Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brain Rules

This post is a second post for the week that commemorates Brain Awareness Week. The general message that I am promoting is that your brain is a tool that we must nurture and develop in order to learn and grow.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by Dr. John Medina is a very interesting and captivating book that presents 12 brain rules for optimizing your .... brain.

I found the book pretty amazing. For a book that is based on substantive scientific research, it is a good page-turner. For those who want the twenty minute overview, I'd encourage you to visit the Brain Rules website for a complete list of rules. Additionally, you can can view fairly comprehensive videos at his site and also on You Tube.

There were several take-aways that resonated with me from the book. Here are some examples:

Exercise benefits muscles and the brain - we know that exercise is good for our bodies. It is incredibly good for the brain. How much? Active people have half the risk of Alzheimer's disease compared to sedentary people. Let's keep up the exercise. I think the crunches will be a little easier with this new information.

Impossible Multitasking - I consider myself to be a great multitasker. At work, colleagues can send me a dozen issues and I can alternate between attention and division to get the the tasks handled. But the reality is that the brain simply cannot multitask. Watch the You Tube video with John's rant about cell phone use in cars.

The Power of Sleep and Naps - Our brains are very active during sleep and continue to develop and rehearse while sleeping. The essential message is that good sleep lead to good brains. Additionally, there is research that suggests that our brain has a period during the day where the benefits of a nap are profound; a nap zone. Research by NASA shows that a 25 minute nap increase pilot performance by 34%. Not a bad return return. How do we convince our employers? A good nap requires a least a cot.

Vision Wins - Brain Rules provides evidence that when it comes to impact, vision wins. Recognition and memory are aided significantly by visual cues in your presentations and documents. When I need to be persuasive, I need to add vision to my presentation.

We are curious explorers - Research with babies suggests that we are natural explorers. Give a baby an object and you will discover the a baby methodically looks to understand. Curiosity is an incredible motivator for learning, growth and problem solving.

Enjoy the book. It is highly recommended. Now it's time for me to exercise and then a nap.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly. Brain rules.

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