The Universal Workbench — Your Brain
Every living thing on this planet has a heart that beats, that is its sole function. Thus, if the heart stops, it’s curtains for the main actor. So the heart beats, bam-bam, and it does not stop until the last ounce of strength is used up. While the heart beats, our lungs breathe the air we need, our stomach digests the food we eat, our eyes see the world around us, our mouth speak our mind, our nose picks up scents and our brain processes — everything!
Mind the Mind
This is nothing special considering that every creature on this planet has a brain. However, there is a huge difference performance vise and to illustrate that clearly we have another word for the brain that describes it in a completely different way — the Mind. We Humans are beings with thoughts, and that separates Us from every other living creature on this planet. To attest to that we have our entire civilisation spanning from the Stone Age to today’s Information Age.
During that time our Minds adapted to process larger quantities of data, and are still changing as we move forward with no sign of stopping.
But these advances do not happen on their own. A huge amount of effort is invested in boosting our thinking machine and we should take every advantage we can get!
Employee of Your Life
Imagine landing a new job, and for the rest of your life, never taking a break from it. No sick days, no vacation, no weekend, and you often need to work overtime. Sound like a very ugly job, who would even consider working like that, right? Well, let me introduce to you the hardest worker you ever met, your Brain. He applied for the job ever since your company was founded and has been with you from day #1. He never stopped working, and is always humming in the background like a well tuned engine. And that is what the brain is, an astonishing biological and chemical engine. However, such a marvelous machine has to be “oiled up, and refueled“ from time to time. So, where do you find a mechanic for your brain? Still wondering? Well, that is easy, the mechanic is you!
Now that we have the mechanic on board, we need the right tools for the job, and a 3/8" drive socket together with your wrench just won’t cut it this time. You need a new set of tools, so let’s step inside the “mental hardware store”!
The First Tool Rack
Ever considered playing brain games? A research conducted by scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London stated: “Our paper shows that cognitive flexibility, a cornerstone of human intelligence, is not a static trait but can be trained and improved using fun learning tools like gaming.” The research also stated that cognitive flexibility is differently affected by the game’s genre -so if you did not play games before, starting from the basics would be easier for you.
The perfect app for beginners is My Party Quiz. A collection of 4 fundamental approaches to puzzle games with a familiar design. The game has been developed for both the iOS and Android. Don’t be shy and give and app or two a try, but note that one does not get fit with one push up, be a little more persistent in this exercise.
Massage That Ache
Rigid muscles slow us down and often cause searing pain, the same goes for the Brain. A verified method of relaxation is ambient music. Lay down some subtle acoustic or instrumental music for your Mind to enjoy. Soon you will pick up the rhythm of the song and sink in the ocean of serenity.
As a bonus, our Minds cannot resist a good pattern. So, as you are enjoying the calming noise, continue your work slowly. Soon you will adapt to process the information or to perform your current actions in sync with the song. Try and stay in the zone of focus for as long as you can. If your choice in music was spot on the slow dictating tempo will improve your workflow without you noticing.
Your environment has a great impact on your mental performance and you should take steps in personalizing your workspace. Here it really depends on what kind of person you are. A minimalistic approach can help you cut off distractions and in turn maximize your focus and performance. Keep your desk clean of any non work related subjects. On the other hand, you could take a different approach and turn your desk into an extension of yourself. Garnish it with memorabilia from your friends or keep a reminder of your family life to serve as a safe haven from stressful situations you may encounter in your work. The whole point is that you feel comfortable and in return your Mind will function more freely.
Till the Last Drop
If your goal is to achieve your best, you often end up using every resource you can muster. To that end, the same should apply for achieving your best with your mind and to aid you in that venture these tips were just the tip of the iceberg!