Have you ever wondered why sometimes you feel lethargic, unmotivated, uninspired?
Do you find yourself lacking the drive to perform the tasks that you need to perform; and yet you know these very tasks are crucial to taking you to your goals; and ultimately to your purpose?
Most people equate success to wealth: how much money they earn – and keep. But success in life is much broader than just the mere accumulation of wealth.
True success not only leads to happiness, contentment and peace, it also leads to a life that is significant.
Money is important as it facilitates our mobility and advancement in life, but money by itself cannot buy happiness, peace or contentment.
And yet we have been ‘called’ to live a life of significance.
To attain significance, we must reach a level where we transcend ourselves and reach out to a higher purpose – a higher calling.
At this point it’s no longer about what is in it for us; but rather how we can make the universe a better place for others, besides us, to live in.
The strangest thing about most people who are ‘blessed’ to have a job is that they are stuck in a job they dislike, and which earns them money that cannot meet all their needs.
And because most jobs entail performance of repetitive tasks, there is a tendency for the part of the brain responsible for those tasks to go on autopilot. At this point we say we are ‘proficient’ in performing our jobs – we perform tasks effortlessly; and we are rewarded for it.
In reality, when we become ‘proficient’ in a particular area and don’t seek to grow in other areas, our brain goes to sleep.
Let me explain.
You may have heard people say that they can perform certain tasks with their ‘eyes closed’ or ‘without thinking’. The reason why this happens is because the repetitive nature of a particular task makes the brain to re-set itself into autopilot … and then hibernates as the processing goes on in the background.
It is said that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity; and although this perception has been questioned and in some cases disproved, it is clear that our brain has much more capacity than most people utilize. Its elastic nature also means that it can expand its capacity to help us process whatever information we need to process so as to attain our highest goals.
The more we use our brains, the more it expands its capacity. The converse is also true: the less we exercise it, the more its capacity shrinks.
Like a muscle, our brain too needs to be exercised; otherwise it shrinks into inactivity.
You will notice that as your brain becomes active, your body responds in equal measure. People whose brains are active are also the most productive.
The impact of social media on brain capacity
Repetitive tasks make the brain lethargic as it switches into auto-mode. The more we repeat certain tasks, the more addicted to them we become, and therefore the more likely we are to repeat them; often unconsciously.
At the core of most addictions is a brain that set itself on autopilot and then hibernated.
Take for instance the habit that so many have formed on social media. Because people love attention; they make it a habit of going online to visit sites that lavish this attention on them.
Behind the success of Facebook is a small word called ‘like’. People log on to Facebook to receive ‘likes’ and ‘love’ from others; and they revel in the notion that the more ‘likes’ they get, the more liked they are. As a result, they log on many times everyday to see who has ‘liked’ or ‘loved’ their most recent picture of themselves.
The problem with addiction to social media is that we usually go to the same sites; chat with the same people, and basically post more pictures showing a different angle of our ‘beautiful’ selves. While this is happening, our brain gets bored, inactive, and goes to sleep while leaving us to amuse ourselves.
How to make sure our mind is engaged and active
To prevent our brains from re-setting to auto-pilot, we need to do the following brain enhancing activities:
By reading I am not talking of only reading what others have posted on facebook or tweeted about. Read books and articles on various topics.
There are a lot wonderful brain enhancing blogs and books out there. At the very least discipline yourself to read at least one book every two weeks.
Nothing exercises our mind than the reading of a good book; or a well-written article on a subject that you may be interested in.
It is important to put our brains to work by letting our mind dwell on particular topics. For instance, every article on this website comes from times when I let my mind to focus on a particular thought.
You will be surprised how much you know when you let your mind dwell on a topic.
To think clearly, you need to be alert to everything around you. Don’t just look at things and let them pass without asking ‘why’. Our brain interprets the question ‘why’ as an invitation to start processing, or thinking.
Nothing exercises your mind more than writing. As I write, I get such a burst of inspiration and ideas that I never imagined I had.
You see, all the knowledge and information you have acquired over time is stored in the deep recesses of your brain. As you write, your brain lets you download this knowledge and information.
My best pieces of writing start out as just an idea; but these ideas do not just come up from thin air. They are informed by what I read, watch or listen to.
After you have accumulated knowledge and information; your brain takes that information and processes it to produce a masterpiece that others will marvel at.
And the beauty of it all is that we don’t just regurgitate what we read, watch or listen to. After our brains processes all the data and information we feed into it, it churns out original, unique content that is then uploaded into the universe as our compelling contribution to global knowledge. It’s no wonder then that no two people can write identical content.
Besides writing, speak your mind; literally.
While speaking to an audience, you don’t have the benefit of editing what has already come out of your mouth. Your brain understands this as well, and it will always come to your aid and help you think quickly on your feet.
That spontaneous speech you had not prepared for can end up being your best act. This is because your mind understands that you don’t have the luxury of editing your words; and so it comes out guns blazing to your aid.
If you do the above four things, your mind will become stronger, powerful, and resilient. Because you constantly engage it in creative work, it never goes on autopilot; it never freezes.