Brain Power


The human mind amazes me.  As more gray hair finds it way onto my scalp, my brain continues to function in high gear with few failures and occasionally, almost by accident, I get a little wiser.

Before I retired two years ago, my ability to multi-task surprised even me.  I supervised an office staff of sixteen, prepared reports, served as Safety and Logistics Officer, resolved every personnel issue and equipment malfunction imaginable, and still found time to be a wife, caretaker, and volunteer facilitator.

Now that I am a woman of leisure, I often have to force myself to stifle my need to perform numerous functions at one time.  Take writing, for example.  I have four different projects open on the computer as I draft this blog.  I toggle back and forth frequently as needed.  My upcoming novel, Burning Embers, remains open on my laptop at all times as I work diligently on the rewrites.  At the rate I’m going, it should be completed by 2015.

In the past ten minutes, besides beginning this piece, I emptied the dishwasher, filled it again, prepared the coffee pot for the next brew, went outside and picked up the mail, began preparing lunch and referenced my thesaurus (which resides permanently next to my computer).  Mind you, I realize they are all unimportant, menial tasks, yet, not bad for a sixty-year old mind in a short period of time.

I once challenged myself to see if I could function with a solitary thought for more than five minutes.  The longest attempt neared forty-five seconds

In full disclosure, one of the items is not a writing assignment.  It is a game called FreeCell.  My husband and daughter think I am addicted to it.  I tell them I am trying to keep my brain cells active, which I am.  That appeases them briefly, but does not change their assumption.

This card game challenges the player to unscramble the order of the cards before running out of moves.  I am embarrassed to mention how many of these games I have played, but it has been two years and whenever I am bored or watching television, I am competing to raise my success score, which has been stuck at 65%.

I have proof that this hobby stimulates my brain.

One of the options on the game allows the player to undo the last move and try another.  I recently realized that if I utilize that function and repeat it multiple times, I can win nearly every game.  Once I opened my mind to the possibility, it changed my entire perspective about the game.  Instead of hitting the button that says, start a new game when I get stuck, I challenge myself to stick with each session until I succeed.  I have won all but one of the last twenty-five games.

One of the courses I facilitated for years included a poster that said CYA (check your assumptions).  I assumed that losing was a normal outcome of the game.  I wonder how many times in my life I have limited my success without realizing it.

Have any of you ever found that by changing their belief about something, it opened up new possibilities.  I’d love to hear from you about your challenge or Aha moment.

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