Maximizing Your Mind

RL04-09-2015We use our minds to try to understand how everything in the world works, but the subject we may know least about is our mind itself. Scientists have determined that the thing our minds may be most effective at doing is misleading, fooling, or deluding us. Whether it’s the airline pilot on approach who doesn’t see a jumbo jet sitting right in front of him on the runway because he doesn’t expect to, or the multitude of eyewitnesses who each emphatically report they all saw something different from one another, it’s clear that our minds are complicated entities that are part of us and somewhat independent agents at the same time.

The more we learn about how our minds work, the more it is clear that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how we think, how we process, how we remember, and how we learn.

Much of the study about the human mind centers on academic pursuits, but there are a few recent breakthroughs that can be very practical to you and me in our personal and professional lives.

Recently, it has been determined that making a decision is one of the most difficult tasks our minds perform. The decision-making process takes a tremendous amount of energy whether the decision we are making is a significant one or not. Science has revealed that the fewer decisions people make, the more rational they are in the decision-making process. It seems that high-functioning minds are engaged primarily in high-functioning problems.

Many great leaders and thinkers historically ate the same thing for breakfast, traveled the same way to work or school, and wore the same clothes on a regular basis. Routine decisions for many high-functioning thinkers are more a matter of habit than thought.

While great thinkers use their minds in conjunction with the latest technology in processing problems and solutions, they are likely to utilize note cards or a tablet of paper to keep their daily “to do” list.

While multitasking has become popular, it is not as efficient as we may think. Our minds seem to measure our progress based on how busy we feel or how stressed we are mentally; therefore, doing several things at once may give us a feeling of great achievement.  In reality, when progress is measured, we could be better off by focusing on one thing at a time.

While our minds might tell us the longer and harder we focus the better we will perform, in reality research has shown that working in two-hour blocks of time, punctuated by a break or even a nap, may provide better results.

Data has shown that the highest-functioning, most-efficient minds may well be the least-distracted minds. Controlling email, phone calls, and other interruptions gives our minds the best chance to do their greatest work.

We are all different and function best in a variety of ways, but before you determine how you function most efficiently, it would be wise to measure your results instead of trusting how you feel.

As you go through your day today, remember that your mind is a powerful tool.  Use it well.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at; or on Facebook at

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