Sharpen Mental Skills and Collect Memories

July 29, 2010
On vacation (or when you get home), play this game to sharpen your mental skills and help you collect memories for the future.

Alps from the airThere are two parts to this post’s Take-a-Break: curiosity and memory.

Develop Curiosity

An illustration for this first part is a picture I took while flying over the alps from Italy to Munich in early November 2007. I was puzzled by the patches of white against the dark ground. It looks as though this is snow on a hiking trail, or perhaps on a ski run, but it is only the beginning of November. Yet if it is snow, why would there be only white in these lines but not in the deep valleys?

There isn’t much snow yet on the peaks, so why are there breaks in the white, as though there are a deep holes filled with snow? If there wasn’t much snow on the mountains as a whole, why did the “snow” create a pattern like this? There are other areas that are in the shadow more than these appear to be and I assume they would continue to have snow, so what makes these areas special?

My interest in the photo is a little like that of members of the Google Earth Community who examine Google Earth pictures to find anomalies that are interesting to them. Look at an enlarged picture if you think that would help — and tell me if you have the answer.

Of course, there are many who would look at this and only think of it as a beautiful mountain scene. If they noticed the white at all, they would ignore it or file it as an-unknown-thing-not-worth-pursuing. Yet doesn’t it puzzle you? Don’t you wonder what it means?

What I’d like to suggest is that whatever you look at this summer (and of course, for the rest of the year as well), you look with questioning eyes. This could include pictures in print and on TV. Then, when you see something that is a puzzle, try to find out what it is.

There are a zillion things that I don’t know the why of, but whenever I take the time to see what they might be, when I ask questions about “why” they are the way they appear — even if I don’t find the answer — the mere fact that I’ve tried enriches my life.

Pay attention to at least one thing that you haven’t known how it is made, why it looks the way it does, or its possible purpose. Then pursue the answer.

Memory Recall Suggestion

The second suggestion for this take-a-break is to test your recall memory. For example:

If you look out the window of a plane, take a moment (15 seconds will do) to capture with your mind as much as you can. Then close your eyes and see how much you remember and open them again to notice what you missed. You’ll have to do this quickly, of course, since the plane is going so fast.

This is an interesting way to sharpen my mind when it’s feeling a little sluggish. And I think it helps when I play a game called pelmanism on the Internet that you may also enjoy. This is a memory card game in which a pack of cards is spread out face down and players try to turn up pairs with the same symbol. I use the easiest form with 12 pairs of animals. It helps me to make up a story about them as I go along, usually based on the first animal that appears. Try it. Keep your brain cells engaged.

Did you enjoy this post?
Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


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