The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

For many years The United Negro College Fund has used the slogan "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” This slogan is used to solicit support for Historically Black Colleges and encourage minorities to get an education. The power found in this phrase transcends all races and cultures. Think for a minute; when was the last time you did something to stimulate or expand your mind. For most of us, spent a much of our lives are doing routine activities; tasks or activities that do not require little if any new thinking. Spending hours reading emails, texting and watching TV are some examples of mindless repetitions. Unfortunately, many of us will dream about what we want to accomplish, but will never go beyond the dreaming stage. Having a daily routine is good and essential for to accomplishing our goals. But have you allowed routine to limit your creativity or growth? "Your attitude may be “I have done it this way for 5 years, it works; why change now?" Varying how you approach problem and/or perform an activity can stimulate the mind to create new thinking, which could lead to developing new skills and habits. For example, train yourself to brush your teeth with the opposite hand for two minutes. Learning to use your opposite hand is a challenge that requires the mind to think! Another way we waste our minds is not feeding it with new ideas. Example: failing to read a variety of books or conducting research on a familiar topic or hobby. You will be amazed at what you can learn by staying current with the trends in your profession or hobbies. We expect doctors, educators, car repair technicians, etc. to stay up-to-date. Do we have the same expectation for ourselves? The mind must be stimulated and trained to grow. Ways to stimulate and expand your mind:
  • Keep your mind open to new ideas. Jot down any new thoughts you may have. Never be afraid to ask questions for understanding.
  • Enroll in a class. Many community centers and universities offer classes that range from a few hours to several weeks.
  • Read for approximately 20 minutes per day. Reading the newspaper daily can help build your vocabulary if you invest time in defining unfamiliar words.
  • Take up a new hobby. Try something new that you have always wanted to do, but never had the time. For example, Ballroom Dancing.
  • Set aside at least 10 minutes per day to just think of ways to improve a routine activity. Try the best one, you maybe surprised at how well it works.
  • Visualize. The mind loves pictures.  See the desired outcome in your mind from start to finish, step-by-step. Produce and direct your own mind movie. Play it over and over again. Tell your subconscious what you want long enough and it will believe what it see and hear. I have used this technique before presentations. It works!
The suggestions above not only require that you use your mind to think, but that you use one of your most valuable and abundant resources, time.  It is important to designate time to engage in activities that will help expand and strengthen the mind.

Yes, "The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste"; however, we do not need to waste it. The mind is waiting for a challenge that will cause it to expand. It will grow only to the extent that we use it.

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