Transforming Your Life

February 12th, 2014 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Personal Development - (0 Comments)

Doing the same thing_Albert EInsteinDoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, is the paradigm in which most people live. They rely on hope and fate to achieve a better outcome in their lives. Having coached a number of business executives and entrepreneurs, I have found that the first step in achieving different outcomes in your personal and business life is to change your current thinking and behaviour.

Many people fall into habits that become part of their daily ritual and find it very difficult to implement change. Change is the key to transforming one’s life. People have to start doing different things that generate results in their personal and business lives. If every morning you are used to getting out of bed later than the optimal time and then struggle to have breakfast before going to work, then you need to change your behaviour. For example, you will need to use an alarm that wakes you up at the optimal time to ensure you perform your daily exercise program, have time to meditate and reflect before having a healthy breakfast and getting ready for work. To achieve this behavioural change, you must first make a mental commitment and then a physical commitment that you will have to maintain for at least 30 days before it becomes a new habit. Discipline and commitment, together with repetition will achieve your behavioural change.

Following are seven simple steps to achieve positive change to transform your life:

  1. Focus on positive thoughts and remove any negative thoughts from your mind
  2. Face your fears and challenges in life as a first step to releasing your negative blocks
  3. Find your direction and sense of purpose in life through positive beliefs
  4. Establish clear goals and objectives that will provide you with positive change
  5. Focus on one goal at a time eliminating any distractions
  6. Develop a plan of activities for each goal and take action
  7. Establish a daily discipline that you can maintain for 30 days

Good luck!

Dr John Kapeleris

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AchievementThe end of another year is fast approaching once again. Most people will look back over the year and ask what achievements have been made in their personal and business lives. For many people they will find that little progress has been made. Essentially how they started out during the year is not that different to how they finished off the year.

You may also want to ask whatever happened to those New Year resolutions that were made at the start of 2013. Most New Year resolutions fade within weeks from when they were made. Observations and experience gained from studying successful people demonstrates that setting clear goals and objectives and reviewing those goals and objectives periodically, will have a big impact on your personal and business life.

The end of a calendar year is a great time to review your previous goals and objectives, identify the achievements made and learn from any failures experienced. If you did not set goals and objectives last year you can still review the achievements made and learnings from any disappointments. It’s never too late to set new goals and objectives to drive your success in your business and personal life. The following simple steps can be used to get your new goals and objectives set for 2014 and therefore, displace the need to make any New Year resolutions, that many of which will eventually dissipate.

Your goals should contribute towards achieving your ultimate goal or “Major Life Purpose”.

For goals to be affective they must me be SMART Goals. That is:

  • Specific – don’t be vague
  • Measurable – quantify your goal
  • Attainable – be honest with yourself
  • Realistic – real and practical
  • Time-based – set a timeframe

Although your goals should be attainable it is also important to include a few stretch goals that have the ability to take you out of your comfort zone.

Step 1 Brainstorm all your goals and objectives

  • Take a sheet of paper or use a journal and list all your goals and objectives. They could also include your dreams and desires in life.
  • Some people (Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy) have suggested you list 101 goals for this step, but if you can’t get to 101 don’t worry
  • Once you have your list then prioritize and label each as follows: 1 = goals to be achieved in one year or less, 3 = goals that are two to three years out, 5 = goals that will take about five years to achieve, and 10 = your ten year goals and dreams.

Step 2 Focus on your One Year goals

  • Ensure your goals satisfy the SMART criteria and rewrite if required. For example, your goal may be to “lose weight”, however this does not satisfy all the SMART criteria as it is written. The goal should be written as – “Lose 5kg by 30 Jun 2010 through 30 min of exercise at least 4 days per week, coupled with a healthy eating diet”.
  • Group your goals under the following categories:
    • Financial/Material Goals
    • Business/Career Goals
    • Personal Relationship/Social Goals
    • Health & Recreational Goals
    • Personal Development & Growth Goals
  • Further prioritize your goals under each category. I usually have 4 – 5 goals for each category and I prioritize further by asking what are the more important goals that will have the biggest impact in my life

Step 3 Develop Action Plans for each goal

  • Write each goal at the top of a fresh page and develop the details of your plan.
  • Break down the plan into workable individual tasks. Assign a completion date for each task.
  • Some goals may require the assistance of other people. You will need to assign specific tasks to the individual people identified who can assist you with your plan.

Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above for your 3, 5 and 10 year goals

  • Some of your longer term goals may be dreams or desires. You will need to convert these dreams and desires into specific and defined individual goals with timeframes. The individual goals together with their specific tasks and actions, collectively will achieve your overall dreams.
  • Long term goals require periodic review to ensure you are on track to achieving the outcomes that you have documented in your plan.
  • You may need to revise your plans if you discover that you are not progressing as originally planned.

Step 5 Take Action

  • You now have the winning combination of a goal with a plan.
  • Take action immediately with the highest priority goals.
  • Self-discipline and commitment will be needed to work on your goals and plans every day. Do something every day, no matter how small, to move towards achieving your goals.
  • Document your progress in a journal or diary and make any adjustments, if required.
  • Celebrate your success and achievements by rewarding yourself.

To your success in 2014!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Passion“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Many people end up in jobs or careers that are not aligned with their passions or life purpose. They may generate good income, have a great family and some leisure time, however, deep down they feel negative about their jobs. Passion is not a topic discussed in training manuals or university courses. However, by finding your passion and turning it into a career you can align your physical, mental and spiritual being. Nothing is impossible when work, pleasure and lifestyle become one.

Following the aftermath of the recession many people lost their jobs and found themselves at the crossroads pondering on their future careers. Many people were suddenly forced into following their dreams and have become highly successful in their new careers.

So how do you find your passion in life and turn it into a career? You can find your passion by considering a few questions:

  1. Are you currently enjoying your job and career? If you are enjoying your job where you can’t wait to get to work in the morning, time passes quickly, you like talking about the work you do with your friends, and you find yourself in a relaxed lifestyle, then your current career may be aligned with your passion.
  2. What did you enjoy doing as a child? As a child you may have had a hobby or obsession such as motor vehicles or you enjoyed trekking. Then pursuing these childhood passions may result in your ultimate lifestyle career.
  3. What do you enjoy doing as an adult? You may have a weekend hobby or a casual job that you enjoy immensely. Alternatively you find that a small component of your work is thoroughly enjoyable and you would like this to be the main part of your work. For example, you may enjoy coaching and mentoring your staff, which can ultimately turn into a successful coaching career working for yourself.

Many of us become complacent in our current situation or we may fear change, which stops us from pursuing our passions in life. We need to stop and evaluate whether the work we are currently performing is aligned with our passions and providing satisfaction in our lives. If not then we must develop a plan that will allow us to transition seamlessly into a new career where we can follow our dreams!

Dr John Kapeleris



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Beyond Mediocrity

September 10th, 2012 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Innovation | Personal Development - (0 Comments)

Having grown up in Australia and being exposed to its unique culture and beautiful environment one of the disappointing aspects has been the “fair go” mentality. From a legal and human rights perspective giving people a fair and safe environment to live in is extremely relevant and important. However, when we as Australians use the “fair go” or the “she’ll be right mate” mentality it unfortunately reduces our competitiveness to a playing field that is well below some international standards, thereby negatively influencing our attitudes and productivity. We begin to blame the system or someone else, instead of taking responsibility and massive action to change the current situation.

When one of my children states, “It isn’t fair Dad!”, I reply with, “Yes you are right, because life and business is not fair, but highly competitive”. If our sporting heroes and teams adopted a “fair go” or “she’ll be right mate” mentality, Australia would not have been so successful in many of its sporting achievements. Business and work life is no different, therefore we need to have the passion and the desire to succeed in a very competitive global arena.

One of the drivers of productivity is innovation and I don’t mean just research and development, although this is a very important component of the innovation ecosystem. Innovation in the sense of the practical application of new and creative ideas to generate value in the market, either through, new products and services, processes, organisational systems or novel business models, can provide competitive advantage for an organisation and stimulate increased productivity. A good example is reflected in traditional manufacturing firms that adopt innovative practices through design integration, business model transformation or simply adopting advanced manufacturing concepts, such as additive manufacturing or systems integration, that can differentiate themselves in the market place, increase productivity and transform into a high performance organisation.

Australia’s recent productivity metrics have been well below international levels, continuing to deteriorate despite the mining boom. The deteriorating trends can be confirmed in the recent article “Australia’s Productivity Performance and Real Incomes“. Many sectors, in particular retail and manufacturing have been suffering in the current economic environment.

It is important to note that the majority of productivity improvements can only be made as a result of management decisions and strategies implemented in firms. Public policy can also play an important role in improving Australia’s productivity, particularly in areas of regulation reform, taxation reform, public spending and skills development. Australia is already the third highest cost environment for businesses in the world and with diminishing productivity this can only get worse for Australian businesses.

I believe innovation is the key to improving productivity in Australia. Innovation can create higher value products and services, improve production process efficiency, design new business models, and differentiate firms in the global market. There is no doubt we have to work harder, but more importantly work smarter to improve productivity efficiency. Having a “fair go” or a “she’ll be right mate” attitude is not going to help Australian businesses become more competitive on the global arena.

Dr John Kapeleris

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I am going to stop putting things off starting tomorrow.” Sam Levenson

Procrastination is defined as the act of replacing high priority and important tasks with tasks of a lower importance, or delaying the actioning of important tasks to a later time. Procrastination may occur for a number of reasons, including the fear of failure, anxiety in starting or completing tasks, the need for an adrenalin hit as a result of self-imposed working under pressure, ineffective decision-making, perfectionism and ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks.

Procrastination is very common amongst the population with many people procrastinating to some extent. Humans generally have a tendency to replace important tasks with tasks that are more familiar or fun to perform. Chronic procrastination is a more severe form that can be very damaging to a person’s life or career.

A number of steps can be implemented to manage or deal with procrastination:

  1. Recognising that you are procrastinating – You need to be honest with yourself in order to recognise that you are procrastinating. Characteristics of procrastination include: focusing on low value tasks and actions, being engulfed by your emails throughout the day, getting ready to begin an important task and becoming immediately distracted, waiting for the perfect conditions to begin a project, and keeping tasks on your To Do list for some time even though they were marked as ‘important’.
  2. Understanding the reason why you procrastinate – The mind has a tendency to convince yourself that a valid reason exists to procrastinate, often involving subconsciously lying to yourself. The reasons why you procrastinate could be due to either the type of work involved or your beliefs and behaviour. One of the reasons why people procrastinate may involve the work not being interesting, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the tasks. Other reasons can include being disorganised which can result in anxiety in starting or completing tasks, or having a fear of failure/success stopping you from engaging the work. Being a perfectionist will also result in procrastination because perfectionists wait for the right conditions before they begin a task, or they try to achieve  the most perfect outcome thereby never actually completing the task. The final reason for procrastination relates to ‘planning fallacy’, which means underestimating the amount of time required to complete a set of tasks resulting in a delayed or slow start to actioning tasks, thereby escalating the required effort towards the end of the deadline. This is common with many university students who undertake assignments and examination preparation, and is often labelled as ‘Student Syndrome”. No matter how much time is provided for the student to complete their assignment they will take all the available time and end up cramming all the work just before the due date for the assignment.
  3. Implementing strategies to deal with procrastination – A number of strategies can be employed to deal with procrastination:
  • Keep a To Do list and ensure that you complete the required tasks quickly and efficiently
  • Break down the activities into manageable tasks in the form of an action plan that can be tackled quickly and easily
  • Utilise an Urgent/Important Matrix to identify high value tasks

  • Implement a reward system that is linked to the completion of important tasks
  • Start some easy tasks every day to fuel your momentum, which then allows you to tackle the larger more important tasks
  • Focus on goal setting, scheduling and planning to streamline your project management skills
  • Employ a mentor or coach to help you overcome procrastination or to encourage you to maintain your momentum on a particular project
  • Tackle the worst task in the whole To Do list first thing in the morning (e.g. Brian Tracy says ‘Eat the Frog’ – since this is the worst thing you could do everything else should be easy to undertake)
  • Repeat the cycle for 20 days so that it becomes a new habit

The longer you spend time without procrastination the better chance of breaking the habit.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Your personal belief system is made up of all the previous knowledge, experience and precepts that govern your thoughts, words, behaviours and actions. The current beliefs you possess have developed from an early age, many of which have been acquired through the teachings and learnings obtained from parents, teachers, other authority figures and our personal experiences. Having strong beliefs gives us a sense of why we exist and where we are going in life. Our belief system underpins our life purpose and influences our thoughts, values and behaviours. Many examples have been documented where people have risen above extreme adversity and suffering on the strength of their beliefs. Survivors of concentration camps indicated that they survived harrowing experiences and extreme hardship because they believed in the hope for a better life in the future. Some also visualised and believed they were living in a better life which removed the focus away from the suffering.

For many people their personal beliefs have been barriers to personal development and creating the life they desire. These beliefs are called limiting or damaging beliefs and have been acquired through life predominantly at a young age. For example, we may have been told by our teachers or parents that we will not amount to anything in the future or that we are not good enough to succeed. Limiting beliefs threaten the goals and objectives that we set. We may never be able to achieve some of our goals that we set because they are in contradiction with our limiting beliefs.

If your goals, objectives and life purpose are in conflict with your beliefs then you should change your beliefs to match your goals. This is not a simple task, however we must begin the process of reprogramming our thoughts and beliefs. Following is a process that can be used to modify our beliefs, however we must be disciplined to achieve the change we desire:

  1. What are the biggest problems or issues in achieving your goals and desires?
  2. Identify all the deep-rooted beliefs that may be limiting and write them down
    • “I’m not good enough”
    • “I don’t have what it takes”
    • “I’m too tired to exercise”
    • “I don’t have enough education to seek the new role”
    • “I’m not lucky in life”
  3. Choose the 2 to 3 beliefs that contribute most to the problems or issues
  4. Substitute these limiting beliefs with positive supportive beliefs (generally the opposite to your original belief)
  5. Focus on the new beliefs daily by repeating and affirming the new beliefs
  6. It will take some time and repetition to reprogram your subconscious to accept the new belief (at least a month)
  7. Remove any contradictory thoughts and focus on the new belief
  8. Start to action your goals and objectives that were not previously achieved

The problem and the solution lies within you!

 Dr John Kapeleris

 

 

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A personal development plan is an important tool that can help you achieve the life that you desire. It is amazing to find that the majority of people I meet do not have a personal development plan, yet many complain that they are not satisfied in life and that their life is meandering without progress or achievement.  A successful personal development plan can take you from where you are now to where you want to be by filling the gaps in your journey. To develop a successful personal development plan you need the following:

  • A vision
  • A positive attitude
  • Commitment
  • Self-discipline

I have used a simple three-step process in developing my personal development plan that I would like to share with you:

  1. Identify where you are now. What have been your significant achievements? What have been your disappointments? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what is holding you back in grasping new opportunities in life?
  2. Determine where you want to be. What do you need to do to get to the next level i.e. your purpose, goals and objectives in your personal and working life? What are the weaknesses you need to address and the priority areas to focus?
  3. Develop a personal development plan. What are the actions you will need to take, when are you going to achieve them, and how will you achieve them? What resources and assistance will you require?

A personal development plan can include a number of different elements based on your specific needs. It can be a specific plan focusing on the important goals and objectives you want to achieve, or it could be a more detailed life plan that includes the following elements:

  • Your life purpose or vision
  • Your dreams and desires
  • Your values and beliefs
  • Your achievements and disappointments
  • Your short, medium and long-term goals and objectives
  • Your personal education plan
  • Your action plan

To develop your personal development plan the following steps provide a good framework:

Step 1 Brainstorm your life purpose and your goals and objectives

  • Take a sheet of paper or use a journal determine your life purpose or vision. List all your goals and objectives. They could also include your dreams and desires in life and a vision of the “Ideal You”.
  • Some people have suggested you list 100 goals for this step, but if you can’t get to 100 don’t worry
  • Once you have your list then prioritize and label each as follows: 1 = goals to be achieved in one year or less, 3 = goals that are two to three years out, 5 = goals that will take about five years to achieve, and 10 = your ten-year goals and dreams.

Step 2 Focus on your One Year goals

  • Ensure your goals satisfy the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based) criteria and rewrite if required.
  • Group your goals under the following categories:
    • Financial/Material Goals
    • Business/Career Goals
    • Personal Relationship/Social Goals
    • Health & Recreational Goals
    • Personal Development & Growth Goals
  • Further prioritize your goals under each category. I usually have 4 – 5 goals for each category and I prioritize further by asking what are the more important goals that will have the biggest impact in my life.

Step 3 Develop Action Plans for each goal

  • Write each goal at the top of a fresh page and develop the details of your plan.
  • Break down the plan into workable individual tasks. Assign a completion date for each task.
  • Some goals may require the assistance of other people. You will need to assign specific tasks to the individual people identified who can assist you with your plan.

Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above for your 3, 5 and 10 year goals

  • Some of your longer term goals may be dreams or desires. You will need to convert these dreams and desires into specific and defined individual goals with timeframes. The individual goals together with their specific tasks and actions, collectively will achieve your overall dreams.
  • Long term goals require periodic review to ensure you are on track to achieving the outcomes that you have documented in your plan.
  • You may need to revise your plans if you discover that you are not progressing as originally planned.

Step 5 Take Action

  • You now have the winning combination of a goal with a plan.
  • Take action immediately with the highest priority goals.
  • Commitment and self-discipline will be needed to work on your goals and plans every day. Do something every day, no matter how small, to move towards achieving your goals.
  • Document your progress in a journal or diary and make any adjustments, if required.
  • Celebrate your success and achievements by rewarding yourself.

You can use the attached Personal Development Plan Template as a guide to assist you in starting and further developing your own plan.

Dr John Kapeleris

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The wider development of your individual abilities will achieve greater confidence in your life and ultimately the happiness that everyone seeks to achieve. The first step is to identify your abilities and map out a program for developing them. Even if you do not know the direction that you should be following in your life or career it is good practice to be exposed to new experiences and learn new skills.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow studied the behaviour of people who were confident and happy in nature regardless of the problems that confronted them. He described these people as “self-actualisers”. Self-actualisation is defined as the state of being where a person achieves their full potential when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled. In other words, becoming the person you desire by maximising your full potential and abilities.

Self-actualisers have the following set of identifiable characteristics:

  • Recognise that their life is their own responsibility
  • Concentrate on the present state to improve their future situation and do not dwell on the past
  • Cope well with reality but can also tolerate uncertainty
  • Accept themselves and others for what they are
  • Creative, have a sense of humour and unbound by convention
  • Appreciate the everyday pleasures of life

To move towards achieving self-actualisation you can implement the following actions:

  1. Assume full responsibility of your own life
  2. Identify your abilities and map out a personal development program
  3. Expose yourself to new experiences (try new things)
  4. Listen to your own inner true feelings when considering life experiences
  5. Be prepared to express your own views, even if they are not in accordance with the majority of people
  6. Avoid pretence and game playing when dealing with other people
  7. Work hard and smart at everything you do
  8. Develop a positive attitude and eliminate negative thoughts
  9. Seek and accept constructive feedback from other people

Begin the quest to become the best you can be by deciding what you want from life and then doing what is necessary to achieve it!

Dr John Kapeleris

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Napoleon Hill in his all-time bestselling book “Think and Grow Rich” makes mention of the power of the Mastermind. The mastermind principle is defined as the coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the achievement of a definite purpose. A mastermind group can be a powerful way to achieve your definite purpose or goals. I have joined a few mastermind groups each having a specific purpose or goal where the contribution of the knowledge, experience and united spirit of all members can catapult you to the next level of achievement. Members of a mastermind group will have a common interest where each person is willing to discuss topics openly and contribute knowledge and experience. The mastermind groups that I belong to meet regularly and have formal and informal agendas for prior preparation and subsequent discussion. A number of outcomes have emerged from my mastermind groups, including sharing knowledge and ideas, creating new start-up businesses, identifying new commercial opportunities, and developing solutions for business and community problems. Some of the most successful people in the world (e.g. Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie) have relied on their mastermind groups to guide them or provide wisdom and inspiration.

Another mastermind concept is establishing your personal “Board of Directors” which involves a group of trusted people or mentors who can guide you or coach you in various aspects of your life, including business, career, personal development, financial or health. For example, when I was between jobs I had a personal fitness and conditioning coach, a career coach and a personal development coach. I would meet with my personal fitness and conditioning coach three times a week for a period of eighteen months undergoing fitness, physical endurance and mental conditioning training. I would also meet with my career and personal development coaches once every two weeks, alternating between each coach weekly. When I met with my personal development coach I would discuss my progress in building and enhancing my skills for my next challenge in life. My mentor would give me self discovery exercises, references to read and small development projects to complete between the meeting sessions. My mentor also opened my mind to a wealth of opportunities that I would investigate and develop in later months and years.

Many successful people establish their own personal “Board of Directors” by identifying key individuals who can assist them in specific areas of focus. If you need a business mentor or adviser you proceed by identifying and choosing someone who has had considerable success and achievement in business. Finding the right mentor or business coach can have a significant affect on your life. A mentor can teach and guide you through your life journey and can be one of the best ways to achieve personal success. Mentors can also accelerate your learning curve by providing the knowledge to fill the gap of “What you don’t know you don’t know“. For example, a business mentor can provide you with the tools and resources to grow your business or to teach you the strategies and processes (tricks of the trade) for a new business opportunity.

Following is a process of finding the right mentors to build your personal “Board of Directors”:

  1. Identify a person in your domain or area of interest who has been successful and would make a great mentor. e.g. a business mentor
  2. Your next step is to contact the person via telephone or a written letter and request whether they can be your mentor.
  3. Don’t be afraid; the worst thing that can happen is that they say “No”.
  4. If you do get a “No” then continue to look for another possible mentor.
  5. Once you have found a group of mentors establish a meeting schedule with an agenda to maximise the full benefits of the engagement. I find that monthly meetings over a coffee or tea is the best approach.
  6. The engagement should be a “win-win” therefore it is important that you also provide some value back to your mentor. This could be in the form of new leads, new business opportunities, information of interest or business intelligence.

Don’t hesitate. Start identifying potential mentors today and begin building your personal “Board of Directors”.

Dr John Kapeleris

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In our current busy world being able to concentrate and focus is extremely important for work and everyday life. Focus can provide clarity and at the same time magnification of the tasks we want to achieve. If we focus on the high value tasks that will make the difference in our work and personal lives, then we can easily become successful. Focus has made many individuals and organizations achieve success beyond the achievements of their their nearest rivals who may be more diversified. e.g. compare Intel with Motorola – Intel is focused on silicon chips while Motorola is involved in a number of different products.

The key questions you will need to consider when determining your level of focus are:

  1. Am I focused on my strengths?
  2. Am I focused on high value activities to achieve my goals and objectives?
  3. Do I need to shift my focus?

Al Reis has been a strong advocate of “Focus”. He has stated that success is achieved in business and personal life when you narrow the focus. Al Reis also described a number of characteristics related to focus, including:

  1. Focus is simple, memorable, powerful and revolutionary
  2. Focus needs enemies, is the future, is internal and helps organizations and nations
  3. Focus is selective, easy to find, long-term, but isn’t forever

If you want to improve the concentration and focus of your mind, then you need to work out and exercise your brain.  The correct brain exercises will improve the way your brain works, and develop better focus and concentration. Brain exercises are excellent tools for people of any age who would like to strengthen their mind! Following are some simple and effective brain exercises that can help you develop and improve your brain concentration:

  1. Crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Crossword and Sudoku puzzles can help improve your concentration and at the same time are a lot of fun.  Crossword puzzles are great for strengthening your long-term memory, while Sudoku is great for improving logic based problem-solving. Taking only 15 minutes daily to work on crossword or Sudoku puzzles can benefit you. You can purchase a crossword or Sudoku puzzle book, check your daily newspaper, or search online to find free  puzzles.
  2. Eat foods that help your brain. Your brain will stay healthy and function effectively if nourished with nutritious foods. Proteins are great for the brain, and may be found in cheeses, meats, fish, and milk. Complex carbohydrates are important as well, and these come from fruits, vegetables, and grains. The brain also needs some fat, derived from healthy oils like olive oil or fish oils. Eat foods that include Omega-3s, such as trout, salmon, and tuna. Some nuts contain these fats as well and are healthy food for the brain. Other specific foods associated with improved brain function include, cacao beans (chocolate), green tea, Greek-style yogurt, blueberries, flak seeds and broccoli. Of course you will also need plenty of water – about two litres per day.
  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise not only improves your health and fitness, it also provides important oxygen and glucose to the brain through increased blood circulation. Walking briskly is one of the easiest and effective exercise routines to assist in brain function.
  4. Changing your daily routine. Changing your daily routine takes you outside your comfort zone, which challenges your brain. This influences and and improves your problem solving abilities. One way of achieving this is taking a different route to work or changing your morning exercise routine.
  5. Start a new hobby. Trying a new hobby is another way to expand your interests and use your brain to learn something new. Being busy and learning new things expand the way the brain thinks and gets you out of a rut. Join a local club or take a class at a hobby store or community college. Challenging yourself and improving brain function is something that any person can do.
  6. Brain training games and puzzles. Mental exercise for the brain can be achieved through brain training games and puzzles. Brain activities and puzzles can enhance the logical, analytical, creative, spatial, memory and problem solving abilities of the brain.

Make just one change today to stimulate your brain. You won’t notice any drastic changes overnight, but with time and practice, eventually you’ll find that you can solve problems more easily, improve your memory and enjoy improved concentration and focus.

Dr John Kapeleris

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Try the following Brain Puzzles and add your answers as comments:

  1. A man and woman are walking together. At this very moment their right feet are striking the ground. For every 3 steps taken by the woman the man takes 2 steps. How many steps must each take before their left feet strike the ground together?
  2. A horse trader brings a string of horses to a horse fair. As admission charge, he gives up one of his horses. At the fair he sells one half of those remaining and on the way out he is charged one horse as a trading fee.
    He proceeds to a second fair where similar conditions prevail. There he pays one horse to get in , sells half his horses he still has on hand and pays a single horse as a trading fee.
    Not content he proceeds to a third fair. Here again he pays one horse to get in , sells half of his horses remaining and is charged a single horse as a trading fee. He then has one horse left which he rides home with the proceeds.
    How many horses did he start with?
  3. A bag contains one marble, known to be either black or white. A white marble is dropped into the bag and shaken, and a marble is drawn out, which proves to be white. What is now the chance of drawing a white marble?
  4. A man pointed to a one person in a family portrait and stated, “Brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son”. Who did he point to?
  5. A hunter travelling by train to the forest carries with him his gun, which is 2.3 metres long. Unfortunately, the baggage regulations of the train company do not allow any object more than 2 metres long. How does the hunter get around the rule?

Good luck!

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