Our brain is the most powerful and complex organ and computer we will ever have access to in our lives.
While most of us never come close to maximizing our brain’s potential, we still have a lot of control over its health, its effectiveness, its capabilities, and keeping it stimulated enough to continue its growth.
Put simply, at the beginning of any idea, Thought is a consistent activity that ponders the entire spectrum of each concept. An idea starts in the mind.
It’s thus so incredibly imperative that you provide your mind with the best chance to succeed.
Why brain training will help your ideas
You may have many ideas, but lose steam for them for various reasons.
You fixate on one idea, but it becomes too complicated and overwhelming, and it fizzles away.
You don’t know where to begin.
You just don’t have the time.
Training your brain improves concentration, mental capacity, and problem solving.
Whatever ideas you have can be enhanced through learning, and constant attention to improving.
Diet and Health
The very first thing to consider is your health and diet. If you’re not supplying your body with the best quality food and oxygen you can, you’re detracting from your optimal capabilities.
Harvard University recommends physical exercise to increase your brain’s health and capacity. Even a daily walk is useful – and is particularly excellent at taking you away from slouching in front of the computer, consumed by stressful news and social media distractions.
If you don’t already, consider eating a lot more fruit and vegetables. Steamed and grilled foods instead of fried or deep fried. There is something to be said of the soulful and cleansing nature of pursuing a vegetarian diet.
Remember that processed foods, artificial flavours and social inebriates are rampant in chemicals that directly affect your brain.
Actively Train your Brain
I combine a mix of active and passive methods to keep my brain learning daily and stimulated.
For over a year I’ve been using the mobile brain training app, Elevate, to exercise my brain at least a few times every week. It’s an excellent use of 5-10 minutes each day, with miniature, compelling games in spelling, reading, writing, speaking and mathematics. They start easy, and ramp up in complexity.
Most days I do quite well, but on other days like after big hangovers, I’m noticeably a little slower. There is something to be said of playing these sorts of games, how you can feel your brain switch on and focus in short bursts at a time.
If you’re not good at mathematics or spelling, practicing will still exercise your brain, while improving your skills!
When I’m in front of my computer, or in transit, I frequently listen to my language audiobooks. This keeps my brain focused in the background while I attend to my necessary work tasks.
At the moment I’m learning the Russian language, which I’ve undertaken since May 2016. I’ve been studying along with the Michel Thomas method of language learning. While I work on my business, I listen to a language instructor coach a male and female student. There is no studying. No homework. You listen, formulate answers in your head, and continue with your day.
A couple of years ago I started learning Spanish through the same Michel Thomas method, and, as languages become easier to explore simply by practicing learning, I intend to learn Chinese, update my French, and look into one day mastering German, Italian and Portuguese.
Books are a huge tool as well. I generally have one book on the go. I’m currently reading Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking book, Understand Media: The Extensions of Man. It’s not an easy read.
Last year, I enjoyed Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design, that touches on simplifying huge lessons in quantum mechanics, quantum physics, and some of the biggest questions of the universe.
Challenging books ensure your brain has to work harder, and it’s really quite fine to read things you don’t quite understand.
If you want something more fun and inspirational to help with your ideas, check out the classic, The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which shows how your dreams can come true from an idea, some avid planning, and trusting yourself to delegate responsibilities elsewhere.
Ferriss even guides people on how you can read 3 books a week, no matter how busy you may think you are.
After an hour or two of daily lesson learning, I put music in the background while I’m working or traveling.
While I find it easy to work with consistent electronica and ambient sounds in the backdrop, lately I have returned to listening to beautiful classical music. There is something all so more intellectual about free flowing music that has so many parts composed to create a solid, unitary piece. My all time favourite is probably Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, but this week I’ve searched for classical playlists on Soundcloud.
This has a double purpose, as I am currently working on a film, its musical score, and a music album in general, and a big focus of the sonic side of my art involves a better understanding of orchestral compositions.
Even if I’m on the road, away from a computer, I constantly have a notebook and pen by myself, for ideas, for plans, for numbers, for sketches. I rarely ever go back through any of the hundreds of notebooks I have probably used up in my lifetime, but the transition of thought to physically imprint on paper is a powerful process.
Couple this with a place in nature, or with an inspiring view, and you have more and more control over relaxing your body and mind, and put yourself in the best position to succeed.
My favourite places to work are removed from city environments, lost in nature, preferably with a view and roar of the ocean.
My greatest creations come when I step away from the computer, and walk underneath the sky, the stars, the moon.
Believe in the Subconscious Mind
When we shut our minds off, be it a task, a project, or even to sleep for the night, our brains keep ticking along.
I increasingly believe in and rely on the power of the subconscious mind.
I intentionally stimulate my brain with all sorts of knowledge, lessons and influences, even if I can’t directly or immediately process them all. I will confront myself with challenges – or Life, itself, with pose a sudden dilemma – and I will set it aside, returning to my regular work and study.
If life throws you a problem, step back. You will find the answers, even if not right away.
You can apply this to your own projects by starting to explore something difficult, such as a language, or programming, or a mindset. Take in all the preliminary information, then take a break.
The next time you come to the task, you should find it comes a little bit easier.
Be Good To Your Brain
While our brains are so powerful for all our intensive human purposes, they can also, occasionally, be our biggest detriment.
How many times have we been talked out of opportunities, or given up on projects before they happen? Or suddenly depressed because of other people, or events happening in the world beyond our control?
It doesn’t make us really want to do much at all.
And that’s ok – it’s normal.
Keep up the steps to exercise, train, and relax your brain, and have projects you truly enjoy that you can turn to and immerse yourself in at any time.
Your constant dedication to yourself and your mind will bring you intrinsic and extrinsic riches, if not just for peace of mind.