To be the Best you can Be, requires a deliberate undertaking of a series of optimization projects. One month could be let’s optimize my health, the next, let’s work on my income and so on, until your visualized ideal you, aligns with your present you.
Today, let’s make you SMARTER, FASTER!
How to get Smarter, Faster!
- Read, Read, Read
- Model an Expert
- Repetition, Repetition, Spaced Repetition
- Focus in 20-30min chunks, do not Multitask
- Food ‘for’ & ‘against’ the optimal brain
- Sleep & Meditation
1. READ, READ, READ
I can’t stress this enough.
Read fiction and non-fiction, read the paper, read magazines, read the adverts and safety signs when you are sat on the bus, read the back of your rail tickets that you probably carry with you every day and most likely have never read.
You will be surprised how quickly your knowledge expands. Whilst your friends listen to their favourite tunes, get sucked into that addictive game app or spend hours watching mindless TV (I’ve stressed mindless because of course, there are educational documentaries and movies available). Who would have thought that one page of How Money Works: The Facts Visually Explained would have you knowing exactly what your loan agreement means when the bank’s financial adviser tries to bamboozle you with financial jargon #You’ve got their number.
Of course a lot of the information may not be relevant, however, there is ample scientific evidence that proves that the mere act of reading can increase brain function.
2. MODEL AN EXPERT
Save yourself time and energy by learning from someone with experience and knowledge in the field. This can be a company as well as an individual.
For example, if your dying wish is to be a super investor, you may want to read Warren Buffets book on investing Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing – A Book of Practical Counsel or similarly, you may want to know how to be the healthiest you can be, you would no doubt check out Patrick Holford’s ( pioneer in new approaches to health and nutrition, leading spokesman on nutrition in the media and author of over 36 books specialising in health) The Optimum Nutrition Bible: The Book You Have To Read If Your Care About Your Health: The Book You Have to Read If You Care About Your Health.
So, before you reinvent the wheel, research those before you who have made mistakes and mastered the game.
3. REPETITION, REPETITION, SPACED REPETITION
We all know that whilst cramming does allow you to obtain information, retention rates are low. Learning should be continuous to cement that knowledge.
However, whilst, we are all familiar with the statement ‘practice makes perfect’, few people are aware that, the spacing of that practice, also affects retention.
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus explored spaced repetition (aka distributed practice), his findings theorized the ‘Forgetting curve’. Once we learn something, it’s only a matter of time, before we forget it….
unless, we revisit that information, over and over and over again, each time renewing the optimal retention percentage.
*Thank you ‘Heil Ze Blog’ for this image.
4. FOCUS IN 20-30MIN CHUNKS, DO NOT MULTITASK
Research shows that multitasking lowers IQ, shrinks the gray matter, and lowers productivity by 40%.
Your brain on Multiple tasks – The prefrontal cortex of the brain helps keep your attention on a single goal. Working on a single task means both sides of the prefrontal cortex are working together in harmony. Adding another task forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently.
Scientists at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in Paris discovered this when they asked study participants to complete two tasks at the same time while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The results showed that the brain splits in half and causes us to forget details and make three times more mistakes when given two simultaneous goals.
*Rather than multitask, split your tasks into 20-30 minute chunks.
5. FOOD ‘FOR & ‘AGAINST’ THE OPTIMAL BRAIN
The starting point for tuning up your brain is to follow an optimum nutrition diet and take daily supplements. Here are the ten golden rules to follow to make sure your diet is maximising your mental health.
1. Eat wholefoods – wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables – and avoid refined, white and overcooked foods.
2. Avoid any form of sugar – in biscuits, cakes, confectionery and also foods with added sugar in the forms of syrups, dextrose and maltose.
3. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily – choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans or peppers, all raw or lightly cooked. Choose fresh fruit such as apples, pears, berries, plums, melon or citrus fruit. Have bananas, grapes and potatoes in moderation only (they contain a lot of natural sugar). Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruits infrequently in small quantities, preferably soaked.
4. Eat four or more servings of wholegrains daily – such as rice, millet, rye, oats, wholewheat, corn or quinoa as cereal, breads and pasta.
5. Combine protein foods with carbohydrate foods by eating wholegrain cereals and fruit with raw, unsalted nuts or seeds, and ensuring you eat starchy foods (potatoes, bread, pasta or rice) with protein-rich fish, lentils, beans, eggs or tofu. If eating animal protein, choose lean, white meat or preferably fish, organic whenever possible.
6. Eat eggs – preferably free-range, organic and high in omega-3s. Aim for about 3-5 a week.
7. Eat cold-water carnivorous fish. A serving of herring, mackerel, salmon or trout two or three times a week provides a good source of omega-3 fats and protein.
8. Eat raw, unsalted seeds and nuts. The best seeds are flax (or linseed), hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. You get more goodness out of them by grinding them first and sprinkling on cereal, soups and salads.
9. Use cold-pressed seed oils. Choose an oil blend containing flaxseed oil or hemp oil for salad dressings and cold uses, such as drizzling on vegetables instead of butter. Don’t cook with these oils as their fats are easily damaged by heat.
10. Minimise your intake of fried food, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy to prevent damage to brain fats.
*If you are vegan, you can replace points 6 & 7 by obtaining your Omega 3’s from soy, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds and their oil, hempseed oil, camelina oil, and chia seed oil.
6. SLEEP & MEDITATION
After a memory is formed, it is not fully cemented in your brain, when you sleep, the brain has to do some work to stabilize that information, and it appears to do most of it whilst you sleep shuffling it from one ‘temporary filing system’ into another ‘permanent system’.
If you have a hectic lifestyle where sleep has been reduced, you may benefit from supplementing your sleep with Meditation.
If your brain is too tired, this fatigue will affect your attention levels and how much information you can absorb. Meditation allows you to temporarily decrease responsiveness to external stimuli, allowing your body and mind to relax and regain energy.