Brain Training; training Your Powers for Observation

Brain Training; training Your Powers for Observation

No one is born with poor observation. As you grow up, you develop highly personal habits of awareness and observation. But how observant are you? If you are not so confident about it, you can opt for brain training which can develop your powers of observation. Observation is a very powerful intellectual skill and you will be surprised at how much it can improve your thinking.

Experience will likely reveal to you how you develop highly personal habits of awareness and observation. You choose to see and hear, touch and taste things, and you choose to ignore the others. Quite likely, you begin as a child to organize your daily life around those things you needed most, or were pleased by, or had an interest in. Those meaningful things enabled you to exercise your natural abilities for observing things. Normally, you pay attention to those things around you that are important, potentially rewarding, and teach yourself to observe them.

For the most part, you see what you are accustomed to seeing. You glimpse something, and you have immediate attention of whatever you have trained yourself to expect to see. Your powers of observation, over the years, are restricted to self-imposed limits, to a field of vision that is relevant to your personal and professional life. There are also cases wherein you are not prepared to be called into attention. When the unexpected happens, things could be a blur to you.

Whenever there is a dramatic story on the TV news- a violent crime, a fire, or natural disaster- you are likely to see an interview with a witness or a victim. "How do you feel?" the reporter asks. "Can you tell us what happened?" The answer rarely makes sense. The distraught victim may be in shock and is usually too confused to say anything coherent.

Then the same reporter interviews a fireman or a policeman who, with sirens wailing in the background, supplies a precise reconstruction of the tragedy without tears or emotion. The uniformed man is not cold or all-knowing. He is trained to make sense out of what seem to be chaotic events. You can train yourself to observe with detachment what others might recoil from in horror or disgust. Better yet, you can do great observation.

For a moment, think of something completely familiar- your wristwatch. Try to think about it attentively: Does it have a six on it? A Roman numeral VI? A dot? An empty space? If yours is a digital watch, how many lines are there in the number eight? Even if you answered correctly, chances are you had to double-check to make sure.

A good brain training would include tests and drills which are designed to get you in a habit of thinking by stages: observing, paying attention, organizing, remembering, and applying the methods of the training to improve your powers of observation. All these steps are part of the observation habit, like most habits, this can be one maintained only through exercise.

Training The Brain To Think Better Means Challenging It, and Giving It a Lot of Feedback

The science is now clear that the human brain responds to training exercises much like the muscles of the human body respond to pumping iron, running, or any kind of regular work-out routine. Muscles get toned and tighter – but the brain gets smarter.

Certainly, you can't lift weights with your brain! So how do we “exercise” the brain to make it function at a higher level, and keep it from degenerating into greater forgetfulness, foggy thinking and deceasing ability to solve tough problems?

Well, the brain has a lot of duties, such as regulating the organs of your body. It commands your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe, but mostly we think of the brain as something that "thinks". Just as a muscle "works" the brain's work is to "think". It only stands to reason, then, that the harder we make our brain think, the better shape it will get into for thinking.

One of the most obvious ways to exercise the brain is to challenge it with puzzles – crossword puzzles, math puzzles, memory games, and more. The harder and more challenging the better. The puzzle effect for brain training has been confirmed by studies at the University of Michigan, but also by a host of others.

Brain training exercises don't necessarily have to be puzzles, however. Simply choosing activities that challenge you to think intensely will bolster your brain.

Many of us remember how challenging it was to learn algebra in high school, for example, and then maybe onto trigonometry and calculus. A lot of people don't like that feeling. When you can't figure out how to do quadratic equations, you get frustrated, give up and “feel dumb.”

But most people give up way too soon. Even if you think you are terrible at math, trying hard and sticking to it will actually improve the way your brain functions and eventually -- slowly at first – you will start to get better at math because your brain can't help but respond to a vigorous work-out.

No average person is truly “average” – they just tend to give up too soon. They don't realize that training the brain vigorously will deliver results, as long as you stick with it.

Another way to train the brain may be more enjoyable for some because it's easy, and does not involve straining our minds with puzzles. What is it? This: Keep a daily diary.

Researcher Catherine Cox studied the habits of 300 geniuses. One activity common to just about all 300 was that they were obsessive journal keepers. Geniuses apparently love to write down their ideas so that they can “see their own thoughts” better. This in turn creates a positive feedback effect for the brain which helps it process and assimilate information more efficiently.

Of course, today's modern version of the diary or notebook is the blog. Starting a blog, writing down your thoughts, and sharing with your readers about what is going on in your life can be a terrific way to bolster the information-feedback effect that helps your think better. Blogging every day is almost certainly a great brain training activity.

Don't baby your brain. Make it think, make it learn, make it figure things out. Do a tough puzzle every day or blog or write down your thoughts every day. Your brain will get a great workout, and your mind will grow smarter and stay sharp.

Train the Brain to Improve Your Memory

When you learn something, you practice three skills: finding what you need to know, remembering what you find, and applying that information usefully and effectively. The experts assert that if you train your brain to improve your memory, then you will have accomplished 70% of the the learning activity.

Everyone who attends school, from first grade through college, is drilled over and over in the skills of finding and applying useful information. But without the middle skill- remembering- the other two are short-lived at best. However, most schools do not teach memory skills; they teach you to learn by rote memory- by routine drill- without you necessarily understanding or thinking about the text material. And so, very soon, you tend to forget.

Good memory is not a trick, nor does it require great intellectual resources. It does require systematic mental organization, that is, concentration on what you need to remember. The rest is practice, and the rewards- remembering people, places, and things that you always used to forget- are self-sustaining.

Through the centuries, some of the world's greatest thinkers and philosophers have tried to promote systems of memory improvement. No one system ever caught on; each one turned out to be too personal for general application. In this century neuroscience- experts of how the mind works- have shied away from complicated personal system in favor of simpler methods with everyday applications. You will learn these step-by-step methods through training.

Think about that for a moment. How can one say that he has learned something effectively if he cannot recall it when it is needed. This is true whether we are talking about a particular skill or a bit of knowledge or an entire procedure or a religion or a philosophy. True learning puts information, ideas, or systems of thought at one's fingertips, ready for immediate use when needed, ready for direct application, ready for explanation to others, in short, for whatever application is generally called for.

As a result, the process of learning can only be considered complete when you have stored in your memory the subject to be learned. It is for this reason that so much emphasis must be placed on training the memory, recalling tasks they must perform, in bringing to mind thoughts they seek to explain to others. The objective of memory training is to make complete the process of learning: finding, remembering, and applying knowledge.

Think about how effective your thinking and memory is. Besides recalling your telephone number- whenever you wish even though you may hardly use it- you also have stored within your memory an enormous number of other bits of information. But you cannot always remember everything you are sure you know.

Because your brain and memory is yours alone, it would profit you to train the brain to improve your memory and whatever needs improvement.


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