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Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

As I grow older, I can’t help but notice how much truth there is in folklores. We tend to brush them off as ‘stuff old people say’. Let’s face it, if they’re still alive, they must know a thing or two about life. One folklore that was imprinted on my subconscious and emerged to the forefront later on is KISS. No not the 70s face painted rock band. My alcoholic, 11th grade chemistry teacher would say it everyday. Kiss stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. If you’re an average Joe like me, especially at the that age, you might misinterpret the proverb. Without having an opportunity to apply it I wasn’t able to grasp the true importance of the concept. After being battered by the waves of life, its definition became clear.

Preparation Is The Key

In today’s information overloaded world, making decisions can be a convoluted process. This often results in stress, anxiety and indecisiveness. We all know that life is a chess game but the victor must always be steps ahead of the competition while staying present. How is that even possible? A simple answer – preparation! Chance favors the prepared mind. Is your head spinning from folklores yet?

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So how exactly do we prepare for this superfluous information chess game of life which supposedly is also a marathon?

Life is a marathon as it is a chess game because all three require strategy. The sooner one stops being reactionary and starts thinking things through, the sooner the chess match evolves. At this point a PACE plan can provide a key technique to enduring aches and pains of the cross country run.

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Apply The KISS Technique

This particular KISS technique can be used in both personal and professional areas of your life. PACE stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. Pretty self explanatory right?

One can literally apply this system for almost every decision one makes. If you decide to visit a friend 30 miles away, you can take four possible routes: the most direct or efficient; an alternate route in case there’s an accident or traffic; contingency thorugh back roads if there happens to be an influx of drivers on the road and the first two options aren’t effective; and an emergency route that you hope you’ll never have to take because of the lengthy duration but guarantees a safe passage to the destination.

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Having a PACE plan reduces stress of overcoming adversity or unforeseen events. You already have a plan in place and only need to execute with some minor changes if necessary. Having simple systems in place is one of the key differences between successful people and well the other guys. They are rarely caught off guard and are seldom reactionary. This is why successful people rise to victory when faced with adverse circumstances. They are prepared so chance falls in their favor.

Similarly this is why a lot of small businesses stay small and others grow into big corporations. Instead of having to address mundane issues on a regular basis, leaders can focus on developing business and taking calculated risks by emplacing clear and simple systems.

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If you’ve ever worked in corporate America, then you know that there is a form or procedure for almost everything related to the business. That’s their insurance policy to keep the Is dotted and Ts crossed.

Having a PACE plan is a proven life saver. This is why it is one of the first techniques Green Berets learn during their qualification course. To be successful in corporate America one has to have a warrior’s mentality. It’s no coincidence as to why high ranking leaders of our Armed Forces take on senior roles in the corporate world. The two entities share uncanny resemblances in their structures. Corporate America made a carbon copy of the bureaucratic structure of the military with some changes and ‘civilian’ flair.

It’s not everyone’s goal to be corporate but implementing some of their strategies can definitely make you more present in the chess match. Knowing that, on every play, there are multiple options on the board that put you at an advantage regardless of what piece your opponent moves. It allows you to be steps ahead while remaining present and alert for any surprises.

Keep It Simple

For someone who has, on numerous occasions, almost lit me on fire with a bunsen burner, I would never have thought my chemistry teacher on her second mug of whiskey spiked coffee would enlighten me with such a gift. If she didn’t remind me to keep it simple then applying the PACE plan wouldn’t have had such an impact on my life. It opened my eyes to the realization that I needed to simplify more areas of my personal and professional life. Keeping it simple stupid by running the marathon on PACE can do the same for you.

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Life is a Marathon – A simple techique to keep on PACE.

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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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