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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Brain Rules


Just finished Brain Rules, a terrific book by John Medina (cool website too). Since he is a Developmental Molecular Biologist and Director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning & Research at Seattle Pacific University, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to understand anything that he wrote! He’s convinced me that the brain (even my brain) is more advanced than we give it credit for.

Medina has 12 rules. I think all of us can actually just read these rules and get something from it. However, I would encourage you to get the book ASAP. It’s simple, powerful and applicable.

Rule #1 EXERCISE. Exercise boosts brain power.

Rule #2 SURVIVAL. The human brain evolved, too.
Rule #3 WIRING. Every brain is wired differently.
Rule #4 ATTENTION. We don’t pay attention to boring things.
Rule #5 SHORT-TERM MEMORY. Repeat to remember.
Rule #6 LONG-TERM MEMORY. Remember to repeat.

Rule #7 SLEEP. Sleep well, think well.
Rule #8 STRESS. Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
Rule #9 SENSORY INTEGRATION. Stimulate more of the senses.
Rule #10 VISION. Vision trumps all other senses.
Rule #11 GENDER. Male and female brains are different.

Rule #12 EXPLORATION. We are powerful and natural explorers.

Here are just a few ‘nuggets’ that reinforce much of what you’ve already heard and seen at For Impact.

  • The whole VISION thing. Double meaning. The ability to see into the future, and just simply just the ability to see. This rule and chapter highlight the idea of PRESENTATION TOOLS, engaging both sides of people’s brains, etc. It’s terrific.

  • MULTI-TASKING is an illusion. We need to FOCUS and PAY ATTENTION on what we’re doing.
  • The *TRINITY MODEL. I’m not kidding. Medina talks about 3 separate but full integrated systems in the brain.
    1. The Alert/Arousal Network
    2. The Orienting Network
    3. The Executive Network

    *You know how much I love the number 3. It also so happens we have 3 BRAINS, the human brain, the mammalian brain and the lizard brain.

  • A lot of good stuff on EMOTIONS which can be applied to what we do. This scientifically backs up master motivator Zig Ziglar’s “People buy on EMOTION and justify with LOGIC.”

Finally, there’s just a bunch of great stuff on CHANGE! One fascinating story was about John McAdam, the Scottish engineer in the early 1800’s. He looked at the difficulty people had trying to move goods and supplies over muddy, frequently impassable dirt roads; and came up with the idea of raising the level of the road using layers of rock and gravel. Now called Macadamization, this idea literally CHANGED everything, as it gave dependable access to people’s goods and services… trade grew… etc. By CHANGING the way things moved, McAdam changed the way we lived.

Medina’s book is filled with really interesting stories like this. It also comes with a terrific DVD that worth’s watching.