and will guarantee failure, because there aren’t enough hours in a day for you to do it all yourself AND make money. Help is within your reach, and it’s OK to use it.

5. Believe in Abundance.

The other reason I have caught myself avoiding to use a booster is I might run out. Isn’t it ironic? Every day we get a new booster, and I’m worried that I’m going to run out. At any moment in our businesses, we may have a small financial crisis. If you look around, although, money could be everywhere. The fact that it is not in your bank account now does not mean it will not be there. You have to believe in the flow of money and that there is always more out there that you can attract.

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Featured photo credit: Game Revolution via media.gamerevolution.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

So, how do we remember?

The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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The last step is memory retrieval.

That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

I’m going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

1. MIND Diet

Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet.[2]

The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

2. Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory.[3]

In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

3. Sleep

You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password).[4]

Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance.[5]

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Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance.[6]

4. Relax

We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

5. Continuous Learning

The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games.[7]

Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

Try these 15 Ways to Cultivate Continuous Learning for a Sharper Brain.

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6. Stay Social

The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline.[8]

In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests.[9]

What to do?

Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

7. Wakeful Rest

This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories.[10]

What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story.

In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date.[11]

Bottom Line

You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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