Five excellent mind habits to develop
Want a more useful mind? Your mind is like a muscle, it can be trained to be stronger and more efficient. Here are some good ways to help you develop your brain into a better tool. I'm not saying they're easy, but they're definitely worthwhile.
Never let a word pass you by
From a university professor to a janitor, we all hear words that we don't understand. Building up a strong vocabulary is one of the best ways to increase your thinking power. Words are more than just symbols for objects, they often describe concepts. The more concepts we have available to us, the stronger our understanding of the world becomes.
An excellent habit to develop is to look up the meaning of any word you don't understand immediately that you hear or read it. Either invest in a good dictionary or use online dictionaries such as Google's define function. There are also books specifically written to improve your vocabulary.
Try doing everyday sums in your head
We live in a world dominated by numbers. They're everywhere - from prices to speed readings to medicine doses to the amount of memory in our computers. A high level of numeracy often equals a high level of success in many areas of life. You have opportunities every day to improve your numeracy by training your mind.
Next time you are presented with a simple math problem that needs solving, try solving it in your head. It may be how much each person has to pay splitting a bill at a restaurant, figuring out how much those six boxes of Cornflakes are going to cost you, or how many hours of overtime you'll have to work in order to buy that gift for your mother. Whatever it is, try to do the sum in your head.
If you are out of practice at this, you'll likely find it very difficult at first. Persist, and as with everything, you'll soon find it becomes easier.
Learn about something you wouldn't normally bother with
If you're into politics, pick up a magazine providing a point of view you don't subscribe to. If you've never had much interest in science, history, money matters, art, or literature, watch a television show about them. If there's something or someone you think is stupid, boring or not relevant to you, give that source another chance. Too many people expose themselves to the same old ideas again and again. It is the variety of ideas available in memory, rather than the opinion of those ideas, that makes a strong thinker.
Read non-fiction rather than fiction
Fiction is great. It's fun and entertaining, but generally it doesn't have much to teach us - or rather, it doesn't have anywhere near as much as non-fiction does. If you like to read to pass the time, pick up a non-fiction title. Many of them are more entertaining than you may expect.
Always be ready to question your own beliefs
Something unfortunate happens to us with each year we spend on this planet. We gradually become convinced of the correctness of our ideas. We become arrogant in other words. Make peace with the certain fact that there are a great number of things that you are wrong about. Rather than twisting the evidence to fit your theory - twist your theory to fit the evidence.
This habit can be one of the most difficult of all to develop, but it is also one of the most important.
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