Thursday, September 14, 2017

7 killer cheats to expand your brain and remember better

  • I have too many things to study! 
  • So much to do and so less time! 
  • I read, re-read and re-re-read but don't understand! 
  • Topics that I read and understand, I am not able to recall during exam!
  • Should I understand concepts or just mug up?  

Aren't these common problems students or even you and I have? 

Here are 8 KILLER Cheats to help improve your brain's capacity. These tips will practically "EXPAND" your brain, seriously!!!  


  1. Focus: Whenever, wherever, whatever you are studying for howmuch ever time - remain FOCUSED. You mind will play tricks. You will feel hunger or you will hear a whatsapp notification. You may remember to return a dress that you borrowed or just feel bored. Just tell yourself - nothing doing. Let's study for just this slot!
  2. Take breaks: Now you may say that how can I be FOCUSED for hours? No, you shouldn't. In fact if you did, your brain will be tired. Apply something that we spoke earlier - A Pizza Technique to study. Take shorter breaks. Give your brain some rest before you put it back at work. It helps and it works wonders! Try it to believe it.
  3. Read and Link: As you keep reading, in your mind keep drawing pictures of what you read. And not just draw but link those pictures together. E.g. Let's say you are learning about a Shelter Belt. It says something like "A windbreak (shelterbelt) is a plantation usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion". As you read, imagine plants planted at the boundary that is protecting crops.
  4. Link and Draw: As you done linking, pull a pen and paper. DRAW what you imagined. Doesn't matter how good you are at drawing. Just draw something that you can use to mimic the picture in your mind. Draw all smaller things in the picture too. Grass leaves, clouds, wind blowing, birds in the sky, flower and the main picture of crop and big plantation.
  5. Draw and smile: Now comes the crucial part. As you watch your drawing imagine it has come to life and the bird flew away from your picture. The trees planted at the boundary growing tall and hitting the sky. Just a couple of such imagination to help you make smile.
  6. Revise: You are almost done. Next thing to do is to revise. Go over the concept you just studied once more. Repeat what you did - however no need to draw again. Just Read, Link, Smile :). It helps get it stored in your brain deeper. If you can revise this concept again just before exam using the same picture, you will do awesome!
  7. Discuss with others: A bonus will be when you discuss what you have learned with one of your friend, or parent or sibling or may with YOURSELF. This is a bonus step that will take you a little closer to remember even MORE and BETTER. 
Friends, at the end, remember to enjoy your studies. Find out how your study links with what you like. For example somebody who loves playing cricket will be able to find similarity between Shelter Belt and Cricket Pads. Pads shelter legs from ball hitting them. Shelter Belt does so with crops! Amazing, isn't it? Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Know what happens when you praise your child for smartness. It's scary!

Well yes. It's been believed to be good to praise kids for their smartness. It is believed to be boosting their self-esteem. What happens actually though? Read through the dialogs to know some amazing insights based on latest research.

Is your kid smart?

- Hell yes! My Kid is smart…may be the smartest of the lot!!! He remembers everything. 
- He is in level 7 of COC (Of those who don’t know what COC is, you need to talk to your kids more!).
- She loves Maths and always scores an A+. 

- The Science project he did got 3rd prize. He is super, he studies just before exams and still scores an A!

Oh yes, he/she is SMART!!! So 
how do you praise him/her?

- Just like everybody else. Saying good things in front of him. Making him feel good about himself. 
- Taking her out on dinner. Movie, pop corn, ice creams. 
- Buying a personal cell phone or tablet. Gifting him aids that he can use like pens, colours. 
- It feels so good when we see them happy and content! They love us more when we reciprocate and celebrate their success!!!

And how do you talk to them when they make mistake?
- Well, I am generally soft. I tell him how he made a mistake and that he is a smart boy. He should pay more attention.
- We need to let them know that they are making mistake! So I tell her in as many words. AS MANY words so that she doesn't make the same mistake again. And yes, it works…she mostly doesn't make the same mistake again!
- My feedback is constructive, I tell him that he can do better. He is smart! It helps boost his confidence. 

Well...we all need to re-think about this strategy. A huge research is done around how to praise kids and what are best ways to do it? 

When we praise kids for their “smartness” or “Intelligence”, we supposedly build their self esteem. But at the same time, we give them their self image to live up to. We tell them, “You are smart! (And unsaid expectation or communication is - we will appreciate whenever you do an act of smartness. Isn't it?). We in a way tell them “Don’t do anything that makes you look stupid!”. We in a way tell them “DON’T TAKE RISKS!”. We start limiting them. 

It was observed that kids who were appreciated for smartness showed significant drop in resilience, persistence. Why? they were a little afraid to fail. They were thinking that the challenge in front of them is too big for their smartness. Really!!!

Through the research done on Tens of THOUSANDS of kids by Carol Dweck, it is observed that when you praise kids for their hardwork they start enjoying the process. The better way to praise kids is for their efforts and not Intelligence. Praising for efforts makes them believe that with their efforts they "can control" the outcome. While for smartness which is abstract and inherent for them, they give up quickly and don't keep trying. Makes sense?  

Also, remember to always praise them for real efforts, where you have seen them putting in sweat.  

Does it mean success should go unappreciated? 

No, it doesn’t mean success shouldn’t be appreciated. It just means a lot of emphasis should be put on efforts than the outcome. When they succeed they always feel that it’s because of the efforts that they have put in, they are successful.  

How does natural talent play a role?

Natural talent does matter and each kid will have it in them in different areas. However all of us will agree that the talent is less important, it’s what you do with that talent is important. Somebody who is exceptionally good in football can go waste if he doesn't practice regularly and complete his physical fitness regime and so on. Isn't that true and isn't that something we have seen in our lives? 

So next time, your kid
-          - Wins a prize in project competition: "Hey, congratulations! you really worked hard at it!"
-          - Doesn’t win a prize in project competition: "I really liked the efforts you have put in to complete the project!"
-          - Scores well in Olympiad exam: "Beautiful job! I saw you studying regularly."
-          - Doesn’t score well in Olympiad exam: "I think you put in efforts. You can see where you need to improve and I am sure you will do better next time."

You see the difference?