Today’s Lunch Menu–the Brain!

Have you ever been to a brain lunch? I went to my first one ever just before spring.

You mean they're not cooking up brain cell?

You mean they're not cooking up brain cells?

Okay, “Brain lunch” isn’t quite the right term. I didn’t eat the brain of an animal (ugh!) or anything like that.

The human brain—or more precisely, how to boost your brainpower—was the topic of the luncheon meeting for Women in Consulting (WIC) at Walnut Creek.

Use Your Competitive Advantage

The title of the talk: “A Competitive Advantage You Never Thought of Right Under Your Own Hat.”

What’s under the hat is, of course, our brain. (Don’t wear a hat? Why not consider it. Hats are making a comeback this year. Some absolutely adorable fedoras out there… Sorry, just an aside.)

The speaker, Sandi Smith, who has a masters in brain science, arrived on an uncharacteristically rainy day in the Bay Area to teach a roomful of women (and one man) how to create a more brain friendly lifestyle.

I arrived soaking wet, having failed to bring an umbrella or a raincoat. I could’ve been miserable, but I wasn’t. Instead, I was excited: brain fitness is a subject I’m passionate about.

It was pouring rain

It was pouring rain

Boosting Your IQ by 10 Points

The speaker promised us tips on how to improve our brain—even raise our kids’ IQ by 10 points. That grabbed my attention. I don’t have children but I sure could use some pointers on increasing IQ points.

So what’s the secret? For starters, you need to know that you can change your brain. Not everyone know that. Eons ago, when good old Tyrannosaurus Rex still scavenged the earth, scientists believed that once we were past childhood, our brains were pretty much immutable. No new brain cells were generated, the brain networks were more or less fixed, and the brain didn’t change significantly. We were set—or, in my case, damned—for life.

Shaping Your Brain Like Play-Dough?

But joy oh joy; today, neuroscientists agree that the brain is plastic. “Plastic” means the ability to be molded, to be shaped. The brain, it turns out, is more malleable and changeable than once believed. The brain can change with learning. It can generate new cells and reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences.

Now, to get back to Sandi and how to make your kids smarter. There’s a way to do it that she says is counter-intuitive but easy to implement:

Praise your offspring for the effort she makes, not for the results she produces. In other words, even if her ability isn’t quite where you want it to be, give her lavish praise whenever she makes the attempt to reach an outcome you both want.

For instance, when you go to your child’s ball game don’t say, “Go hit a home run!”

You may think you’re supporting your kid, but you’re not. The child doesn’t have complete control over whether he hits a home run or not. So you praise him instead, on trying.

If you do, you’ll both be happier, and you’ll start seeing the results you want.

Praise to Raise Your Child’s IQ

One thing to keep in mind: how you praise is important. Just by saying, “You can do it”—you’ll boost your child’s IQ by 10 points, according to Sandi Smith.

Okay, that’s the quick and easy way of raising smarter children.

I’ll write more in future posts about Sandi’s message of hope. After listening to her, I felt alert and alive. Her presentation was most certainly excellent. It more than made up for the terrible food the restaurant served. My goodness.

Oh well, it all worked out for the best. Because I couldn’t choke down more than a single bite of my lunch, my hands were freed up to take copious notes.

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