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10 Ways To Optimize Your Brain Power

10 Ways To Optimize Your Brain Power

Just like your muscles will grow weak without exercise, your brain will lose power without stimulation. If you’d like to optimize your brain power for more productive days, here’s 10 ways to do it.

1. Dive into a book.

According to a study published in the journal Neurology, reading and writing could optimize your brain power. Carry a book with you everywhere you go for an escape from the daily grind. You could read a few chapters in a waiting room, grocery store line, traffic jam, or during your lunch break.

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2. Get a degree.

College is not necessary and doesn’t offer you much of an edge in the workforce since bachelor degrees have become the new normal, but there is no denying that many folks aren’t driven enough to study on their own. If you feel like you need accountability in the form of a wise professor, reading assignments, and a grade that determines your educational fate, college would be a good bet.

3. Explore new horizons.

The mind can grow stagnate without the occasional detour to a fresh topic of interest. Choose a historical era, musical instrument, language, craft, or hobby that fascinates you and get to work.

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4. Take time to breathe.

Go outside with a notebook, admire the rising sun, listen to the birds sing, and breathe deeply. Starting your day with a little big of meditation and nature will clear your thoughts so you can start your day strong.

5. Keep a blog or journal.

Putting your thoughts on paper will sharpen your ability to express yourself clearly. With practice, you will be able to make even the most dry of subjects interesting and the most difficult of concepts simple enough for anyone to understand.

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6. Be consistent.

Great minds are not built overnight: they are built slowly over many years through hard work and dedication. You will not become a master inventor or Jeopardy champion in a week, but you’ll get pretty close if you’re consistent.

7. Stretch yourself.

Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. If you stretch yourself, you could fall a bit short of your goal but you will reach greater heights than you would without a willingness to take risks. Contentment is your enemy. Never be satisfied.

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8. Seek inspiration.

Today you might feel inspired with a strong desire to optimize your brain power. But please be aware that inspiration is a fleeting thing. Just like you couldn’t drive your car across the country without stopping for gas, you can’t expect your brain to keep performing without an occasional shot of inspiration. What inspires you? There is no right or wrong answer. Do you learn best by hearing? Listen to a book on audio or podcast on your drive to and from work. Do you have to see it to “get” it? Watch a film or documentary about a topic that piques your curiosity. Is written word your preference? Throw a book or two in your purse, backpack, or the backseat of your car so you can dive into a book when life hands you the opportunity to get your learn on.

9. Know thyself.

Be mindful during the work day. Is there a certain time of day you are more focused, alert, or creative? Are there a few hours where you have a tough time finding interest in work? Find the answers to those questions and build your day in a way that maximizes productivity. For example, I do well if I can do creative things (like writing this article) early in the day. In the evening, I can’t seem to focus no matter what, so I save pleasure reading, leisure, and mindless tasks and chores for later in the day. Shuffle a few tasks around to get more done.

10. Question everything.

There are very few absolutes in life, so maintain a healthy dose of skepticism and never stop asking questions.

Do you have any additional tips you use to optimize your brain power? If so, please share them below. 

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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