Brain Byte: Put Your Smartphone Down and Look Around

Photo Credit: Meme Binge on Flickr

Photo Credit: Meme Binge on Flickr

My husband has not worn a watch in the 30 years that I have known him, yet he can tell you the time within minutes. He seems to have an innate sense of time. He can also drive me almost anywhere within our state without using a GPS. In fact, he says, “Turn that thing off!” If I enlist the help of the friendly Navigator App on my smartphone. He has a keen picture in his mind of where he is going; keeps his sense of direction and navigates more by his internal compass than actual road names. He knows if he goes about 20 miles east, 4 miles south, takes a turn west at the destination road, that he will soon arrive where he set out to be.

He is also aware of the environment around him: he watches the clouds, feels the air, and smells a storm a mile away. According to the “world’s smartest person” Marilyn Vos Savant in her book, Brain Building in Just 12 Weeks, my husband is doing the work of a genius.

Ms. Vos Savant suggests in Brain Builders #44 that we stop wearing a watch or looking at a clock for one week and instead start tuning into time. She points to the fact that animals have body clocks and so do humans. However, we are losing touch with our natural rhythms of time due to the reliance of technology and not using our brain as our time tool. Think about the migration of birds and the movement of certain fish, like salmon returning to the same spawning hole each year at the same time.

Think about what you are thinking about or NOT thinking about.  How much are you relying on technology?  How much of the time are you relying on your own built in senses and bio-computer?  The more you do the later, the smarter and more equipped you become to respond to your changing environment.  I am afraid it is true: “Smartphones are making us dumb.”

My Brain Byte challenge to you this week: Put down the Smartphone and look around! Now go out there and get smarter.

Does Study Affect Your Creativity?

Success favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur

Classroom with multicolor chairs

Where does creativity come from?  Some think it appears out of no where and some believe you are born creative.

Studies of highly creative people reveal that they nurture their creativity through a continuous quest for knowledge. Tony Buzan, one of the foremost creativity consultants in the world, defines creativity as ‘the degree of removal from the norm.’  Michael Gelb writes in Thinking for a Change that creativity is the result of a new combination of existing elements.  Combining these two ideas: to think outside the norm we must know more, coalesce the ideas, and produce new outcomes.

In conclusion, the more you know the more your capacity for creativity expands.

 

 

Your Stressed Brain and Learning

Rule #8 of John Medina’s Brain Rules: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.

Why?

Emotional stress causes us to lack focus and inhibits our ability to retain information. This impacts kids’ school work and employee’s productivity.

The body’s defense system releases adrenaline and cortisol in immediate response to a serious but passing danger, such as a oncoming car in your lane. If you are facing hostility at home or work on a regular basis or YOU are the one with raging anger daily – your body deregulates a system which was created to deal with short-term responses.  This becomes dangerous to your health.

Chronic stress produces adrenaline which creates scars in your blood vessels that can cause a heart attack or stroke, and cortisol damages the cells of the hippocampus, crippling your ability to learn and remember information that may be crucial to your success.

A Confidence Builder for Speakers and Writers – and a Giveaway!

Today, I am linking up with Cindy Bultema of Red Hot Faith to tell you about the great things that come from attending the Speak Up Conference.  Cindy and I are graduates of this fabulous conference and are both offering workshops there this July.

 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” II Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

Reflections on my experience at the Speak Up with Confidence Conference 2010

Wow!  What a weekend.  I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t prepared to be floating home, full of excitement and the energy transferred from the conference leaders.  And it was a large team of diverse and qualified leaders, from many areas of discipline.  I should note that prior to attending Speak Up, I had been blessed with a plethora of high quality training as an employee of an international corporation and professional trainer, myself. I worked in Leadership and Professional Development for several years. Yet, I found my investment of time and money into the Speak Up Conference, very worth while.

This team of worship leaders, teachers, and some former participants poured out their hearts and talents upon this room filled with eager (and some trembling) students.  And the expectations were high for those attending: to receive and apply what was being given.

I am a kinesthetic learner, so for me, the most valuable part of this conference was the ability to give several presentations and receive specific, immediate feedback.  I still have my Speak Up Evaluation forms!  And for my last and most memorable presentation, Carol Kent stepped in to listen and give me direct guidance.  She was encouraging and provided me specific feedback.

The conference is fast-paced and kept my attention well.  There is an option to take a break; or for those of us who like to take in as much as possible, to choose extra sessions.  I chose one that gave tips on professional appearance.  It was fun and fabulously fashionable (I know, cheesy).

Oh… and I met the most beautiful people.  I fell instantly in love with one woman, we became fast friends.  Although several states apart, we are still in touch today.

In 2010 the conference only focused on developing speakers, now the Speak Up Conference includes a writers track with options to meet publishers to pitch a book idea.

When the time comes to an end, you purpose to come back every year because it is so life-giving.  However, we all know God is the keeper of our time and our plans are not always His!  I was unable to attend in 2011-13, however, in 2014 I was invited to join the speaker team.  It was an equally rewarding experience to be a part of the conference team. I look forward to sharing Mind Mapping: A Whole Brain Tool for Writers and Speakers, once again this year.  I hope you will join us!

GIVEAWAY:  Carol Kent is making a generous offer of $100 off Speak Up Conference registration to one winner from among all the comments. To be entered for the chance to win simply add your comment below stating whether you prefer speaking or writing and if you are being called to one or both.  A winner will be randomly selected.

Extra Entries:

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Please be sure to leave me a comment to let me know your extra entries.

DETAILS: Starts today, Monday, May 4th and ends Monday, May 11th at 9 PM. Winner will be announced the week of May 12th.

Join our Blog Hop:

Cindy Bultema - She Sparkles

Cindy Bultema – She Sparkles

Brenda L Yoder, MA

Brenda L Yoder, MA

Radiant Learning

Radiant Learning

Amelia Rhodes

Amelia Rhodes

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Smart Everyday Strategies for Memory

Neocortical Neurons

Establish Routines: It is easy to find things if you put them in the same place each time, right?  The same is true with your thought life; the more you think or do the same process over again, the easier it is to remember to do it!

Write It: The repetition of writing what you are learning is a great way to help your brain have an additional physical record to recall the data in the future when you really need to bring it back to memory.

Say It Out Loud: Again, another method of repetition that aids your brain to deepen those memory traces for the future file location.  So for example, you have an item to return to a friend when you meet on Wednesday, say out loud, “I am putting Tammy’s essential oil bottle next to my keys for Wednesday.” Letting your ears register the information, increases your chance of calling up the info in time.

Do It: Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice does.  However, when you learn something begin applying that information immediately.  The movement is an additional sensory input and gives your brain better chances of recalling the new process when you go to do it again.

Use Imagination:  The Roman Room method or Number Rhyme System are great examples of using imagination for recall.  In general when you have an item to commit to memory look for a landmark to help you by associating the item visually to the physical landmark. In studies, these imaginary cues roved to e as effective as external cues.  Also, the more senses you add along with the item, the higher the likelihood of recall.

 

Brain Debates and Delusions – Food for Thought

Man considering himself is the great prodigy of nature. For he cannot conceive what his body is, even less what hisspirit is, and least of all how body can be united with spirit. That is the peak of his difficulty and yet is his very being. – Blaise Pascal

colorful brain clipart

The brain has been deliberated for hundreds of years. The physician Alkmeon of Kroton proposed that sensory information such as sight and sound were more earthly and occupied distinct brain areas.  Thoughts, however were spiritual in his book, so he decided they were part of the soul, and therefore, unable to locate in the physical body.

Plato said that the brain was supreme among the organs of the body, but thought that the lower, rounded part of the brain (medulla) was where God planted and enclosed the soul.

Aristotle thought the heart was the place to find the human soul and the brain was merely a type of radiator or “kettle” that either warmed or cooled the blood.

Today brain research is unravelling the mysteries of the brain.  Just thirty years ago we were able to first ‘see’ the way nerve cells communicated with each other. This is very fascinating to brain geeks, like me! In fact, I have a video tape of one of the very first brain cells captured electronically – yes on VHS. And thank you, Tony Buzan, for sharing it with me!].

I have tossed about food for your brain to ponder.  I challenge you to consider what you think and what you know about your brain and your soul.  Now, I challenge you to dig deeper.  Always seek the Word of God, in conjunction, with trusted research.  Anything that outright contradicts the Bible is false.  Trust me, the more you search scripture the more you will see the great depths of wisdom revealed about the science of our brains.  A few starting points for you: the work of Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf and the book used for this post: Blame It on the Brain? by Edward T. Welch.

Brain Byte: The Power of Belief

“The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.” Richard M. DeVos (Billionaire entrepreneur)

Have you ever heard of the classroom mixup where the Gifted and Talented students were assigned to the teacher who expected the Low Performers and the Low Performers were assigned to the Gifted & Talented teacher?  Although the students were different, the expectations of the unsuspecting teachers remained the same. Those who were expected to perform well – did, even though they did not have a past record of high performance.  The students who were expected to perform at par to sub-par, did so, in spite of the fact that they had been performing remarkably prior to this switch.

Belief has a powerful impact on performance.  

Where does your belief need to change and where is it working at it’s best?

How are your beliefs impacting the performance of others?

Where are your beliefs holding you back?

Brain Byte: Identify Your Motivator

Most of us need a little cause and effect; a little compelling reason to get up extra early and get moving ‘toward something.’

Write your goal for the day__________________________________.

Now identify your motivators so that you are sure to exceed your own expectations:

What motivates you to put in extra time and effort?

What motivates you to spend extra money?

What motivates you to learn?

What motivates you to work harder?

What motivates you to improve your relationship?

What motivates you to become better at _________ (reading, speaking, weight lifting, sport, your job, etc.)?

By accomplishing (GOAL), I will gain (RESULTS = potential Motivator).

Now, get up and get started!!

Power of Pictures

organized and free flowing brainImagination

The image-making capability of our brain is powerful.  When we hear a word, we do not see the letter in our mind’s eye; we see the image of what was spoken.  Often our brain does this so quickly, we forget this switch is taking place.

According to John Medina in Brain Rules vision trumps all senses.

Eye

By Laitr Keiows

Vision:

  • Takes up half our brain’s resources
  • We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoiken words.
  • “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Examples:

USA Today’s popularity over traditional word-dominated presses.

Today’s Smartphone application driven society.  Gaming, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and the list goes on of the push and pull of an image driven world.

Net Lesson:

When you want to communicate an important concept and/or you really need to drive an idea home – be CERTAIN to use images.

Communication feedback process

Brain Blooming

The best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas. – Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry)

Some will challenge this and say too many ideas can lead to junk. But how will you know that the last idea will not be the best?

Brain Bloom quickly and effectively by using a Mind Map to capture every idea while naturally ordering them with the hierarchy of the Map.  You will quickly see themes and be able to pick out the good from the bad in short order.

 

 

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