Last month I had a pleasure of attending the lecture on Age Proofing your Mind by Tony Buzan himself – the author of countless books on mind mapping and a passionate discoverer of new abilities of human mind and new frontiers of its power.
It was a great lecture, and I enjoyed it a lot. I have heard about Tony before, and did read quite a few articles and posts on mind mapping. Finally, I really like the approach and use a software version of it for some of the creative processes of mine. But I’ve yet to read a single book by Tony, so it was great to hear all his most known sayings in person with vivid examples and explanations.
Studies prove that babies and kids up to 3-5 years are the most creative individuals among most of us, they are 95% creative in solutions and reactions to life. As we grow, our creativity somehow drops. By the time we are students graduating from a college, we’re only 25% creative on average, and most of the adult life we’re only 10% creative.
Now, this is what many people say is normal. But I really liked Tony’s point of view when he said: normal is not natural.
Naturally, human creativity only grows with age. It is true! If we look at our history and culture, there are countless examples of people who created most important and influential works of their lives in their last, not first, years. Da Vinci, Verde, many others- they all spent their lives perfecting their art and their mind, only feeling ready for their masterpieces by the age which most people consider to be a hard rock bottom of their creativity.
On human brain and our activity
A revelation for the audience was that on average we use less than 1% of our brain’s abilities. Tony asked everyone to guess the percentage and we all had a quick discussion about it. I was the most pessimistic of my group with 3-5% activity range. I must say, less than 1% was a shock even to me!
So why not spend a bit more? Why not use this amazing tool available to us – our mind?
We take for granted the common limitations like the degrading memory or inability to constantly come up with creative solutions to our challenges. But once again, this normal situation shouldn’t be considered natural: if we only spend some time developing our mind’s abilities, consciously concentrate on getting better at creative thinking and writing, our mind will flourish and keep amaze ourselves and everyone around us with incredible results.
What it takes to be a genius
Not much, really! We all are quite equal when it comes to out potential for becoming the next world-famous genius.
Here are the two distinctive ways to tell geniuses apart from everyone else:
1. A genius has great and big daydreams.
Think and plan to make it big, don’t limit your future achievements by agreeing with yourself what’s possible and what’s not in your current situation. Your brain follows the images it sees or gets through self-affirmations, so unless you have big daydreams and plan to produce something incredibly powerful and useful for as many people as possible, you won’t achieve much.
Humble thoughts will get you even more humble results, so prepare yourself for achievements of your lifetime by daydreaming something massively good.
Example: Thomas Alva Edison didn’t just dream of inventing a light bulb, instead he put all his knowledge and persistence together to invent a whole system of electric lighting to be used by all the mankind: light bulbs, electricity generators, electrical wiring and a range of sockets, plus much more. His vision of providing the light to everyone at any given time helped him make it through thousands of failed experiments before he finally made a breakthrough.
2. Genius works to make daydreams come true, to make them real
This is another thing not many of us pay attention to – it’s not enough to just have a vision, an idea which can potentially be useful. You have to be prepared to work on this idea, to make mistakes and face failures, to resist opinions of others and to persistently make progress towards your ultimate goal.
When you think about it, it does take a lot to be curious and unstoppable in a genius-like way – quite possibly, this is what makes some people successful and others unsuccessful – just their being faithful to their own daydreams!
Your brain needs a diet to stay active and healthy
If you want to make sure your brain stays active throughout all the years and increases its activity and potential instead of slowly degrading as you age, here’s some of the things you should include in your daily life:
- Plenty of oxygen – this essentially means regular exercise
- Sensory stimulation – be creative and re-discover your own senses – touch, smell, taste and see things as if you suddenly became a different, much more curious person
- Lifelong learning – never stop discovering new subjects and expanding your knowledge – even if something is not directly related to your career, pick a topic every year to read a book about or watch an educational TV series on
- Take plenty of rest – enough sleep, regular showers and relaxing physical activity when your mind gets distracted from its everyday worries – running is a great activity for this.
- Friendship and love – be friendly and kind to people; make new friends regularly and try to stay connected with all the generations and not only your own age group; fall in love and enjoy this wonderful experience
- Eat healthy food – nutrition is very important for your body and brain in particular
That’s it. Tony spoke of many more things which fascinated me, and I’m sure I’ll learn more as I read his works in the future (I’ve brought a book in mind-mapping which he signed for me during one of the breaks!), but these notes above is what I’ve taken home from that evening. Hope you enjoyed the article and will use some of the advice, I can see how even some of it can really make a long-lasting positive change in our lives.