How do you learn to think better
Anatomy of mind training
The strength of the mind manifests itself in exercise, not in peace.
Alexander Pop, the poet.
How do you assess your intelligence level?
HIGH: I have exceptional mental abilities. Just call me Leonardo.
MEDIA: From time to time I give out new ideas, and sometimes I even solve extremely difficult tasks.
Slowly: my head is some kind of bowler of porridge. I really need some training.
It doesn’t matter what category you put yourself in. Remember that the level of intelligence – that is, your ability to concentrate, to think logically, to create visual images, your imagination, your ability to make decisions, and finally, your ability to think clearly and creatively – depends largely on how often and intensively you train your mind. If you feel out of shape, do not lose your spirits: you can correct the situation by giving a load to the muscles of your mind. If you feel that your intellect is in excellent condition, do not forget to maintain this level with constant exercise. Even Olympic champions need training.
So, if you want to strengthen the muscles of your mind, first of all ask yourself the question: “How can I improve the performance of my brain?”
First of all, let’s get to know the different kinds– the muscles of thought. To do that, let’s do the following exercise.
“Running” for the mind.
Imagine holding an orange in your hands.
Imagine what it feels like, how it looks, how it smells.
For a few moments, try to create the brightest and clearest image possible.
Now imagine how you peel it, divide it into slices, bite it off a piece.
After that, take a closer look at the slice.
Ask yourself what it will look like if you increase it by a thousand, a million times.
What would the cage look like then?
What would the molecule look like?
In a few minutes, try to understand everything you know and don’t know about oranges.
Think about what makes an orange, why it tastes like an orange, how oranges have evolved, how and why you can use them and how to make a delicious orange marmalade.
When thinking about oranges, pay close attention to the ‘quality’ of your thoughts.
So, put the book aside and start doing the exercise right now.
Like most people, you will probably soon notice that the longer you think about an orange, the more ideas, associations, and connections arise in your mind.
You may think about the physical properties of oranges. You can move on to thinking about orange history and economics. You may want to talk about the origin of the fruit’s name and how it is called in other languages. Finally, you can try to find as many rhymes as possible with the word “orange” (kerosene, harpsichord). And as you move further along the path of associations, look into the money-box of your memory, build a chain of logical inferences, you move from one way of thinking to another, thus training different muscles of the mind.
At each type of thinking work their own, quite defined, “muscles”. Logical, analytical, metaphorical, critical, verbal, visual thinking – in each of these cases, we use only one type of thinking muscles, giving us the opportunity to shake up our inner world.
The need to cope with the variety of everyday problems requires us to be flexible in our thinking. You work in the sweat of your face on the “field” of critical thinking, launching a cold, hard logic, then relax, throw everything out of your mind and, playfully, explore new directions. You can work hard and move towards the goal slowly but surely, or you can, having juggled the initial data a little, in the blink of an eye come to an elegant solution to the problem. Just as different muscles in the body work together to ensure that the arms and legs work together, so too do the muscles in the mind need coordination to make our thinking clear and focused.
We can say that there are four basic characteristics of the level of training, readiness of the mind for work:
- Power of mind
- Flexibility of Mind
- Endurance of mind
- Mind Coordination
Whenever a person undertakes a task that requires concentration, he or she applies mental strength. It is this quality that you use when you search for the optimal solution, when you solve a difficult mathematical problem, when you reduce the balance on the checkbook, when you concentrate on one subject or idea without distracting yourself from anything else. The strength of mind is the ability to focus on what is needed and as much as necessary.
If you need to create something new, if you need creativity, then your thinking muscles must be flexible and plastic. Flexible mind is the ability to switch from one thought move to another. It’s like a game: you lose different options, build unexpected combinations, look at the situation from all sides. You confront concepts, mix ideas, make the most unimaginable assumptions to explore more and more possibilities. The flexibility of the mind is an artistic, synthetic approach. It’s creativity, brainstorming and a little bit of Zen – all together.
If you want to bring your ideas to life, you’ll need mental endurance. Endurance is the ability to maintain a high level of activity for a long time without distraction or loss of courage. It’s the ability to endure, to walk the whole distance.
If you want to add subtlety and flair, then you will need the coordination of the mind, that is, the synchronization of thought processes of all types, their balance and -life. Mind coordination is a virtuoso mastery of those–their arrangements of thoughts, the ability to operate several concepts simultaneously, keeping the balance under all circumstances, it is a desire to learn for the sake of obtaining new knowledge and readiness to fight for high ideals.
It is these four qualities – strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination – that determine how ready our mind is for work. Only by regularly alternating the tension and relaxation of his various muscles, intellectual shaping and mental athleticism, only by constantly “moving his brainworms” can we stay in good shape for a long time.
How a diamond cuts a diamond, how one settler polishes another,
as different parts of the intellect sharpen each other.
Genius is the result of their mutual influence.
Cyrus bartol, the priest.
How do people lose their intellectual form
Why is one person’s mind sharp, brilliant, full of creative ideas, and the other’s “slightly breathing”?
That is, there are two main reasons: the difference in the requirements that some or other circumstances, and the difference in the usual ways of thinking.
A stonemason does not need to go to the gym to train his hands. By stirring the mortar and laying bricks while working, he strengthens his arm muscles naturally. Similarly, an accountant does not need to go to school to practice arithmetic. He already works continuously with numbers, his “mathematical muscles” are constantly practicing.
If the circumstances of life do not require you to continuous mental stress, then you simply do not have the incentive to keep fit. However, if life often presents you with problems that need to be urgently addressed, then the muscles of your mind become strong and fast. The essence of this idea best reflects an old saying:
Apply or lose!
Ask yourself: “Which of my thinking muscles don’t get a daily load?”
Habit is a way of doing things without thinking. Whether we like it or not, our whole life, from the way we brush our teeth to the way we achieve strategic goals, depends largely on our personal automatic skill set. Basically, this is how it should be! Can you imagine what your life would become if you had to learn to brush again every day?!
Your whole intellectual life – your observations, what delays your attention, how well you learn, how you solve problems, what worries you, what you rejoice about, what you think about during the day – is largely determined by your habits.
The key to achieving high brain function is to develop a certain set of useful habits that help you achieve what you want. An intelligent person can control the work of his or her mind quite freely. He is interested in how the world works and why everything happens this way, not otherwise. He has a wide range of interests. He also knows how to change his habits through well-thought out, conscious action and develop very useful skills, such as making himself less dreamy and less time to build air locks, make more informed decisions or take more risks. Taken together, these useful habits allow the mind to become more receptive, to react adequately in changing conditions and, ultimately, to develop the most important habit of all – the habit of acquiring good habits.
If you sow a thought, you will reap an act,
You sow the deed, you reap the habit,
You sow the habit, you reap the character,
You sow character, you reap destiny.
Charles Reed, the writer.
Ask yourself: “What habits prevent me from thinking fruitfully?”
Good exercises for the intellect…
Solve the crossword puzzle.
Prepare for the exam.
Take part in a TV interview.
To improvise on stage.
To parse the difficult text.
Prepare an exquisite dinner.
Clearly present the face of a friend.
Try to remember with all the details when you last had ice cream.
Read by heart Shakespeare’s sonnet from end to beginning.
Name your first teachers by name.
Continue row 2, 4, 8, 16 as far as possible.
Learn a new language.
Convincing to lie.
Write a program on your computer.
Find out how the toaster works.
Write a realistic landscape.
Change a bad mood to a good one.
Reflect on infinity.
Compose a “documentary drama.”
Remember in detail an important conversation that took place a month ago.
Talk to your boss about a salary increase.
Keep it together.
Design an advanced mousetrap.
Convert the bedroom.
Ask a powerful person a question.
Write a philosophy essay.
Explain to a four-year-old child why the sky is blue.
Discuss the terms of the contract.
Bluff at poker.
Have fun with the computer game.
Search for the truth…
How do you achieve a good intellectual form? Mind training, like body training, involves movement. For the body movement is warm-up, running, swimming, basketball, weightlifting – everything that makes muscles contract and stretch.
For the mind, movement is the flight of thought – from supposition to conclusion, from problem to solution, from question to answer, from one state of mind to another.
Whenever you start to think actively, i.e. to manipulate intellectual resources consciously and purposefully, you immediately put the muscles of your mind in motion.
In a broad sense, the term “training” means an activity aimed at developing skills, improving themselves, developing their own abilities. Essentially, any activity that requires active attention – whether it’s solving a puzzle, solving a production problem or simply trying to gather thoughts while sitting in a chair – is mind training.
Not only what you do is important, but also how you do it – that is, the correct technique of the exercise is important. The gymnast repeats the movement over and over again, making small corrections until he achieves the desired result. Through training, the muscles of the gymnast become more obedient.
In order to develop your mind muscles, you must train your thinking. Work on a certain task in your mind until your “muscles” learn how to perform it properly.
Good mind gymnastics is a meeting with yourself, it is an opportunity to focus on your own inner world and challenge your intelligence. It is a way of transforming mental energy into constructive thought.
It is not so important whether you intend to work hard to achieve maximum thinking performance, or just want to stretch out a little so that your mind becomes more flexible. Either way, good old mind gymnastics will increase your creative potential, will give you the joy of achieving your goal and will contribute to the development of your intellect.
How to create your own personal gym
In the next twelve chapters, you will learn about many ways to train your brain. Each chapter is a kind of training machine designed to develop a certain quality of your mind. On some simulators, you will alternately apply the effort, and then relax, plunging into a serene calm; on others, you will have to muddy your mind “to the seventh sweat. Some exercises are designed to activate your left hemisphere – analytical, logical part of the brain, others – for the right hemisphere, intuitive part of the brain, also responsible for spatial perception. And all together, the simulators will provide you with a comprehensive intellectual training.
Exercise 1: The release of the mind. Warm up.
Exercise 2: The movement of the mind. Concentration of attention.
Exercise 3: Mind persistence. Increasing endurance.
Exercise 4: Mind gymnastics (I). Imaginative thinking.
Exercise 5: Mind gymnastics (II). Verbal thinking.
Exercise 6: Strength of mind. Problem solving.
Exercise 7: Mind game. Let’s fool around.
Exercise 8: Look at the past. Memory.
Exercise 9: Flexibility of the mind. Analysis and synthesis.
Exercise 10: Mind coordination. Decision making.
Exercise 11: Improvisation. Creativity.
Exercise 12: The highest productivity. Learn to learn.
Here are some tips to listen to before doing the exercises.
Change your thoughts into a “workout suit”. Let all problems and concerns remain in your wardrobe along with your street clothes. Create a working atmosphere for your training. Enjoy overcoming the challenges you have chosen for yourself.
Exercise, not analyze. The whole point of intellectual training is to knowingly manipulate mental resources – so exercise. The results will be directly proportional to your desire to strain your mind muscles. Remember, good training is the key to success.
Take your time. Take your time to do your exercises. It takes time to get to the deep layers of thinking. Be patient. Give yourself time to explore the possibilities of your intellect.
Repeat the exercises. Most of the exercises in this book can be repeated countless times at any convenient time. The development of your mental abilities is determined only by time and practice. Develop your own intellectual gymnastics procedure. If an exercise is not successful, take a break and return to it later.
Exercise as often as possible. The more stress you put on yourself, the easier your subsequent workouts become. The lighter your workouts become, the more you like them. The more you like them, the more often you exercise your mind. The more often you exercise your mind, the more developed it becomes.