The importance of keeping your mind sharp cannot be overstated. We’re all part of a fantastic intellectual and information economy, which thrives on ideas, creativity and intelligence. Keeping your mind sharp is sure to give you the edge over the competition, and more importantly lead to your own higher levels of happiness.
When your mind is in top shape, you will:
Have greater motivation and focus
Get more done
Come up with more creative ideas
Find inspiration more often
Experience a better life
I’d like to share a few practices I’ve found are extremely beneficial in keeping my mind sharp and can help you as well:
1) Continue reading, absorbing knowledge and experiencing culture
Sorry to use a clichéd quote, but education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. It should be something pleasurable and done for intrinsic reasons above all else. Read blogs on subjects both within your field and in new fields you know nothing about; read books; watch lectures on fascinating new subjects; read about ancient societies; take in a new form of art you’ve never experienced; you get the idea. Challenge your mind to continually broaden your horizon and soak up new information like an infinite sponge (that’s pretty much what it is, you should use it to do just that).
2) Learn a skill or craft you’ve never tried before like playing an instrument, composing music, painting, building a model airplane, or even coding computer programs.
Engage your mind in learning a new skill. You’re never too old to do this, but this is definitely something you should start as young as you can. I started composing my own music at around 17, and in retrospect I wish I had started even younger. You’d be surprised how much learning a new skill will open up many new paths in your mind and help you become even better at whatever you are already an expert at. You’ll also open yourself up to tons of new connections and intellectual social circles by engaging yourself in a new hobby, form of art, or trade.
3) To improve memory don’t write everything down
If you can, try this for a week: write down everything you need to do at the beginning of the week, as you normally would, but take your list and put it out of sight. Instead of keeping that list visible at your desk, internalize your projects and simply remember and know what needs to be done, prioritize it in your mind, and do it. Your brain is extremely powerful and you’ll find that, in time, you may not have to write anything down to remember everything (you can still keep a list for reference, but it’s great not to need it).
4) Give your mind time to assimilate knowledge
We live in a culture where we are constantly experiencing and learning new things and taking in new information. This is a great thing, I’m not going to go into the information overload spiel, I don’t really believe in that anyway (you are in total control over how much information you take in at once). But in your process of absorbing new skills, knowledge and life experiences; internal analysis of yourself, what you have learned and where you are going is vital to put everything in proper perspective. Some people do it well during running, others through listening to music, and some people through making art. Find your own place that allows you to assimilate all you have learned and frequent it often.
5) Eat well, sleep well and exercise often
Giving your mind the proper rest and energy is essential to getting the best performance out of it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but people often forget that you need proper fuel and proper rest to function optimally. Also, putting your physical body through the paces is a surefire way to rejuvenate yourself mentally. If you’re ever feeling stressed, out of inspiration, or depressed, a few days of nutritious food, good sleep and vigorous exercise will put you back to your full self soon enough.
Author: Adam Singer