It's All About You
Practice Proactive Realm Transfer
Yes, working on crossword puzzles and sodoku puzzles improves your brain's thinking -- but only in solving crossword puzzles and sodoku puzzles, unless you engage in realm transfer.
"Realm transfer" is a phrase I first saw in Outsmarting IQ by David Perkins. It refers to the application of lessons learned in one activity to another. A cited example asked if the strategies used in chess could be applied to warfare.
A young boy came up with a patentable invention to help his mother by putting a liquid-crystal-display thermometer on the side of a baby bottle; no more putting warmed-up formula on your elbow and risking a burn.
Proactive realm transfer involves thinking how everything you discover can be applied anywhere else, even before you have a problem to be solved.
Be Wary of the Influence of Ego
Beware of ANTs. Dr. Daniel Amen uses the acronym for "automatic negative thoughts", like "You're not good enough." They build on themselves in your brain, building channels in your neural pathways that become valleys, then canyons. The more you engage in wrong thinking, the easier it becomes. Changing these bad thinking habits is easiest when caught early.
Occam's Razor cuts both ways. Consider Ptolemy's epicycles, those circles-on-circles the ancients used to map the retrograde motion (as seen from Earth) of the outer planets into their perfect-circle image of the universe. Yes, the error stemmed from a geocentric view of the universe, but consider: When you combine the equations of motion due to gravity for Earth and an outer planet like Mars, you are left with a single formula that can be used to determine the location of that planet in the sky at some point in the near future.
Another reason to question everything: You don't know everything about anything, unless you are God. Misunderstandings often arise when the context of a problem is not sufficiently known.
Watch for hidden "superstition". Yes, most of you aren't superstitious. But there can be ways in which you unconsciously act on bias and preference. An example: Always demanding of yourself that you finish what you started. What if it is a dead end task? Or even if it isn't: Yes, the maze has a solution, but why are you even running the maze at all?
Yes, normally persistence is a very positive trait. But bullheadedness is not; make it a thoughtful persistence.
The converse is also true. You should not refrain from starting something simply because conditions aren't perfect to do so. Again, ask questions of yourself about it, and answer honestly.
Beware, but start with being aware.
Words often have emotional connotations that bias the hearer or reader.
An exercise: Read some of your older emails and check for emotional words. Did they suit the context in the way supporting your intention, or did they contribute to a negative perception? Consider making a set of lists for future reference containing words with positive, neutral and negative connotations. Example: committed, determined, persistent, stubborn, adamant, hard-headed.
The Yosemite Wolf Syndrome
The Yosemite National Park suffered a wildfire that ravaged the place a while back. Plans were made to restore everything, even to the point of importing wild wolves from Canada to replace those lost in the fire. The property wasn't ready when the wolves were brought down, so they were kept penned up for a period of time. When the park was suitably prepared, the wolves were released -- but they had grown so accustomed to the free food that they simply hung around the pens!
It is so easy to become a Yosemite wolf. The US welfare system is now supporting 4th-generation welfare recipients, primarily because the system is oriented toward perpetuating the situation -- there's no weaning.
In our own cases, we become so enmeshed in a fast-paced life that we accept the conditions that change, even though they are not in our favor. There are so many dyings of the lights in our life that we should rage against; there are many small deaths that may make the final one seem small, too.