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Published on November 14, 2017

Why Simple Wins in This Complicated World

Why Simple Wins in This Complicated World

There are two kinds of people in the world: simplifiers, and complicators.

Complicators, they seem blind or fearful of simple solutions. Everything they do, they do it in the most difficult and complex manner. From a distance, this looks like they thrive on challenges.

Simplifiers, on the other hand, are the opposite. They avoid complications of any kind. They can be mistaken for people who only do the minimum amount of work needed to get by.

The difference between these two kinds of people becomes obvious when they are required to write an essay or report. Even if they are writing about the exact same thing, the complicator will write far more than the simplifier. From a distance it will look like the complicator wrote the better piece, after all, its longer, and possibly more detailed.

    However, it needs to be asked, does more automatically mean better?

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    More + Complex = Better?

    It’s human nature to want more, we find interest in the difficult and complex. When we get more of something, we feel it is strangely worthwhile.

    Our technological progress focuses a lot on more. For decades a phone was something used to call people. Now our phones are web browsers, cameras, gaming devices… When we see something that has many different uses and functions, we assume it is better than similar items.

    For example, would you buy a pencil that is great for drawing and writing, and comes with no other features, or a pencil that comes with lots of other features?

      Most of us would go with the second option, even though in many ways its the inferior.

      Complexity Is Appealing but Not Practical

      Complexity might make something seem more attractive, but the complications may actually subtract from something rather than add. It doesn’t help to make something effective. But complexity is easy, simple can be difficult to achieve.

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      Edsger W. Dijkstra, one of the founding fathers of modern computer programming said,

      “Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.”

      Great pieces of work only emerge when you take things away from it. For example, the Declaration of Independence was heavily edited by Benjamin Franklin before he officially released it.

      The first line originally read: “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable…” 

      This is close to it, but there is something lacking. So Benjamin Franklin got rid of the last three words and replaced them with two.

      Soon it read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident”

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        The difference is immediate and striking in its precision.

        Simplicity Gets More Things Done

        If you begin to see the beauty and efficiency in simplicity, you’ll be clearer about the purpose of something and find problems less overwhelming.

        Think about that multi-feature pencil again, do we really need that many functions out of a pencil? No. What we truly need is a pencil that makes writing and drawing easy. It’s that simple.

          Simplifiers always look into seemingly complex problems, interpret them, break them into smaller parts and re-organize them.They are aware of unnecessary input of their work which may complicate anything. Their goal is to simplify a problem in order to be clear about the root cause of it and solve them in the simplest way, which saves cost and effort.

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          When you start to make things simple, you can improve your productivity and get closer to success. It all boils down to trimming away unnecessary weight and baggage from your life which slows you down.

          Make It Simple, but Significant

          So ask yourself: are you a simplifier or a complicator? If you think that you lean towards being a complicator, don’t worry, it’s not something permanent. It can be useful to go from a complicator to a simplifier. All you need to do is follow two core rules:

          1. A Clear Intention

          This might be obvious, but before you set out to do something, you should be 100% certain about exactly what it is you want to do. If there is any uncertainty, your lack of understanding will be manifested in useless extras and complications.

          2. Kill your Darlings

          The name of this comes from the great writer (and master simplifier) William Falkner. It boils down to this.

          If you’re working on something, and you do something great (perhaps write a fantastic sentence) in a project, and it doesn’t work with the rest, then you must get rid of it. Essentially, it doesn’t matter how you feel about something, if it doesn’t work with the core idea, you must get rid of it. Getting rid of bad stuff is easy, but it takes a pro to see great stuff and remove it for the greater good.

          Use this simple trick to decide what to keep and what to ditch: Must Have, Should Have, Good to Have. If it’s a must-have item, keep it; a should-have one, trim it; a good-to-have one only, consider deleting it.

          Simplification can massively increase your productivity, but this takes practice. If you want to learn more about simplifying, I recommend this article: How Being A Minimalist At Work Can Make You More Successful

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          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Published on June 18, 2018

          What Foods Have the Most Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Mental Strength

          What Foods Have the Most Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Mental Strength

          Your brain is the house your mind lives in. The brain is the most high-powered organ we have and requires the right amount and type of fuel to work properly. When we don’t give our brain the right fuel, it slows us down, dampers our focus, makes us more unhappy and unmotivated.

          If you want to maximize your brain power so as to increase your focus, think more clearly and live a happier and longer life, then pay attention because this article will give you the top nutrients you need to maximize your brain power and what foods to include in your diet in order to get them.

          Here are what your brain needs and where to get them:

          1. Omega-3’s

          Your brain is made up of 60% fat so if you want a healthy and optimally performing brain, you need to ensure you’re giving your brain the right building blocks and fat is one of the most important. Fat has been vilified over the years as being the big villain of health, but in reality, high-quality fat is not only good for you, it’s essential for your brain power and health.

          Some of the most important fat to give your brain are Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s such as DHA are the essential nutrients that form the outer layer our brain cells. In fact, not getting enough omega-3’s in your diet can affect normal brain development and cognition. It has also been shown to be implicated in premature brain aging and cognitive decline.[1]

          Getting healthy sources of omega-3’s from your diet is critical for optimal brain power.

          Best sources:

          Walnuts, chia seeds, sardines, salmon, flaxseed, eggs, fish oil

          2. Magnesium

          Magnesium is an essential mineral that is critical for brain activity and has been known to calm the brain and nervous system to the point it has been called “Nature’s Natural Valium.” Magnesium is essential for hundreds of metabolic processes within the body and brain yet it is still the second most common nutritional deficiency in the world.

          Magnesium helps the brain by:

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          • Providing antI-inflammatory benefits
          • Lowering stress hormones
          • Increasing neuroplasticity
          • Relaxing the nervous system
          • Helping to lift depression
          • Reducing anxiety

          Best sources:

          Almonds, spinach, cashews, avocado, black beans

          3. Vitamin B1: Thiamine

          Many B vitamins are known to be beneficial for brain health and well-being but for this article, let’s focus on some of the critical B vitamins.

          B1, also known as thiamine, is needed for a large number of metabolic processes in the body including the processes that manage your energy. Your brain uses tremendous amounts of energy throughout the day. Having low levels of thiamine can rob your brain of the vital energy that it needs.

          Thiamine can boost your mood, energy, and alertness by providing the energy your brain cells need to work effectively and keep their strength up.

          Low levels of thiamine have been associated with:

          • Nerve damage
          • Nerve inflammation
          • Fatigue
          • Loss of short-term memory
          • Confusion
          • Irritability

          Having enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential for optimal brain performance and health by providing your brain the energy is needs to get through the day.

          Best sources:

          Seaweed, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, lentils, black beans

          4. Vitamin B6

          Vitamin B6 is critical for helping to improve your mood to make you feel happier but is also important to combat mental fatigue. B6 is a critical component of building the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

          Serotonin is known as your happy neurotransmitter and is vitally important for improving your mood. Norepinephrine helps your brain stay focused and alert.

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          Symptoms of B6 deficiency include:

          • Irritability
          • Loss of focus and concentration
          • Fatigue
          • Memory trouble
          • Muscle pains

          Best sources:

          Grassfed beef, pistachios, tuna, turkey breast, avocado

          5. Vitamin B9

          Vitamin B9 is known as folate. Folate is especially important for normal brain development. Folate is an important component in creating many neurotransmitters that the brain uses to communicate and regulate our immune system. Folate is also a natural antioxidant and studies have shown that it can help preserve brain function and memory.[2]

          Low levels of folate can be detrimental to the brain. Low levels of folate have shown to lead to increased degeneration in the cerebral cortex as well as cognitive impairment and decline.[3]

          Symptoms of low levels of folate include:

          • Lowered immune function
          • Chronic fatigue
          • Increased irritability or anxiety
          • Brain fog

          Best sources:

          Spinach, beef liver, broccoli, asparagus, romaine lettuce.

          6. Vitamin B12

          B12 is essential for many aspects of our health and wellbeing including building strong bones, hair, skin, nails, immune system and heart health. B12 is also extremely important for your brain and mental wellbeing.[4]

          B12 is necessary for many aspects of mental performance including being able to memorize and stay focused. It also plays an important role in producing serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is your motivation and reward neurotransmitter.

          Having low levels of B12 can have some serious consequences including:[5]

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          • Brain fog
          • Memory loss
          • Depression[6]
          • Anxiety
          • Confusion
          • Depression
          • Hallucinations and Schizophrenia (severe cases)

          B12 is commonly found in many animal products and meats, so vegetarians and vegans should pay special attention to their B12 to make sure they are getting enough of it in their diet from plant sources or supplementation.

          Best sources:

          Beef liver, sardines, wild salmon, eggs, nutritional yeast

          7. Vitamin C

          Vitamin C is a very powerful and important antioxidant for your brain. Your brain consumes a lot of energy and oxygen in order to do its job. Antioxidants like Vitamin C protect the brain from the wear and tear of doing its job.

          Vitamin C is also needed to produce important neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are important regulators of your mood, so without Vitamin C to produce these important neurotransmitters, your mood may suffer.[7]

          Best sources:

          BroccolI, citrus fruits, bell peppers, watermelon, spinach

          8. Vitamin D

          The “sunshine” vitamin is arguably one of the most important vitamins that many people miss out on. Vitamin D is usually associated with bone health and heart health but it’s been shown in research that Vitamin D may play a critical role in your brain performance. Several studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can impair cognitive function and performance.[8]

          Fewer people are getting outside in the natural sunlight leading to more cases of vitamin D deficiency than ever before. The best part about Vitamin D is that you can get it for free or extremely cheap. Just a few minutes a day of natural sunlight can make a big difference in your Vitamin D levels.

          Best sources:

          Natural sunlight or find a Vitamin D supplement.

          9. Vitamin E

          Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are critical to help our bodies fight off oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a metabolic process that occurs in the body that wears and tears on our cells. Antioxidants fight against this wear and tear to keep our cells youthful and optimally functioning.

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          Vitamin E is an often overlooked vitamin for brain health. It prevents oxidative stress from damaging an important component of our brain cells, DHA. DHA forms the outer membrane of our brain cells and Vitamin E works to prevents oxidative stress from damaging our brain cells to keep our brain young, energetic and high-performing.[9]

          Symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency include:

          • Cognitive impairment
          • Diarrhea
          • Muscle weakness
          • Balance issues

          Best sources:

          Almonds, kale, Swiss chard, parsley, olives

          10. Zinc

          Zinc is essential for neuron growth and performance. The highest concentration of zinc is located in your brain, particularly in your hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in regulating your limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. Neurons require zinc in order to communicate effectively to one another.[10]

          Low levels of zinc are associated with:

          • Attention and focus problems
          • Lowered immune system
          • Acne or rashes
          • Diarrhea

          Best sources:

          Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, cashews, mushrooms, spinach

          Keep your brain sharp with brain power foods

          Your brain works hard and it takes plenty of nutrients and fuel to keep it working well. Getting the amount and type of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can make the difference in feeling energized or feeling sluggish throughout the day.

          How would you fuel a Ferrari? You wouldn’t put the cheap gas in a Ferrari. It’s a high-performance machine, so you need to put in high-octane fuel to ensure optimal performance.

          Eat a wide variety of foods that include a vast array of the top brain nutrients to ensure your brain is getting plenty of the resources it needs to work efficiently. If you want more brain power, make sure you give it brain power foods.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

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