Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 5-year old son waiting for her at the door.
SON: 'Mummy, may I ask you a question?'
MUM: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the woman.
SON: 'Mummy, how much do you make an hour?'
MUM: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the woman said angrily.
SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?'
MUM: 'If you must know, I make RM 50 an hour.'
SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: 'Mummy, may I please borrow RM 25?'
The mother was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.'
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the woman had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that RM 25 and he really didn't ask for money very often . The woman went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.
'Are you asleep, son?' She asked.
'No Mummy, I'm awake,' replied the boy.
'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the woman. 'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the RM 25 you asked for.'
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you Mummy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.
The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.
'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' the mother grumbled.
'Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.
'Mummy, I have RM 50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.'
The mother was crushed. She put his arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.
It's just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that RM 50 worth of your time with someone you love.
If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.
1. 5 ways aren’t nearly enough
2. Nothing works for everyone
I whole heartedly agree with both of these statements.
One reader even went as far as posting his/her own 5 Ways in the Reddit comment thread. I thought they were so good that I wanted to share with everyone else.
Here they are:
1. Cultivate friendships with people who think differently. I enjoy talking to people who really challenge my conception of the world. Artists (I’m not one), medical staff (I’m not one), construction workers (I’m not one) and so on.
2. Get outside your own culture through travel, social gatherings, … Travel is great (but the hit on the environment is large, so…. do a few long trips rather than many short ones perhaps?) especially if you immerse locally. Going to Cuba and staying in a western hotel is not travel. Going backpacking in Nepal is. Doing voluntravel (going somewhere to help, e.g. Medicins Sans Frontiers) is ideal. But in any event the challenge to your sense of normalcy is fabulous. I spent a month in western China with my kids. Watching them take in the local environment and adapt was a real eye opener to how stuck-in-my-own-ways I’d become.
3. Learn that it is okay to turn off your cell phone and email. Reflective thought and deep reading take time. Oh excuse me, just got an email, be right back. Nope, that doesn’t work. Its okay to be unreachable for hours a day. I aim to answer email for an hour at the end of the day, at most. For many hours I’m unreachable except by family. Since I started that my time for thinking and reading has risen dramatically.
4. Do less better. There’s always another project that we rush to, never finishing the one we were doing. Sorry, great works of science and art take great dedication, polish, and repolish! Sure, we’re not all Darwin or Monet, but we should ASPIRE to be. Just say no to some projects. Focus on a few (make your family a project… for extra points!).
5. In all things seek balance. I agree that exercise is good. So is reading. So is relaxation – and if a bit of TV is what works, great. I for one watch old romantic comedy movies when I’m brain dead (well, okay, when I’m especially brain dead). I also enjoy blending my activities – go for a long walk that ends up at a coffee shop where I read a paper or book and stare out the window.
These 5 things are a great compliment to the original article, but there are still many more the haven’t been mentioned. I’d love to hear what works best for you.
What are your favorite ways to make the most of your intelligence? Share them in the comments.
February 15th, 2007 by Editor, Pick The Brain
Your brain needs exercise just like a muscle. If you use it often and in the right ways, you will become a more skilled thinker and increase your ability to focus. But if you never use your brain, or abuse it with harmful chemicals, your ability to think and learn will deteriorate.
Here are 5 simple ways anyone can squeeze a bit more productivity out of the old gray matter.
1. Minimize Television Watching – This is a hard sell. People love vegetating in front of the television, myself included more often than I’d like. The problem is watching television doesn’t use your mental capacity OR allow it to recharge. It’s like having the energy sapped out of a muscle without the health benefits of exercise.
Don’t you feel drained after a couple hours of TV? Your eyes are sore and tired from being focused on the light box for so long. You don’t even have the energy to read a book.
When you feel like relaxing, try reading a book instead. If you’re too tired, listen to some music. When you’re with your friends or family, leave the tube off and have a conversation. All of these things use your mind more than television and allow you to relax.
2. Exercise – I used to think that I’d learn more by not exercising and using the time to read a book instead. But I realized that time spent exercising always leads to greater learning because it improves productivity during the time afterwards. Using your body clears your head and creates a wave of energy. Afterwards, you feel invigorated and can concentrate more easily.
3. Read Challenging Books – Many people like to read popular suspense fiction, but generally these books aren’t mentally stimulating. If you want to improve your thinking and writing ability you should read books that make you focus. Reading a classic novel can change your view of the world and will make you think in more precise, elegant English. Don’t be afraid to look up a word if you don’t know it, and don’t be afraid of dense passages. Take your time, re-read when necessary, and you’ll soon grow accustomed to the author’s style.
Once you get used to reading challenging books, I think you’ll find that you aren’t tempted to go back to page-turners. The challenge of learning new ideas is far more exciting than any tacky suspense-thriller.
4. Early to Bed, Early to Rise – Nothing makes it harder to concentrate than sleep deprivation. You’ll be most rejuvenated if you go to bed early and don’t sleep more than 8 hours. If you stay up late and compensate by sleeping late, you’ll wake up lethargic and have trouble focusing. In my experience the early morning hours are the most tranquil and productive. Waking up early gives you more productive hours and maximizes your mental acuity all day.
If you have the opportunity, take 10-20 minute naps when you are hit with a wave of drowsiness. Anything longer will make you lethargic, but a short nap will refresh you.
5. Take Time to Reflect – Often our lives get so hectic that we become overwhelmed without even realizing it. It becomes difficult to concentrate because nagging thoughts keep interrupting. Spending some time alone in reflection gives you a chance organize your thoughts and prioritize your responsibilities. Afterwards, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s important and what isn’t. The unimportant stuff won’t bother you anymore and your mind will feel less encumbered.
I’m not saying you need to sit on the floor cross-legged and chant ‘ommm’. Anything that allows a bit of prolonged solitude will do. One of my personal favorites is taking a solitary walk. Someone famous said, “All the best ideas occur while walking.” I think he was on to something. Experiment to find the activity that works best for you.
Conclusion – I hope you aren’t disappointed that none of the techniques I’ve proposed are revolutionary. But simple, unexciting answers are often the most valid. The challenge is having the will to adhere to them. If you succeed in following these 5 tips, you’ll be rewarded with increased mental acuity and retention of knowledge.