Tag Archive | smart

Simple but Intelligent Word Choices

#10: Lucid

Definition:

very clear and easy to understand; able to think clearly

Words It Might Replace:

clear, logical, orderly (describing an explanation); rational (describing a person). The word’s original meaning, by the way, is “suffused with light.”

Example:

“But instead of a lucid narrative explaining what happened when the economy imploded in 2008, why, and who was to blame, the report is a confusing and contradictory mess…” – Frank Partnoy, The New York Times, January 29, 2011

#9: Austere

Definition:

marked by rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self–denial

Words It Might Replace:

simple or plain, especially when you’re describing something that is strict or without comfort

Example:

“This is the austere beauty of the desert: limitless vistas, clear skies, dramatic topography, an unforgiving environment for life of any kind.” – James Fallows, The Atlantic, October 2008

#8: Volatile

Definition:

likely to change in a very sudden or extreme way; having or showing extreme or sudden changes of emotion

Words It Might Replace:

unstable; emotional; unpredictable

Example:

“Prosecutors want to demonstrate that Bonds treated those around him in an abusive and hostile manner and that his volatile nature was also the result of steroid use.” – Christian Red, New York Daily News, March 17, 2011

#7: Stoic

Definition:

showing no emotion especially when something bad is happening

Words It Might Replace:

unemotional; uncomplaining; cold

Example:

“Hockey also gives normally staid, stoic and polite Canadians license to be aggressive.” – Stuart Weinberg, Wall Street Journal (wsj.com), November 30, 2010

#6: Caustic

Definition:

marked by sharp or biting sarcasm; very harsh and critical

Words It Might Replace:

critical, hostile, snarky; nasty; sarcastic

Example:

“This world loves bickering buddies…. [T]here’s plenty of fondness for comedies built around caustic and amusing back–and–forths between two people that, at the drop of a hat, either want to kill each other or cuddle.” – Christopher Bell, blogs.indiewire.com, April 27, 2011

#5: Maudlin

Definition:

showing or expressing too much emotion especially in a foolish or annoying way

Words It Might Replace:

sappy; schmaltzy; overly emotional

Example:

“His daughter’s account of his final days manages to capture the emotion without becoming maudlin.” – Glenn C. Altschuler, NPR.org, April 28, 2011

#4: Lurid

Definition:

causing horror or revulsion; involving sex or violence in a way that is meant to be shocking

Words It Might Replace:

shocking; sensational; gruesome

Example:

“Like articles about drug busts, this sort of story [about a prostitution ring] produces lurid, boldface headlines that catch the reader’s eye.” – Mark Drought, Stamford Advocate, April 13, 2011

#3: Glib

Definition:

said or done too easily or carelessly; marked by ease in speaking to the point of being deceitful

Words It Might Replace:

careless; insincere

Example:

“A time may come when Tiger Woods will be glib and ebullient and full of witty observations about golf. But I doubt it.” – David Jones, pennlive.com, April 15, 2011

#2: Cavalier

Definition:

having or showing no concern for something that is important or serious

Words It Might Replace:

thoughtless or careless, especially when you’re describing a disregard for consequences

Example:

“Many took issue with [Kristen] Stewart’s rather cavalier use of the term [“rape”], even if it was used in a metaphorical sense…” – Michael Jordan, BlackBook, June 4, 2010

#1: Demure

Long and exotic words (like defenestration or sesquipedalian) are often more fascinating than useful. By comparison, this list offers words that can enrich a conversation without sounding ridiculous.

Definition:

not attracting or demanding a lot of attention; not showy or flashy; quiet and polite

Words It Might Replace:

modest; unassuming; shy; coy

Example:

“As William and Kate sang prayers from the specially designed hymn sheets, the two sisters looked on unassumingly. But despite their demure appearance, rumours even began to surface today that one of the women was a secret ‘ninja nun’ intended to protect the Royal couple by pouncing on any intruders.” – Daily Mail, May 1, 2011

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Tips to Improve Your Business Vocabulary

Written by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, Syntax Training

In the business writing classes I lead, people often tell me they want to use the right verbiage to come across professionally. The first tip I offer them is to get rid of words such as verbiage, whose meaning has been muddied and is not what people typically think it is. (Read my blog post “Watch Your Verbiage” to learn the many meanings of verbiage.)

Apply these tips to improve your language:

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How to: LEARN

By http://www.psychotactics.com

There are two ways to eat a cake.
You can eat it in small pieces.
Or gobble the whole thing down.

Most of us would like to gobble, whether it comes to cake or learning

And like cake, learning needs to be tackled in small portions. Small portions not only help you learn, but help you learn a lot faster. Here are three core reasons why:

1) The sleep factor
2) The tiredness factor
3) The mistake factor.

Let’s start with the sleep factor

When you learn something, the brain tries to make sense of it. And then it goes about doing whatever it’s supposed to do. Then you go to bed.  You might get just 6 hours of sleep, but in that time your brain is processing parts of your day. And if you’ve learned a new skill, there’s a good chance it’s doing just that—processing your new skill.

My niece, Marsha is just 8 (at the time of writing this article)

And she comes across to my office to learn to implement a concept called Bal-Vis-X. It’s a combination of skills that make students sharper and smarter than ever before. But here’s what happens during our exercise.

At first, Marsha struggles with a new exercise (there are over 300 exercises in the entire program). And we don’t force the issue. She just goes home and goes to sleep. Then she comes back for the next session. In between those two sessions, nothing has changed. The only difference is the sleep factor. Yet, almost immediately you can see the difference.

And the same applies to your learning

You can learn just about anything. And then it’s time to sleep. The very next day there will be a difference. Whether you will be able to discern the difference or not isn’t relevant, there will be a difference, nonetheless.

Over weeks and months you’ll be able to see a chunky difference. And sleep, believe it or not, plays a massive role. So yes, turning off that stupid TV (yes, stupid) will make you a lot smarter.  But then, can’t bulk learning make you smarter? Surely the brain can absorb a lot more information at one go. Yes it can, but there’s a problem called tiredness that steps right in.

2) The tiredness factor

Bulk learning is plainly ineffective when compared with daily learning—and you don’t need a research scientist to tell you that. If you’re flirting with a new skill, the brain is under tremendous pressure. It’s trying to absorb what’s being written, work out the context and—because it’s a skill—apply it to your job or your life. Think about the amount of glucose that sucks up from your body. Now multiply that learning over 3 hours, or a day, and what you’ll find are drop outs.

It would seem that you’ve heard it all, and yet unless you have a phenomenal ability, there’s a chance you lost little chunks past the first ten minutes of instruction. As the learning advances, you start losing bigger chunks.

Now admittedly this depends on your level of skill. Let’s say you already know a lot about Photoshop, and you’re sitting in a Photoshop seminar, your brain doesn’t strain too much. But the moment some new features come up, your brain has to do a fair bit of work. The more facts you have to remember the more tired it gets and dropouts are inevitable. It’s only when you see the work of others, working on the same exercise, that you realise how many subtleties you’ve missed.

When you do daily learning, you get to re-examine what you’ve learned—and what you’ve missed. And this brings us to the third part: The mistake factor.

3) The mistake factor

If you do something every day, you learn from new mistakes every day. If you bulk your learning the mistakes are all a blur. But daily mistakes get highlighted. And not just your mistakes, but in a group, the mistakes of the entire group. There’s more than a good chance that a group of just 5-7 people will make as many as 5-15 mistakes in a single day. This is because everyone interprets information differently, and executes differently.

So you get to learn—and more importantly, revise what you know. And what you don’t know. Bulk learning is not as efficient, because the mistakes are made en masse, and the teacher may not be overly keen to point out 35 mistakes in one day. Over a week, 35 mistakes are just 5 mistakes a day. Every mistake gets its own spotlight and hence you get the chance to eliminate those mistakes systematically.

And yet most of us believe in bulk learning

And this is because we’re in a hurry. Yet, the best way to learn something, is to slow things down considerably. It takes most people about 2-3 years to become extremely proficient at a skill like writing or drawing. Yet with the right teacher and the right system this can be shortened to just 6-8 months. And that’s because the pace slows down considerably. You detect and fix more errors. And what is talent, but the systematic reduction of errors?

You’ve done the  gobble-gobble learning and you know the results.

Now try the daily learning. Better still, try it in a group.

And prepare to be amazed.

Photo credit: http://homebrewedchristianity.com

5 Things That Really Smart People Do

Don’t get in the way of your own learning. Here are five ways to step aside and continue to increase your smarts.

By Kevin Daum @ http://www.inc.com

Most people don’t really think much about how they learn. Generally you assume learning comes naturally. You listen to someone speak either in conversation or in a lecture and you simply absorb what they are saying, right? Not really. In fact, I find as I get older that real learning takes more work. The more I fill my brain with facts, figures, and experience, the less room I have for new ideas and new thoughts. Plus, now I have all sorts of opinions that may refute the ideas being pushed at me. Like many people I consider myself a lifelong learner, but more and more I have to work hard to stay open minded.

But the need for learning never ends, so your desire to do so should always outweigh your desire to be right. The world is changing and new ideas pop up everyday; incorporating them into your life will keep you engaged and relevant. The following are the methods I use to stay open and impressionable. They’ll work for you too. No matter how old you get.

1. Quiet Your Inner Voice

You know the one I am talking about. It’s the little voice that offers a running commentary when you are listening to someone. It’s the voice that brings up your own opinion about the information being provided. It is too easy to pay more attention to the inner voice than the actual speaker. That voice often keeps you from listening openly for good information and can often make you shut down before you have heard the entire premise. Focus less on what your brain has to say and more on the speaker. You may be surprised at what you hear.

2. Argue With Yourself

If you can’t quiet the inner voice, then at least use it to your advantage. Every time you hear yourself contradicting the speaker, stop and take the other point of view. Suggest to your brain all the reasons why the speaker may be correct and you may be wrong. In the best case you may open yourself to the information being provided. Failing that, you will at least strengthen your own argument.

3. Act Like You Are Curious

Some people are naturally curious and others are not. No matter which category you are in you can benefit from behaving like a curious person. Next time you are listening to information, make up and write down three to five relevant questions. If you are in a lecture, Google them after for answers. If you are in a conversation you can ask the other person. Either way you’ll likely learn more, and the action of thinking up questions will help encode the concepts in your brain. As long as you’re not a cat you should benefit from these actions of curiosity.

4. Find the Kernel of Truth

No concept or theory comes out of thin air. Somewhere in the elaborate concept that sounds like complete malarkey there is some aspect that is based upon fact. Even if you don’t buy into the idea, you should at least identify the little bit of truth from whence it came. Play like a detective and build your own extrapolation. You’ll enhance your skills of deduction and may even improve the concept beyond the speaker’s original idea.

5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger

Often people shut out learning due to the person delivering the material. Whether it’s a boring lecturer, someone physically unappealing, or a member of the opposite political party, the communicator can impact your learning. Even friends can disrupt the learning process since there may be too much history and familiarity to see them as an authority on a topic. Separate the material from the provider. Pretend you don’t know the person or their beliefs so you can hear the information objectively. As for the boring person, focus on tip two, three, or four as if it were a game, thereby creating your own entertainment.

Photo credit: http://financialpostbusiness.files.wordpress.com

7 Ways to Overhaul Your Brain

While most exercise is focused on strengthening and improving your physical body and muscles, there is very little focus on keeping your brain sharp and healthy. This is interesting because the brain is obviously the most important organ in your body, not only controlling the muscles people spend hours working to build up, but also your memory, thought process, attitude, etc. Don’t get me wrong, abs are great, but the brain needs to be supplemented too. It is far more important to your overall well-being. Here are the best exercises/activities that you can do to keep your brain in tip-top condition:

1. Challenge Your Brain

The majority of people are stuck in ruts. They go to the same job everyday, hang out with the same friends and eat at the same places. While that may feel safe, it’s not the most stimulating lifestyle for your brain. Those synapses have been built up enough, so try something that you do NOT know how to do! Buy a model car kit, master the art of sudoku or crosswords, or go pick up another major at your nearest college. The point is you need to be learning new things to keep your brain honest. Form new synapses by forcing your mind to work in ways it has not worked before. Just like physical workouts, doing too much of the same exercise will eventually give no results. Switch it up!

2. Brain-Food

Eat:

– Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly fatty fish and grass-fed animals. Omega-3′s are instrumental in making your brain membranes fluid, allowing signals to be passed back and forth. Obviously communication is pretty important in the brain, so keep those signals flowing!

– Enough food everyday! Your brain needs energy too, not just your muscles.

Do Not Eat:

– Too much cholesterol, high amounts are linked to brain diseases like Alzheimers.

– Too much fat, sugar, etc. All of that bad stuff is linked to brain health in addition to overall bodily health! System-wide diseases like hypertension, Type-II Diabetes and obesity have been linked to loss in cognitive ability and memory loss. If it’s not good for your physique, it’s probably not good for your brain either.

3. Sleep Well

R.E.M. sleep is critical for the for being able to retain information and maintaining learning ability. Sleep is the time when your brain resets, builds new synapses and brain cells and rids itself of the by-products of normal use. Sleep deprivation leaves you feeling not only tired, but less able to perform simple to advanced cognitive functions. So make sure you are getting that healthy minimum of 6, if not 8 hours of sleep per night. If that’s impossible, take a short nap during the day. Naps can do a lot more than you think, so use the info below to decide how long of a nap you need:

2-5 Minute – Reduces sleepiness

5-20 Minute – Increases alertness, stamina and cognitive performace.

20-30 Minute – Perks of the 2-20 minute nap, plus helps with muscle memory and clears the brain of information build-up, hence improving memory ability.

50-90 Minute – This get’s into the REM sleep cycle, so it helps with memory consolidation and virtually everything else. REM sleep is the one cycle that we as humans need to live without going. Alternate sleep cycles adjust the body to going directly into REM sleep, skipping out on the other non-important cycles. This nap will leave you a little groggy but will reset everything and restore complete cognitive power unless you have a massive REM sleep debt built up already.

4. Remember Stuff!

When it comes to memory, the use it or lose it rule applies. And considering your cognitive ability is relatively useless if you cannnot remember what you learned yesterday, you should probably start using it. Try pulling out an old photo album and recollecting entire days or events related to the photos you see. Really try to recall even the most insignificant of details; this should be a workout for your brain. Even try to remember a full conversation that you had yesterday, anything that get’s your memory going. If you’re having a lot of trouble with even those exercises, start a journal to get yourself to remember at the end of each day. That will build you up immediately so that you can start remembering less recent events.

5. Relax Regularly

With constant activity, overthinking and stress, your brain can get very over-loaded with a bunch of thought that just does not need to be there. More importantly, stress increases the chances of dimentia and Alzhiemers. Stress relseases the fight-or-flight hormones into your brain, reducintg your ability to think clearly. So throw out the insticts and relax instead: Take 15-30 minutes during the day and just sit in silence. Eyes open or closed, breath deeply for a little bit and try to empty your mind. Think about nothing. Then meditate, pray, do yoga, or just sit there. Whatever suits you. Just get that relaxation break in during the day so you can clear your mind.

6. Concentration

The ability to concentrate is obviously huge in terms of cognitive ability. You will dramatically increase your ability to think clearly and efficiently if you are able to concentrate better. So:

1. Practice! While you are relaxing, concentrate on something. One thing that you want or a problem that needs to be solved. Keep your mind on that topic for the length of your relaxation period. This is much more difficult than it sounds so just keep doing it. If you space out, shake your head and go back to concentrating!

2. Realize when you are distracted and what is causing it. If it is something that is weighing on you, address it right there and then! If you keep getting distracted, you will just be inefficient at whatever you are consciously trying to accomplish.

7. Alcohol is a poison, you know…

Don’t go overboard. Alcohol is just bad for the brain in large amounts. Check out this page which lists a seemingly infinite amount of brain functions that alcohol abuse impairs. Memory gets hit pretty hard in addition to overall cognitive ability. If you feel the need to intoxicated, try other safer drugs (like marijuana) instead of the “devil’s juice”.

Via http://www.highexistence.com

Monday quote

In real world, the smarterst people are people who make mistakes and learn.

In school, the smartest people don’t make mistakes.

Robert Kiyosaki

P.S. “If you’re not embarrassed by work you did years ago, you probably haven’t evolved or developed much.”

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