mental_floss

The Genius Guide to Success | Article Review | Does Practice Makes Perfect?

mental_floss

I excitedly picked up my March/April copy of mental_floss today, lured in by what the titled promised; “The Genius Guide to Success.” 

I read through the pages, enjoying each tip, strategy and idea that came from top achieves in our society both, past and present. Then, found myself on page 36 where MF cited the idea of practicing and how it applies to successful execution. Some interesting things came out of this section of the article as it exposed the habits of top performers. I outline these below:


 

Glen Gould, pianist : Preferred to practice mentally. Believing that he performed best when he didn’t touch a piano for a month.

Slash, Guns N’ Roses guitarist : Practiced 12 hours a day while in high school. Doesn’t practice now.

Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter : Played 4-5 hours per day in high school.

Jonas Salk, scientist : Spent 16 hours researching the polio vaccine.

Nik Wallenda, tightrope walker : Practiced 3-4 hours a day before walking between two Chicago skyscrapers.

Eminem, rapper : Read the dictionary 2-3 hours every day in order to improve his vocabulary and rhyming skills.


After looking at all these practice habits by top performers, you may be wondering what the commonality is. Well, this secret is hidden in plain sight. The answer is not found in the amount of practice they sustained rather, what they practiced. They all zeroed in on the main skill or technique that would give them the edge. They focused in on the routine that worked best for sharpening their skills. Then, they refined it over and over and over again. Something else you may pull from this is the shift in perspective from practice as work, to practice as refinement. Essentially, that’s what you’re doing when you are rehearsing a key skill. You are refining it in order to embed quality habits so that the practitioner is able to call on these skills at a moments notice with a limited amount of risk.

In conclusion, we learn that top performers take sharpening key skills, seriously. They, as we should, look for the ONE skill that will give them the greatest benefit. Therein, allowing them to access this skill at any time under any amount of pressure. This makes them quick, efficient and the best. Ultimately, in order for this to work we need to clear the clutter that takes up a lot of our time and focus on the main skill that will leverage a competitive advantage. By doing this we can soon see ourselves among the greats in our society.
With Appreciation,

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The Top 4 Internet Locations to Devote Your Attention To On a Daily Basis — and Why

 

Are you one of those people that gets out of bed and hits the Facebook app on your phone to see who is posting pictures of the sunset or their breakfast tacos? I will admit; I have been victim of the glorious sunset, that greats us only once every day, picture Instagramming. But, I will be even more honest and say that the picture is only a representation of that gloriousness that I experienced in person, not near as amazing. What this does is begs us to reevaluate where we value our attention, especially online.

When you look, there is literally millions of websites, ebooks, videos and online workshops that we can take that will “better our lives” or influence us in some way. As this is an amazing feat that we have achieved as a species, we have not yet developed a method, or criterion, by which we gauge where we devote our time to amongst all these vast resources. That is a necessity in order to get the most out of the internet and, more importantly, out of our day.

1. WEBSITES

The websites we need to look at fall within three main categories only. They are: 1. Major local, national and worldwide news stories from independent sources. 2. Success/Growth oriented material from top experts. 3. Current information released by top experts in your field.

Regarding websites, this is actually the NEEDS versus the WANTS when it comes to online browsing.

2. SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking can work to your advantage if you keep in mind that social networking is very different than physical networking. You should take time to not brows the feeds and instead invest in reaching out to business partners, friends and family members. Take the time that you would normally spend investing your time in the agendas of others and invest in writing some thoughtful notes to people you want to stay in touch with.

3. EDUCATION

This is the best part — at least for me. You can quite literally learn just about anything you want to learn, either for free or for a reasonable fee. This is where I might get a little distracted, as I love to learn about everything and understand how it’s all connected. But these educational resources should only fall under one category; does what I’m learning help me in a way that I can make life better for myself and others? This is the purpose of education, no? For instance, most people would not need to buy a course on fundamental astrophysics just out of pure interest. Other things that fall under less complicated categories can catch our attention in which we want to be careful up. Ask the above question before you dive into any new course undertaking.

4. VIDEOS

Videos are another source of education, or at least should be. This is where the time goes when it comes to internet use. We get caught in the black hole that is the Youtube recommend section. Youtube has this amazing feature that consistently feeds you videos that directly relates to what you’ve watched in the past, enabling you to slip into this multi-10minute cycle spiraling vortex of lost time. Let’s become aware of this. The above question regarding education should apply here as well. Ask whether what you are watching is contributing a positive influence on your life. *Note: Our subconscious mind reacts and is influenced most by images. This makes videos, by far, one of the most important recourses to both take in and be careful of when navigating the inter web.

 

Remember,

“Live your inspiration, deliberately!”

Enagement with Music Can Reinforce the Immune System and Relieves Stress

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. music, music educationI have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

― Hunter S. Thompson

In a recent FloraTV pannel discussion, Esther Sternberg, M.D. disscussed the connection bewteen mind and body and emotional health. During her talk, Sternberg mentions directly that stress does not “create” sickness but enhances it, asserting that the flue bug is not created when we are in a stressful state. However, when we are stressed the reprocussions and developments of the illness are enhanced. Sternberg went on to state that stress has been link to pre-mature ageing(cell breakdown), perpatuation of cancerous cells and an array of other postcursurs once an illness has started in the human organism.

A, free, solution we should consider is music. In a study conducted by the Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan randomly assigned 116 pregnant women to a music group and 120 to a control group.

“The music group showed significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression after just two weeks, using three established measurement scales” says Professor Chung-Hey Chen, who is now based at the National Cheng Kung University.

“In comparison, the control group showed a much smaller reduction in stress, while their anxiety and depression scores showed little or no improvement.

“Women in the music group also expressed preferences for the type of music they listened to, with lullabies, nature and crystal sounds proving more popular than classical music.”

The results showed that:

  • Before they took part in the study, women in the music group scored 17.44 on the Perceived Stress Scale, which ranges from zero to 30. After the intervention their stress levels had dropped by an average of 2.15, which is statistically significant. Women in the control group reported a much smaller fall of 0.92.
  • Anxiety was measured by the State Scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, which ranges from 20 to 80. It fell by 2.13 from 37.92 in the music group and rose by 0.71 in the control group.
  • Depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale, which ranges from zero to 30. The music group reported an average level of 12.11 before the intervention and a reduction of 1.84 at the end of the two-week period. The score was almost constant in the control group, falling by an insignificant 0.03.
  • “Pregnancy is a unique and stressful period for many expectant mothers and they suffer anxiety and depression because of the long time period involved” says Professor Chen. “In fact, anxiety and depression during pregnancy is a similar health problem to postnatal depression.
  • “Any intervention that reduces these problems is to be welcomed. Our study shows that listening to suitable music provides a simple, cost-effective and non-invasive way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

Although the results of this study were conducted on woman that were pregnant, the results still hold merit as to the power of music to soothe and calm during stress. This actually solidifies the argument – pregnancy is perhaps one of the most stressful events the human body can encounter. Physical, psychological, hormonal and biochemical changes occur during pregnancy at a rapid rate. This causes a whirlwind of swift changes that result in stress in the aforementioned areas. Music can offer us a way to escape our current situation, allowing for there to be break in the stress and an easing of reality.

Research Shows Music Education Improves Individual Life

 

Shout if from the rooftops; MUSIC ENHANCES LIFE… Wait, is this something new? It seems that there a constant struggle for music validation amongst the mainstream music, music educationlifestyle. Interestingly, there is a current societal stigma that seems to suggest that music is something that should be learned “if you have time”. Three decades ago we resolved to incorporate music as part of family, community and neighborly involvement. At the early part of the 1990’s, with the technology boom, our focus seemed to shift to playing with the technology. Conclusively, it seems that are focus has completely enlisted in the perceived of other endeavors, leaving music to be an “extracurricular” activity.

In a comparative survey of nearly one thousand pupils across ten schools in Finland, Päivi-Sisko Eerola and Tuomas Eerola, doctoral students at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, measured and compared the quality of school life for students with and without extended music classes at Year 3 and Year 6 (ages 9 and 12 years old).

Their research uncovered significant differences between the two groups, with those who experienced longer music lessons rating the quality of school life higher in a majority of factors, particularly in areas related to general satisfaction about the school and a sense of achievement and opportunity for students.[1]

Self Cultivation is the Art of Business Growth

 

There is a common misconception that there are “hidden” steps that top corporations_MG_0307edit023 know that grow a business to it’s full potential. This misconception is rooted in the individual’s misguided focus on outside resource for the eventuality of business growth. Growth of a business comes from growth of a person. This is the real secret to business growth. The personal growth stimulates new neural pathways that allows you to access fresh avenues of idea making. This is a semeiotic-depended relationship in where when one side grows the other side is required to grow as well. We need to stretch in order for our businesses to stretch. Even better, there are always opportunities to grow each side of the equation.

Self Check-Up: If you are finding a plateau on either side, work on growing the opposite side from the side that seems to be stagnant. Amazing results await.

Are Video Games Killing Trees?

Children are subject to an increasing amount of stress due to rising academic demands, household issues and participation in multiple after school activities. Therefore, children tend to relieve the stress by divulging in video games and television programs that suspend their thinking, offering an escape from their current reality. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with the easing of stressors to aid in the restoration of mental faculties. However, this has been taken to an entirely new level with the installation of massive video game systems in the rooms of children as young as 5 years old. Due to the exclusion, children are beginning to develop disorders that are causing physical, psychological and emotional distress – often long term. In one story reported early last year, a child(age 7)urinated himself after playing twelve straight hours of video games, later being diagnosed with dehydration and malnutrition due to the extended period of time spent in front of the television without moving. A question here to pose is how this human behavior is affecting the world that is supplying the energy to keep those television images animated? Here are the findings by Richard Louv:

Nature deficit disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods[1] that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors [2] resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.[3][4] This disorder is not recognized in any of the medical manuals for mental disorders, such as the ICD-10[5] or the DSM-IV,[6] neither is it part of the DSM-5.[7] Evidence was compiled and reviewed in 2009. [8]

Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen.[9] Recent research has drawn a further contrast between the declining number of National Park visits in the United States and increasing consumption of electronic media by children.[10]

Richard Louv spent ten years traveling around the USA reporting and speaking to parents and children, in both rural and urban areas, about their experiences in nature. He argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally “scared children straight out of the woods and fields”, while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors “safe” regimented sports over imaginative play.

In recognising these trends, some people[11] argue that humans have an instinctive liking for nature—the biophilia hypothesis—and take steps to spend more time outdoors, for example in outdoor education, or by sending young children to forest kindergartens or forest schools. It is perhaps a coincidence that slow parenting advocates sending children into natural environments rather than keeping them indoors, as part of a hands-off approach.[12]

Nature is not only to be found in National Parks.[13] The chapter “Eden in a Vacant Lot” by Robert M. Pyle (page 305) emphasises the opportunity for exploration and fascination in small untended wildernesses, and rejoices in the 30,000 vacant lots in Detroit, arising due to downtown decay.

The diagnosis has been criticized as a misdiagnosis that obscures and mistreats the problem of how and why children do not spend enough time outdoors and in nature.[14]

The New York Times reported that the average young American now spends practically every minute — except for the time in school – using a smartphone, computer, television or electronic device,” Tamar Lewin reported in 2010, from a Kaiser Family Foundation study. This means that the time not spent outside is not just damaging the children, but also the environment. Without adequate understanding and respect for their natural environment, all components of the natural environment suffer. Due to the large amounts of time spend inside visually “hooked-up” to technology, there is a lack for understanding to what extent their actions have on the environment.

Take action today. Take a child outside to enjoy what nature freely offers to us in the form of organic entertainment. Nature isn’t as flashy as the the modern entertainment of today. However, if you close you will witness something spectacular. You will afford them health, wealth and long-lasting happiness. Arguably, something far more spectacular.

Exercising to Expand Your Mind

The importance of working out, even in a formal gym, is celebrated as an amazing investment one can participate in in order to condition the body and the mind. The mind is really what I’m concerned about in this particular post. Through physically challenging activitiesCAM00432-1 we experience many changes, bodily alterations is what we typically look for. However, as we progress we find that the real changes and challenges stem from our internal thoughts – our mind.

We deeply associate with our body, on every level. When the body becomes injured we say, “I am hurt”. Because we associate so deeply, sometimes it takes great pain or discomfort to have a shift in mental capacity. Even though this is completely possible, and inevitable, there is one final step in order to have a shift in mind set through physical excursion, that is; acceptance. We must accept the pain and therefore become fluid in the face of massive discomfort. This allows for massive alteration in the way we think. We are empowered with a release thereafter this pain is accepted and surpassed. Our mind toughens, focuses and clears. These are the rewards we receive for acknowledging one of the most basic components of human existence – pain. To think, we get rewarded for a simple recognition. Just think.