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7 Important Lessons You Won’t Learn From Reading

7 Important Lessons You Won’t Learn From Reading

It is the biggest paradox that I have ever faced, but I found the the most important lessons you can’t learn from reading in a book.

Couple of weeks ago I finished my book from Brian Tracy, No Excuses!: The Power of Self-discipline. There was a clear sentence that stated:

“…life is a test that shows what’s hiding inside of us. Wisdom is grasped by loneliness, learning, and thinking, but the character is built only by connection between people, when we are forced to choose between different opportunities and temptations.”

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1. Wisdom

I experienced a few months of loneliness, and this sentence felt like putting lens on a visually impaired person. It’s an overall statement that proves how the wisest people are the loneliest ones. Being around people all the time can build your character because of opportunities and temptations, but being wise takes time in solitude and makes you wonder and answer all types of questions on various subjects.

My loneliness made me wise. It made me think on various questions so deep that I found the core of the subject I was wondering about. Character, however, is something that can’t be built without the pressure of opportunities.

“The older the wiser” refers to the idea that older people spend more and more time alone, and thus discover rooted core answers to life’s big questions.

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2. Character

Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” It’s the “vacuum part” in the brain where we can’t upgrade it alone; we must build our character with support from people and by making choices.

Wisdom and character are both authentic. They take being alone and wise, and being around people and building character. Wisdom is between the lines—learning and thinking—and character is built by people, “The thing that can’t be learned by reading.

Character growth is the most important thing in the world. Our ability to gain the reputation of being a characteristic and authentic person is the biggest attainment in social and business life. Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

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3. Decisions

Our important features, the things that make us the way we are today, are the overall collection of all our previous choices and decisions. Every time we chose wisely and authentically, we strengthened our character and we became better people. It also states the opposite: whenever we compromised, whenever we took the easier way, or when we behaved in a way we knew was inappropriate, we weakened our character and we undermined ourselves.

4. Control the pressure.

Only when we are under pressure, when we need to decide on one possibility from many, to live in accordance with moral values or to comprise them—we present our real character. Emerson said, “Keep your loyalty like something sacred.” There is nothing as sacred as our intellectual loyalty.

5. The ability to choose.

We are the “organism that chose.” We choose all the time, one way or another. With every choice, we show our true values and priorities. In every particular moment, we give attention to the things that are more important and more valuable to us than the things that are less valuable.

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The only way to frame ourselves is to exert the will in every situation when we are tempting to do the things that are easy and currently useful, and not the things that are authentic and essential. It may be hard to push the boundaries to the level that we need to crack the wall of “easy and currently useful” but once we do it, it will throw a rock out of our soul and we are able to strive for authentic and essential things more and more.

It is like a habit. “The more we do it, the less we think about doing it.” Smoking cigarettes is bad example of it.

6. Learn the “street school.”

Authentic would be to go out and build the thing that can’t be read. It’s called the “street school.” Wisdom is inevitable, but wisdom alone is not worth anything without the things learned from people. Wisdom and “the street school” form a perfect creation of human kind. Such examples would be Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates.

7. Form the Virtues.

To seal the things that can’t be learned by reading, we must understand the virtues of one person: courage, compassion, generosity, moderation, persistence. Strengthen these virtues and become a man or woman of value.

Featured photo credit: Empty/Anthony via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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