MOTIVATION TO CHANGE
Here are five things to consider when challenging yourself or others to make a substantial change in learning over the summer:
1. Set realistic expectations.
The first step in changing the current situation is to find out what is considered “normal”, how you differ from it, and what can be done about it. If you are a fish, you will never climb trees! Get an assessment of the problem and map out a reasonable solution, one that you can believe is attainable.
2. What’s the POINT?
Find out how this change is going to make life easier for you. For many years (20), I have been doing brain training that requires intensive and repetitive exercises that slowly speed up the brain’s ability to process auditory sounds. It is paramount for those folks to understand why we are doing these exercises and what they will ultimately do to their quality of life when they are successful in processing faster. What do you want to get out of this? I tell them they will not need everything repeated, will be in the conversation, get the joke with everyone else, actually hear the words to the song, and even take better notes in class! You have to believe it will benefit you.
3. Figure out HOW IT WORKS.
Are you giving up countless hours steaming on the beach, hiking with friends, listening to music? Will those activities help your brain work better? Yes, you have to have a balance of work to play, but this training doesn’t take all day, so you have time to do both! Brain training has to be done consistently in order to convince neurons to fire faster – not think of the activity as a “novel event”. It has to burn a pathway by many repetitions (boring) but what was once a dirt road soon becomes a super highway for messages to speed through the brain after only 60 hours of exposure and dedicated effort. No magic pill, just helping your brain establish new connections. Once a new “set point” of speed is established, it never returns to the old speed! Just like riding a bicycle, once you know how – your brain has been stretched to knowing and you never forget even if you haven’t been cycling for years!
4. WHAT’s In It For ME?
It has to be meaningful – no one should change for someone else’s benefit. In the end, we all have to go it alone without parents, teachers, tutors, mentors, or even friends. How you are able to live with your own strengths and weaknesses always shows up in the mirror reflection. There is no amount of encouragement that matches truly doing well at a task. Setting a goal and accomplishing it brings self-esteem and a sense of well being. You can make decisions from a position of strength and the passion of doing what you love. So different than making life choices based on avoiding what you feel you can’t do well. Brain training for struggling learners levels the playing field and allows them to realize the potential that has always been there but was blocked by slow processing skills.
What are the rewards for spending a summer working on my brain? Well, not only do you process the world faster just by opening your eyes every day (remember, once it happens, it never goes back to the old sluggish processing speed), but also you can RETRIEVE all the good information you have learned over the years . . . but faster! So many light bulb moments, getting the double meanings of quick witted remarks, humor, and being able to now make inferences that eluded and confounded you in social situations! Well, how to tell folks of the quality of life issues THIS change provides? I know you just have to experience it, once you do, no matter the age 6 – 60 it is so worth it! I know when I sit with very young students that I have to want this for them MORE than they want it for themselves. I know what they don’t – it is just a few hours over a sea of summer hours available to them, and it will turn their whole academic career up a notch.
I have seen students who were struggling in 8th grade gain early acceptance at Cal Poly, and are now engineers, teachers, and computer scientists! I’ve taken children in early grades that were unintelligible through this training and they have gone on to become actors, chefs, travel experts and lecturers. This training makes a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. Now that IS REWARDING!