Making your mind your playground

domingo, 18 de novembro de 2007

40 ways to make your mind your playground

Sometimes I feel that my brain is lazy, maybe a little spoiled. While
I work hard to produce something and keep my schedule organized, my
brain keeps thinking what it wants, has no schedule and demands its quota of sugar. I
find this unacceptable! It has to work as hard as the rest of us and more - as my primary weapon against the challenges of the world - it must be flexible, prepared and fit. The idea is based on the concept that you really don’t need to take
notes of everything but instead use your brain as a sandbox.
Emphasizing some subjects will be helpful and you'll remember what really is important at the right time.

This is my list of things that my brain should be doing instead
of being bored in lines, supermarkets and useless presentations. Maybe
you can find something useful.

Keywords are imagination, creativity and flexibility.

01 - Create a memory palace.
This technique is described in Thomas Harris' Hannibal , where you create an imaginary building (based on a real one) in which each room or object is related to something you want to remember.
I tried it once and it worked fine but I need to practice it more.

Mind Palace

02 - Fill in and decorate your memory palace.
Adding more details can improve your palace and your memory too.

03 - Create a 100 items list.
Creating great lists can help you focus on what is important for you.
I tried this one once (see my previous article) and despite not using
any of its items directly, I’ve found it both fun and useful.

100 lists

04 - Create a frog list.
This idea is inspired by the concept Swallow that frog!
Collect things that need to be done but you really don’t want to do (this is the frog you have to swallow). Just remembering the items is already useful.
I have not tried this one yet but I must admit this is sorely needed. It will be my first frog.
Frogs concept

05 - Create a 10 list.Pick any relevant issue and create a list of 10 things that
you do to carry it out or in support of it.
E.g. Health: 1. Drink more water; 2. Exercise 60 minutes a day. 3. Use stairs instead of lifts, etc. I’m a fan of this technique.

06 - List good qualities of your friends.
Its always refreshing. I like this one.

07 - List good qualities of your enemies.
I hate this one.

08 - Create quality criteria for your tasks.
At least this makes it measurable. For example this article should have no fewer than 30 suggestions.

09 - Play with forms.
Imagine a square, then rotate it. Fill it with patterns, then fill
it with colors. Create a cube from it then a hypercube. Play with size, shape and
color. After that, play with sounds and smells. Try to feel them like it was real.
It looks like being fun.

10 - Play with body shapes.
Imagine a known face, then imagine it with a mustache, two noses, then
being fat, blonde, without a neck. Alternatively try to create a
chimera with parts of two or three people who you
It looks like being fun.

11- Create a marketing campaign to sell yourself.
Create your own brand. I will try hard on this one because it seems very useful to me.

12- Create a jingle for yourself. Make it unique and fun.

13 - Imagine yourself as a virus.
Inspired by Dawkin's concept of memetics:
How could you be present in the mind of other people as much as it would be possible?

14 - Visualize a perfect body for yourself. Imagine how it could be.

15 - Project a better human head.
This is from Edward De Bono. Experiment with different possibilities (instead of simply adding an extra eye).

16 - Create an aphorism.
Imagine yourself as Garfield. You can start with comparisons, e.g. "Life is like a nail: You
just want to nail it down, but quite often it nails you down."

17 - Write a poem or simply a rhyme.
Everyone has tried to write a poem once. Any one of us is at least a mediocre poet but this should not
prevent us from enjoying the process of creating poetry, or at least a witty phrase. You can even try to borrow some starters e.g.
"She walks in beauty as the night". Just don't publish your work!

18 - Invent new words. This is how Tolkien started.

19 - Meditate, soft focus.
Just pay close attention to your thoughts for a set period of time. Try to see your thoughts as someone else looking back at you. Do not make any judgements. This is harder than it seems.

20 - Meditate, hard focus. Take a concept and try to focus on it without interruption for a set period of
time. It is easier to start with a tangible, known example. The classic one is the rose.

21 - Describe the structure of a movie or a book. Separate the elements of a work of fiction that you know.
Who are the characters, what is the main plot, the secondary ones, etc. You can even propose an
alternate ending.

22 - Find improvements in your environment.
Better lighting, flow of people, security, etc. It would be useful if you could, implement this in your workspace.

23 - Imagine entries for your blog.
What would you like to write about?

24 - Take your first baby steps toward writing your next novel.
Start with the title. Mine will be The crimes of Dracula (awful, isn’t it?).

25 - Recall the 5 best moments in your life.
Inspired by the 1970 movie Tribes (a.k.a. The Soldier Who Declared
Peace). It could motivate you before you take on any annoying or challenging task.

26 - Recall as many details as possible the most beautiful image that you ever saw.
Make a mental picture and put it in your memory palace. How do you like it?

27 - Create a VISION for your next software product. If you don’t understand this one, either don't
bother or then read about RUP.

28 - List the main risks that you face right now. Create some prevention strategies.

29 - Start to imagine your personal legend.
Inspired by the cult Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. Be impartial even if you don’t like the author or the concept.
More information in
Personal Legend

30 - Create imaginary dialogues with extraordinary people.
Speak with Leonardo da Vinci about your problems.
Plato anyone?

31 - Imagine conversations without your participation.
What would be a conversation between Einstein, Buddha and Nietsche? What advice would Mark Twain
give Donald Duck about relationships?

32 - Feel your heart beating.
If you can’t, ask someone else. If he can't either, call a doctor.

33 - Be sad for five minutes. Setting the time you allow yourself to feel a negative emotion can be very useful, as I found
out myself.
If you are sad, angry or something else try to let it run for only 15 minutes, maximum. If
this is hard for you,] try to schedule a time for it. "I will became mad about this tomorrow between 9 and 10".
Nonsense? Well, being mad about something is not reasonable, to start with.

34 - Link three unrelated concepts.
Take some random words and link them into a single concept. Flex your creative muscles.

35 - Create a mind-virtual camera.
This was inspired by O.S. Card's Speaker for the Death.
Imagine that your brain is a movie camera and your eyes the lens. You
are able to record any fact and play it afterwards. Try to
remember things exactly as they were recorded. Alternatively,
you can imagine that you have a spy camera to spy on anything that interests you, it’s all in
your imagination, of course.
I never tried this one but I will for sure because it seems very fun.

36 Create stories about people you don’t know.
You may be able to create some characters for your next novel.

37 - Look at typefaces. Are they adequate? Do they convey the correct
idea, and are they synergetic with the product? Are the size, weight, color adequate to the
message? How can they be improved?

38 - If you play a strategic game (like chess), you can play it in your mind.

39 - Say a mantra. Mantras are repetitive words (or phrases) that are
meant to free your mind from thoughts, allowing you to
concentrate on your senses (this is obviously an oversimplification). The most famous one is "Om mani padme hum" but if
you aren't fond of Buddhism you can try Bene Gesserit's (from Frank Herbert's Dune) "The fear is the killer of the mind".
I find this technique useful and use it from time to time.

40 - Create new ways to make your brain your playground.
This is how I started.

You can see above the practical result of my effort. It took me:
- 1 hour to create the 100 list for my last post
- 1 hour to correct the list (thanks MMJr!)
- 30 minutes to create the first mind map (attached):
- 30 min to create the digital mind map (attached):
- 3 hours to write the article
- Some effort from my brain.

Your servant fier.

segunda-feira, 12 de novembro de 2007

100 list startup

One of the goals of this blog is to show how I implement some techniques. It will help me to improve and find errors I don't see at first sight. Naturally I created mindmaps about the development of this blog but now I have some tasks to do prior the implementation of them.

I found the 100 list technique here:

and will participate in this intersting project:

100 subjects for List group writing projects
1 chess - best books by subject
2 chess - how to build a library
3 chess - how to improve myself
4 books - the best books I read
5 books - why they are remarkable
6 techniques - which are the best
7 techniques - tools
8 techniques - GTD
9 techniques - improving GTD
10 techniques - how to remember things
11 techniques - how to become rich
12 techniques - how to get organized
13 techniques - how to organize at the right level
14 movies - how to get the maximum from a movie
15 language - tips to improve learning a foreign language
16 language - reasons to learn a foreign language
17 language - improving your thoughts through language
18 brain - how to improve your brain's performance
19 health - reasons to exercise when you don't like it
20 chess - reasons to play chess
21 moleskine - reasons to start one
22 writing - habits
23 writing - fun of caligraphy
24 net - ideas to use the internet as a tool
25 photos - why start a photolog
26 better me 2.3
27 how to be an efficective generalist
28 reasons to be a specialist
29 the path of the middle
30 how to search for aliens
31 how to see the world through the eyes of a child
32 lessons learned when making lists
33 reasons to read works of literature
34 outstanding books on performance
35 reasons to use paper instead of eletronic media
36 reasons to study calligraphy
37 reasons to make book summaries
38 reasons to praise your friends
39 reasons to meditate
40 reasons to write poetry
41 reasons to read a new book each week
42 reasons to nurture a personal network
43 reasons to create and maintain a blog
44 reasons to learn to draw
45 reasons to buy things
46 reasons to declutter
47 reasons to clutter up
48 ways to predict the future
49 ways to create a risk list
50 ways to explain things
51 ways to create a good mindmap
52 ways to make a plan
53 ways to differentiate plans from projects
54 best hacks
55 ways to approach someone you don't know
56 ways to keep a good sense of humour
57 reasons to keep good humour
58 how to go from reasons to do something to ways to do something
59 reasons to learn perspective
60 reasons to have a logo
61 reasons to start a journal
62 techniques to do your weekly review
63 ways to better use the technology you have
64 redemption: lessons from the steppenwolf
65 best low-costwines
66 funny things that I saw in Buenos Aires
67 best qualities in the best people I know
68 the best things I have ever done
69 the best things I did this year
70 how to turn around a bad situation
71 ways to use your imagination creatively
72 imagination x creativity x methodology
73 how to create your own brand
74 ow to please others without losing yourself
75 changing habits
76 the power of habit
77 how to use a mandala diary
78 how to use a dreams diary
79 using psychology for your own benefity
80 using happiness for your own benefit
81 how to develop patience
82 how to balance agility and calm
83 how to read a book
84 how to allocate your time
85 turn something mediocre into something outstanding
86 how to cook unusual dishes
87 how to plan your retirement
88 how to write a book
89 reasons to enjoy Mondays
90 reasons to have more free time
91 reasons to have discipline
92 ways to cultivate discipline
93 ways to get more from your drawings
94 ways to feel the correct timing
95 strategy of intuition
96 using your senses
97 ways to create positive imbalances
98 using the imbalances technique in your daily life
99 ways to avoid boredom
100 how to use your notebook

3. Next steps: analyze and prioritize. For now I like the technique.