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How old is your mind?
People often say that they are experiencing memory problems. And that they are concerned. But, they are eating broccoli and doing Sudoku puzzles...
Broccoli and Sudoku are unlikely to have a drastic affect on your mind.
Usually the problem with memory isn't actually memory itself, it is the expectation of what memory is and the actual functionality of your brain.
There are many books available nowadays that debunk common misconceptions regarding memories.
A lot of people describe so-called memories in tremendous detail. They provide elaborate information and even claim to feel the emotions of the event. Sadly, this is all fantasy.
Consider this: you go to the dentist and you have a cavity. The dentist drills into your tooth and fills it. The experience wasn't very pleasant.
A week passes by, a month, a year. You have reason to recall your visit to the dentist.
Are you genuinely expecting to re-experience the pain, the boredom, the anxiety? Is this what you think a memory is? Re-living the moment?
No. That is not how it works. You remember the event in much the same way that you remember a movie. And then you apply an emotion to that event. In hindsight.
News is irrelevant. In the
past twelve months you have probably consumed about 10,000 news snippets -
perhaps as many as 30 per day. Be very honest: name one of them, just one,
that helped you make a better decision - for your life, your career or your
business - compared with not having this piece of news. No one I have asked
has been able to name more than two useful news stories - out of 10,000. A
The main reason why people have memory problems is because they've filled their minds with junk.
TV, politics, gossip, current events, general knowledge, trivia, anxiety, worries, extrapolation, opinions, daydreaming. Most people are only semi-conscious. Usually their attention is divided.
Do your brain a favour
If you want your brain to work better, you need to stop doing things that interfere with brain health. This means shedding opinions and bad habits... Make lifestyle changes and embrace new ideas.
It may mean reducing commitments, switching off the TV, meditating, exercising every day...
Working the brain is the real key to success. A strong, pliable, flexible, adaptive brain is required for aging with dignity.
Brain work includes: meditation, awareness, clarity, composure, metacognition, constructive reading, memory and rest.
Get over yourself
Are we taking ourselves too seriously? Does it really matter what the other person thinks? Will you look back in a week and wonder why you felt so upset? Will you even remember the incident at all?
Modern society is filled with intense, terse, impatient, snappy people. Self-important and vain.
People like to think of themselves as being special. Well, we are all unique. But nobody is 'special'. After all, we can't all be special at the same time, can we?
When you listen to people speak, they often like to emphasise their significance. Their import. They matter. They are vital. They are crucial.
This is often couched in stories about how hard they work, how many commitments they have and how everyone relies upon them.
It can be tempting to think that the whole world revolves around you. That you are the centre of the universe. The nexus. This simply isn't true.
Most things that happen in the world are not about you and really have nothing to do with you.
Gaining a sense of perspective can radically shift your perceptions, expectations and goals. Your brain can relax and you feel much calmer.
A good way to keep your brain operating in a healthy, youthful manner is to learn new things. But not trivia.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most
intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Aim for depth
In any subject, the more comprehensive and detailed a person's 'mental representation' is, the greater their understanding.
A mental representation enables an individual to see how pieces of knowledge fit together. There is a framework.
Rather than amass random unrelated titbits of trivia, there is structure, context, meaning, purpose, connections and associations.
The person can see why things are done a certain way and what the goal is at a particular stage of development.
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18 April 2005
Last updated 14 March 2018