“Why do I have to study __________? I won’t ever use it in REAL LIFE!” That’s a common complaint – I’m sure you’ve made it yourself. Seriously right – when are you even going to be asked to solve the value of ‘x’ is a simultaneous equation or analyse the tragic flaw of Macbeth once you leave school? Why learn it?
The fact is, like the body, the mind needs to be exercised – and without exercise, it becomes dull and ineffective. The different subjects you learn exercise different parts of your body. Math teaches you logical thinking; literature teaches you empathy, perspective and human understanding. These skills you will need in REAL LIFE!
But school isn’t the only place to exercise your mind – you can do it in your own time. Here are some of my favourite mind exercises you could try.
1. Draw a simple circle. Now give yourself a time limit – five minutes perhaps – how many different objects can you create from the circle? How many different objects can you create from the circle? Add some lines or other simple shapes. Compete wit a friend and see who can come up with more ideas. This simple activity forces you to think outside the box and expand your mind’s horizon. It’s also loads of fun.
2. Pick your favourite novel or play. Pretend you are a movie director. Cast it! Who would you choose to play each of the characters in the story – your best friend? your teacher? your little sister? Why? What about the character resembles that person? It could be a physical of a personality resemblance. This allows you to relate to the characters in the story as well as to the people in your life better. It’ll also make the story and the message in it much clearer.
3. Here’s a fun challengeinvolving the word ‘bump’, Write a sentence with the word ‘bump’ in it. Now it’s your friend’s turn – she has to write a sentence using the word ‘bump’ but with a different meaning. Keeps going until everybody runs out of ideas. You’ll be amazed to find out how flexible the word is. Can you think of any other words that are so flexible?
4. Take turns to ask an ‘if’ question and everybody in the group has to answer it and explain their answer. What kind of questions to ask? Use your imagination – the only rule is, it has to start with the word ‘if’. My favourite questions are, “If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why?” and “If you could have any 3 superpowers, what would you pick?” This game is an excellent way to think in analogies and to practise your answering skills.
There are plenty of other things you could do to exercise your mind:
Board games such as chess, Chinese checkers, and Monopoly
And don’t forget…
And watching the right kind of TV Programmes!
Be flexible and manage your time well. Don’t get too carried away with any one activity and keep trying new things. Make sure all your homework is done first though – and before your start groaning, remember that doing homework is also a very important way to exercise your brain!