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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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Lessons From Candy Crush

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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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