In life, having just a small edge can make a super colossal difference. Many of us start our work day with an unmotivated, distracted, and foggy brain. We work all day only to realize we didn’t accomplish anything of true value.
This type of performance is the enemy of success. Imagine having a powerhouse in your head that can stay laser focused on the task at hand, effortlessly learn and recall important information, and confidently make critical decisions at the drop of a dime. What would that do for your success?
Let’s find out a few simple things we can do to make sure we are performing closer to our mental capacity.
Here are 5 simple things we can do to make sure we are performing closer to our mental capacity:
1. Sit down with a purpose
Before you start a task, find your why. Don’t just ask yourself what is it that you want to achieve; ask yourself why you want to get this done. Make it personal and try to stir up your emotions. And most importantly, be specific. Clarity diffuses resistance. When you have your purpose, keep it at the forefront of your mind. This will help motivate you to complete the task at hand. With motivation comes increased attention, comprehension, and retention.
“Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man.” –Bruce Lee
2. Stop multitasking the moment away
Attempting to multitask nullifies our concentration. Many people pride themselves at being a great multitasker when in reality, multitasking is an illusion. We may be able to do a bunch of things at the same time, but we can only truly focus on one thing at a time.
When we “multitask”, all we are really doing is rapidly switching back and forth. Your brain power takes a hit with each switch. Not to mention, it takes valuable time and energy to refocus. By constantly switching tasks, you are inadvertently training your brain to have attention deficit! If you find it hard to concentrate, all that multitasking “practice” is most likely your problem. When you zero in on one thing, all your brain power and resources converge.
3. No McD’s hotcakes for breakfast
Your memory plays possibly the largest role in optimal cognitive performance. Without being able to recall information and experiences, we can’t focus, solve problems, or make informed decisions. So what’s that got to do with pancakes? The hotcakes and sausage meal at McDonald’s has a whopping 4.1g trans fat! This is not only bad for your heart (which pumps blood and oxygen to your brain), but also your hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is involved in memory.
This area of the brain is very susceptive to cell damage. Trans fat causes oxidative stress and inflammation galore! The result is malfunctioning brain cells. Beginning your day with fast foods containing trans fat sets your brain up for failure. If you’re in a hurry, opt for some fruit high in antioxidants. This will have the opposite effect of trans fat on your brain.
4. Meditate to medicate
Practically every high achiever meditates. Meditation lowers the frequency of your brain waves. In regards to your cognitive performance, this means a much more calm, focused, creative, and intuitive brain. When you need to zone in on a task, or make a crucial decision, meditate for 20 minutes before hand. This will prime your brain and put it in the optimal state.
“Meditation is a legal, mind-altering, and non-addictive brain enhancer. It helps you to see clearer, further, wider.” –Karen Salmansohn
5. Release your mental pressure
One of the worst things for your brain is stress. A little stress isn’t always bad, because in some cases it is what keeps us from danger. However, humans are the only mammals that experience stress over thoughts, which leads to chronic stress. Chronic stress and the release of too much of the stress hormone cortisol literally alters our neural circuitry and causes cells to malfunction. These changes in the brain create a cycle of an on-edge feeling and reduced cognitive performance.
Stressful situations can’t always be avoided, but if you are feeling stressed after the fact, you need to find a release. This can be anything from working out to going shopping. Find something you enjoy and release your tension or else your brain power will suffer.
Your brain plays the most vital role in achieving success and a high quality of life. Gaining a cognitive edge can put daylight between you and your opposition – whether that be your competition, or your old self.