I’ve become an avid reader of brain research information. I’m reading the stuff that is designed for lay people, but I find it amazing that we know so little about how that three pound, forty watt glob inside our heads does what it does. I’m also amazed at how much we’re learning about it each day. One of the recent things I learned deals with the generation of new brain cells. When I was in school, we were taught that we’re born with all the brain cells we’ll ever have. Right off the bat we start killing them. And all the things that were fun were most likely to kill those brain cells and make us stupid.
A few years ago, researchers discovered that we do generate new brain cells. In fact, we crank out a whole potful (my technical term) every day. Now I read that if we don’t put those new neurons to work right away, they quickly perish. Giving our brains challenging work to do helps those new cells have a fighting chance at survival. I now make a game out of finding the hard way to do routine stuff each day. Doesn’t seem so challenging, but try brushing your teeth in a different order. It takes concentration or you either skip some teeth or brush them all over again because you drop back into the old pattern. Every one of your routine activities goes the same way.
Another thing I’ve taken up is finding a new word each day and trying to make it my own. Not just looking it up and saying, “Now I know another word for ‘serious’.” No I take the Pee Wee Herman approach to my word of the day. I work it into my vocabulary, and I look for it in other people’s vocabulary. I haven’t yet taking to screaming when someone uses it, but that’s not far off. One thing I’ve noticed is the people around me will adopt the word if I use it often, and it is familiar to them to begin with. If they’ve not heard it before, they’re less likely to adopt it.
Today’s word, by the way, is ubeity [u-BYE-it-e]. It means presence, as in position, or location. I found it while trying to come up with a usable domain name for our Online Presence Management practice.