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Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Brain Fitness
by On December 1, 2009

brain_exerciseYesterday, Roger Seip wrote about training your brain to make that muscle stronger.  For today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday, we offer 10 ways you can improve your brain’s fitness. 

Be Free!
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Brain fitness has basic principles: variety and curiosity. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. If you can do the crossword puzzle in your sleep, it’s time for you to move on to a new challenge in order to get the best workout for your brain.

Curiosity about the world around you, how it works and how you can understand it will keep your brain working fast and efficiently. Use the ideas below to help attain your quest for mental fitness.

  1. Play Games
    Brain fitness programs and games are a wonderful way to tease and challenge your brain. Suduko, crosswords and electronic games can all improve your brain’s speed and memory. These games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. These games are also fun. You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day — spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.
  2. Meditation
    Daily meditation is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your mind/body health. Meditation not only relaxes you, it gives your brain a workout. By creating a different mental state, you engage your brain in new and interesting ways while increasing your brain fitness.
  3. Eat for Your Brain
    Your brain needs you to eat healthy fats. Focus on fish oils from wild salmon, nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as flax seed and olive oil. Eat more of these foods and less saturated fats. Eliminate transfats completely from your diet.
  4. Tell Good Stories
    Stories are a way that we solidify memories, interpret events and share moments. Practice telling your stories, both new and old, so that they are interesting, compelling and fun. Some basic storytelling techniques will go a long way in keeping people’s interest both in you and in what you have to say.
  5. Turn Off Your Television
    The average person watches more than 4 hours of television everyday. Television can stand in the way of relationships, life and more. Turn off your TV and spend more time living and exercising your mind and body.
  6. Exercise Your Body To Exercise Your Brain
    Physical exercise is great brain exercise too. By moving your body, your brain has to learn new muscle skills, estimate distance and practice balance. Choose a variety of exercises to challenge your brain.
  7. Read Something Different
    Books are portable, free from libraries and filled with infinite interesting characters, information and facts. Branch out from familiar reading topics. If you usually read history books, try a contemporary novel. Read foreign authors, the classics and random books. Not only will your brain get a workout by imagining different time periods, cultures and peoples, you will also have interesting stories to tell about your reading, what it makes you think of and the connections you draw between modern life and the words.
  8. Learn a New Skill
    Learning a new skill works multiple areas of the brain. Your memory comes into play, you learn new movements and you associate things differently. Reading Shakespeare, learning to cook and building an airplane out of toothpicks all will challenge your brain and give you something to think about.
  9. Make Simple Changes
    We love our routines. We have hobbies and pastimes that we could do for hours on end. But the more something is ‘second nature,’ the less our brains have to work to do it. To really help your brain stay young, challenge it. Change routes to the grocery store, use your opposite hand to open doors and eat dessert first. All this will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.
  10. Train Your Brain
    Brain training is becoming a trend. There are formal courses, websites and books with programs on how to train your brain to work better and faster. There is some research behind these programs, but the basic principles are memory, visualization and reasoning. Work on these three concepts everyday and your brain will be ready for anything.

More Fun Ways to Live Longer

Source:
Author – By Mark Stibich, Ph.D.
http://longevity.about.com/od/mentalfitness/tp/Mental_fitness.htm

Training is Not the Same as Exercising
by On November 30, 2009

been. If you’re a salesperson, make more calls or appointments in a week than you ever have. PUSH yourself to new levels of focus and effort. Will this require some discipline? Absolutely! In fact, it will actually hurt a little. But that kind of pain is temporary and if you’ll work through it, the growth in your life and your pocketbook will make you forget that pain quickly. Life Feeding If all you do is push with no recovery, growth does not occur. Quite the opposite, in fact. Once you’ve stretched your limits, it is important to feed your mind and your life just like you eat to replenish your strength. Some “recovery tips” for your Life:

  • Celebrate your victories. When something goes right, when your “pushing beyond” actually gets the results you desire, enjoy it for a little while! Reward your wins and you get charged up to want more of them.
  • Take time for yourself – by yourself and with those you love. Quiet time alone for a little bit each week is absolutely necessary to recharge your batteries. Just as important is quality time with family or those you care about. This is often the first thing a busy professional sacrifices, which is why so many are burned out. It doesn’t need to be tons of time, but it has to be some.
  • Feed your mind systematically. The practice of reading an inspiring or uplifting book for 15-30 minutes daily is absolutely the most refreshing and life-changing habit you can develop.

If you want to grow, you must have BOTH the workout and the recovery time. Find the balance and growth is inevitable. Not easy, but inevitable. Be Free! Roger Seip Instructor

Top 10 Personal Development Books
by On November 17, 2009

readLooking for a great read? Pick up a personal development book and invest in yourself and future.

Do not think you have time to read? Check out our Reading Smart workshop where you will learn how to read faster and increase your comprehension.

Top 10 Personal Development Books

There are tons of personal development or self help books out there. Some are good, some are terrible. So how do you tell the good stuff from the mediocre?

This list will be a great starting point, as it lists and briefly reviews ten of the best personal development books out there. These books cover a wide variety of sub-genres within the personal development area, but all of these can help you get into the right frame of mind and on your way to personal growth.

  1. Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Anthony Robbins
    Tony Robbins is the absolute guru of self improvement, so it should be absolutely no surprise. It was between this one and “Unlimited Power” as to which one was best. Robbins set the standard for much of self help, and while there is some criticism about some of the advice being “fluff,” the majority of the advice is very solid, as can be seen by the sheer number of copycats. This book is a great addition to any self-help library.
  2. Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anywayby Susan Jeffers
    The number one obstacle that gets in the way of people wanting to change their lives is fear. Author Susan Jeffers attacks this obstacle head on in this classic self improvement work. Jeffers bravely uses many personal examples from her own life, discussing the crippling effects that fear has on every aspect of your life, and how to work on yourself to get to the point where you can conquer it. Learning that failure is not a big deal, but that seeing chance as an opportunity to do something great (as opposed to a chance to fail) is the fundamental lesson behind this book that has helped thousands to achieve their goals and push ahead in life.
  3.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    It’s an older book that has been around for quite some time, but classics are classic for a reason. This book was released in 1990, and has remained in print ever since. This was a groundbreaking book when it was released and has sold over 10 million copies. This book is different in that it doesn’t give you a quick list of “easy actions” to take, but requires a deeper paradigm shift that helps you chance how you think, act, and approach problems. This is a book you will take copious notes over as you study this book in detail – this isn’t one for skimmers?
  4. Coach Yourself to Success : 101 Tips from a Personal Coach for Reaching Your Goals at Work and in Life by Talane Miedaner
    One of the instant appeals of this self improvement book is that there are a large number of tips, many of them practical and allowing for instant action. It can be difficult to make a huge change of thinking in your life, while many smaller steps are so much easier to implement. This has been a favorite among many self help fans.
  5. Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life by Bill O’Hanlon
    Bill has the credentials, as he is a certified professional counselor, marriage therapist, and author of 16 self-improvement books. This book is written with short easy to digest chapters, focusing on concentrating on fixing the current day instead of spending a lot of time digging up the past. This book is also divided into three parts, each based on a different part: changing the doing of the problem, changing the viewing of the problem, and applying solution-oriented therapy. This focus on changing the now instead of dwelling in the past is the breakthrough many need.
  6. Create Your Own Future: How to Master the 12 Critical Factors of Unlimited Success by Brian Tracy
    “Create Your Own Future” is a quality self help book that combines the two goals most common with people looking for a quality self improvement text: improving the personal life, and making a lot more money. This book concentrates on twelve principles that can help you achieve both, and gives examples of actual real world plans that show you how you can accomplish these goals.
  7. Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser
    This self-improvement book is specifically aimed at teaching individuals to clear their minds of all the every day distractions that make goal setting impossible. The power of clearly writing down goals, wishes, and the small steps to take to get there comes out clearly in Klauser’s book. Her techniques are intended not only to clarify goals, but to help with the self-confidence needed to accomplish them.
  8. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris
    This book is one of my personal favorites, and rates right up there near the very top of my own list. This book won’t be for everyone, but it is a great combination of focus on personal change and improvement (which directly leads to changing your life), changing your thought process, and gaining independence and freedom in the work place and life. This book works for normal employees as well as entrepreneurs, and the stories, additional resources, and challenges to conventional thinking make this a quality work helpful for anyone wanting a radical change in both their personal and business life.
  9. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.
    This one obviously has a religious Christian slant, so it may not be for everyone, for many of that faith this book has been nothing short of life changing. Some “spiritual but not religious” people have found this best seller helpful and useful, as well, since many of the lessons focus on concentrating and looking honestly at your own life and working on small steps to improve yourself that add up and help bring meaning into your life.
  10. Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin.
    This one is aimed specifically at businesses, but not only is Seth Godin’s unique look good for building your own business, but the mentality of this book and great allegories can apply to your personal life, as well. Thinking differently from the majority is a skill that never hurts, especially in improving (if not outright changing) your life.

Written by Shane Dayton, August 22, 2008, associatedcontent.com

How to Obtain, Sharpen and Use Your Brain Tools
by On October 15, 2009

It was just about 6 a.m. and traffic was picking up . The roads were wet and a little sloppy from just under a foot of snow dumped on them the night before. I was on my way from my home in New Hampshire to a morning business presentation in central Massachussetts. As I approached Concord, I realized I was coming up on a rollover accident that had just occurred a few minutes before. There were already a few people helping, and I pulled over to see if another pair of hands might be needed.

When I got out, I saw a woman standing next to a red SUV that was sitting on it’s side, driver’s side down. She was crying and talking on the phone. I noticed a man with a patch on his shoulder and immediately identified him as an off-duty firefighter. He was in charge of the scene, and I asked if another pair of hand s would help. He just motioned for me to hang around for a bit, as he climbed up onto the vehicle and inside through the smashed passenger window. It seemed that a young boy was still trapped inside. He was not obviously injured, but he couldn’t get free from the seat belt.

At this point the firefighter poked his head out again, and asked if any of us had a knife. I always carry a pocket knife, even when wearing a suit. I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to the firefighter and he disappeared back into the SUV. Some other folks were finding a way to open the rear door to get the boy out. In a few minutes, they hauled him up out of the vehicle, and I helped hand him down to his mother, much to the relief of both of them. I checked to see if I was needed further, and departed so as not to crowd the scene and to make room for the emergency vehicles that were on their way.

I reflected on this incident afterwards, and realized that this incident carried some important lessons worth remembering.

We all use tools every day to conduct our business and our lives. Some of these tools are concrete and physical – a hammer, a computer, a book, a phone. Nevertheless, no matter what business you are in, the most important tools that you use are not physical. They are information, skills, techniques and processes that you utilize every day. They are the tools you keep between your ears. Just because these tools reside inside your skull does not mean that you don’t have to pay attention to them. Just like physical tools, there are a few guidelines that determine how useful they will be.

First, the only tool you can use is the one you have.

Standing in the aisle of Home Depot, and wishing for that table saw is not going to get your two by fours cut to size. In order to use the table saw, you are going to have to buy the table saw. It’s the same thing with personal skills and business know how. You have to acquire it. You may get it through formal education, internal training programs, mentoring partnerships, on the job training, or a million other ways, but you have to get it in order to use it.

Make the habit of investing in obtaining the tools you need for your business. Take a class in finances. Attend a seminar on listening and networking. Listen to CD’s on selling, or read books on management. And don’t worry about all the bells and whistles and latest fads. Instead, focus on high quality training that will provide you with sturdy proven techniques that apply to what you do.

The knife that I handed that firefighter is not a swiss army knife with a gazillion gadgets tucked in it. It is one carbon steel blade with a drop point and a synthetic handle. It is small, light and sharp and it gets the job done admirably. Most important, I carry it in my pocket wherever I go. When I needed it, all I had to do is grab it. If I had never bought it or carried it, I couldn’t have used it.

Second, keep your tools sharp.

There are few things as discouraging to use as a dull knife. I make a habit of sharpening my knife every few weeks. It doesn’t take long, but it sure makes the job easier when I need to use it. In the same way, make sure that once you attain a new skill, that you practice it regularly until it becomes a habit. Make sure you stay mentally and emotionally sharp. Do not neglect the simple preparations that make your job so much easier. I have heard that Abraham Lincoln once said, “I believe that if I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 hours sharpening my axe.” There is much to recommend this way of thinking.

Finally, be ready and willing to use your tools.

I could have driven by that accident that day. I am not trained as a First Responder. Other people had already stopped. I had an appointment to get to. Yet, I felt compelled to stop and at least offer another pair of hands. I tried to stay out of the way of the folks who knew what they were doing, simply observing and waiting for an opportunity where I could actually provide some kind of help. When the call came out for a knife, I was the only one who had one on me. I did not hesitate. My willingness and my action did not save the boys life, but it shortened the time that he had to suffer being trapped inside the car and away from his mother. When I stopped I wasn’t clear on how I could help, I just wanted to offer my help.

In the same way, in your life and in your business, look for opportunities where you can provide help. You may have one kind of help in mind, and you may actually be asked for something else. If you are ready and willing, you will very likely find that you can provide very useful help. It doesn’t matter whether that help is providing needed insurance, and automobile, a new home, or merely and introduction to a business associate. When you put yourself out there, the opportunities will come to you.

As I left the scene of the accident that day, I felt really really good. What’s more, my attitude toward my little seven dollar pocketknife had changed. What I had viewed as something simple and utilitarian had suddenly become a source of pride and joy for me because I had used it to help someone who really needed help. I had it with me, it was sharp and I was willing to use it. It was a good way to start the day.

Be Free!

This article is written by David Denis owner of http://www.rocksolidwriting.com

David is a freelance writer for hire offering article writing, sales letters, training manuals, speech writing, seo content, sales writing, blog articles, copy-writing service, sales scripts and business name ideas.

To learn more, or request a quote visit http://www.rocksolidwriting.com/freelance-writer-quote

Back to School Contest Winners Announced
by On September 30, 2009

David ShoupThank you all for sharing all the wonderful lessons learned during your days in school.

I truly enjoyed reading your responses and found it was such a great reminder to me that much of who we are today can be attributed to the concepts and ideas that we learned as students.

I also found it interesting, but not surprising, that much of what we remember from our days in the classroom had very little to do with the actual content of what was being taught. The real lessons can from the principles we were able to gain or learn.

Thanks again for your thoughtful answers. It was difficult to narrow it down, but here are my top three picks. Congratulations to the winners.

First Place – #20 Katina Asbell

The most important thing I learned in school is that you can never learn enough.

Every day in 5th grade Mrs. Hodges had our class recite:

I use to think I knew I knew but now I must confess, the more I know I know I know, I know I know the less.

I am in my 40’s now and still recall it perfectly. This sentence taught me that you can never learn enough. When you have a question and find the answer, guess what? It usually creates a new question. Learing is never ending. It is the process of continually asking questions and seeking answers. Learning is finding better and more efficient ways to do things and never sitting stagnet. Learning is FUN!

If every child was taught how to ask questions and they were in an enviroment that allowed for and answered those questions….think about how much our children could learn!

If you have an encounter with a child today and they ask you a question, think about your answer carefully. If you don’t know the answer then take the opportunity to learn together, ask questions together and find answers together. After all, Mrs. Hodges and myself believe you can never learn enough.

I agree with you. I believe we can never learn enough. Many of the most successful people (in all fields) are the ones who are most committed to their own growth and are continually striving to attain new skills or knowledge.

Your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Hodges was a very wise woman and probably an extremely good teacher.

Katina has won The Student’s Winning Edge – Memory Training – AND – The Student’s Winning Edge – Goal Setting and Attitude

Second Place – #5 Douglas Alexander

My High School had this motto: “Character Before Career.” That basically says it all.

First, it is a great principle to live one’s life by, that, if I have the opportunity to lay on my death bed and look back over my life, I’ll be glad I followed–as opposed to compromising my integrity or other character traits in order to make money or somehow get ahead.

Secondly, “Character Before Career” is excellent business advice in the long run–it will usually help me get farther ahead.

Lastly, “Character Before Career” is excellent advice for personal relations since, if the principle is internalized at work, it will filter over into one’s personal life as well.

Great point Douglas. The concept of “Character Before Career” is a lesson we can all take throughout our lives.  When we live in integrity with ourselves our business and personal lives are so greatly enhanced.

Plus, every time you choose to live in integrity you are aligning yourself with (God, Karma, The Universe) and good things will come back to you.

Douglas has won his choice of with The Student’s Winning Edge – Memory Training or The Student’s Winning Edge – Goal Setting and Attitude

Third Plane – #13 Shauna Simpson

The most important thing I learned in school was the importance of working as a team. In college there were classes that involved team projects. You worked on these projects with people with different backgrounds and personalities. The projects always came together in the end. The same applies in the workforce. You need to work in an environment that works as a team in order to be successful.

Shauna, wonderful point. Much of our success as individuals can be attributed to others. The more we understand the life is a “TEAM” sport, the better off we all will be.

Shauna has won a Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle.

Tomorrow we announce our next contest – stay tuned and….

Be Free!

David Shoup
Instructor

Well Rounded Training for Your Brain
by On September 14, 2009

Tom WeberMany studies today show that as we age we tend to focus our education, training, and learning on topics that we are already familiar with and subjects that pertain to our current career.

While that is all fine and good, what ends up happening is that the majority of the population stops researching and learning about completely new subjects and skill-sets.

The mind is a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Well, let me give you an analogy to explain what is happening to that muscle for anyone who stops learning new things, and only learns deeper levels of subjects they already know about.

It would be like somebody who wants to stay in shape physically, and they knew one exercise, they knew how to do curls. And whenever they worked out, they did curls. Well what would happen if all you ever did was curls? Yes, you would have great biceps, and they would be really strong, your forearms would also be strong and your shoulders would get some benefits because they are attached to your biceps.

But if you ask any body builder or strength trainer, “How to get super strong biceps,” they will tell you that you also need to work your triceps, your shoulders, your back and they could tell you at least 20 different exercises to work 20 different muscles that support your biceps.

What they most likely would suggest would be a complete body regimen that not only was weight training but also aerobic training so your heart was in shape and your body fat was lowered.

Another example is Dean Karnazes, or Karno, the man who ran 50 marathons in 50 days and then decided to run home from New York to San Francisco. One of the things about Karno that is so amazing, besides the fact that he is one of the most prolific runners in the history of the world, is that when he trains he also does push-ups and pull-ups instead of just running or exercising his legs. He pushes his upper body to the limit as well as his lower body.

Where I am going with this is simple. If you are a REALTOR, and all you attend is Real Estate classes and Real Estate seminars and Real Estate Continuing Education, then all you are doing is curls. Your real estate muscle is super developed but the rest of brain is beginning too atrophy.

If you are a Mortgage Loan Officer and all you learn about is new ways of doing mortgages and new ways to sell mortgages, your mortgage muscle is amazingly strong, but the rest of your brain will begin to atrophy.

My tip this week is for you learn about something that has always interested you but you never took the time, or you thought that it might be silly, to learn it because it has nothing to do with your career.

Forget that old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Lazy people who were content to sit around and slowly die invented that saying.

We are all living longer these days, so don’t just exist longer…LIVE longer. Learn a new skill and open new doors.

Learn to speak Spanish, learn to play the guitar or the piano or the banjo. I have a friend who has been secretly learning to play the violin so that on his 10 year wedding anniversary he can surprise his wife with a song just for her. Take that pottery class, take a singing lesson, buy an easel and paint and pretend you are Picasso.

You’ve probably heard of Grandma Moses, who took up painting after she retired and was discovered when she was 77 years old. She made more money from her paintings than she made in her whole life up to that point, and loved every second of it.

If you want to truly improve the overall quality of your life, you must commit to continuous education. Learning new things will exercise your brain, and not only will you have fun with the challenge, you will gain even more strength and prowess in your career muscle.  Using your entire brain is like exercising your entire body.

Be Free!

Tom Weber
Instructor

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3 Proactive Ways to Continue Learning
by On September 9, 2009

Leah SimpsonSeptember is the month that kids are heading back to school. For those of us who are not in formal school, how do we insure that we are continually learning?

Henry Ford said, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” How can we do this?

I will share with you three ways we can be proactive about the learning process, even without being in formal classrooms or universities.

1. Read

Reading 5 minutes a day will do you a world of good. If you only read ten books in your field per year, in four years, you will have read more information than most graduate students have in your area. You’ll be a little master of your field.

It doesn’t take much time, but a small amount of dedication can truly increase the information that you have over a period of time.

2. Turn Your Car into a University on Wheels

Your car is a virtual classroom and having an educational program playing in your vehicle on your commute to and from work is a fantastic way to learn.

You can learn to do anything in your car these days. Some of my favorite things are picking up languages or sales CDs and motivational programs.  Visit our online store for some great ideas on CD programs that will increase your productivity, sales and enjoyment in life.

3. Listen to the People Around You

Every single person you meet has something of value they can teach you. I find this mindset one of the most beneficial and fruitful ways to greet every new person that I meet.

Even the person who really annoys you has something good that is apart of their experience that you can learn from. So take advantage of that. Not only does it increase your knowledge and awareness it makes the relationships with the people you meet much more interesting.

So read, listen in your car, and listen to the people around you. It’s a great way to keep your mind young.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Back to School Contest
by On September 3, 2009

David ShoupWith students returning to the classroom this month, we wanted to focus this month’s contest around education.

Education is the cornerstone to professional success and if you continue to invest in education over the course of a lifetime, constantly improving your skills, the heights you will reach personally and professionally are limitless.

So, the question to answer for this month’s contest is:

What is the most important concept you learned in school and why?

This could be anything that you learned in grades K-12. It could be a particular subject that has served you in adulthood, a life’s lesson a teacher taught you or a kernel of knowledge that has always stuck with you.

I, with help from the Freedom Team, will select winners and will base our judgments on how well the value of the concept was presented as well as the “why” behind the answer.

Prizes:

All winners will also receive a Freedom Personal Development Calculator, Blue Light-up Pen and Be Free Sticker.

Deadline:
The deadline to enter is Sunday, September 27, 2009.

Winners Announced:
Winners will be announced on the blog and emailed on Wednesday, September 30, 2009.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Gandhi

Be Free!

David Shoup
Instructor