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Mindconnection eNL, 2004-11-21

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Please forward this eNL to a friend!  Free bonus:$125 shopping spree. (Some folks might really like it).In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tips
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Thought for the day


1. Product Highlights

Practical Math Course
If you've ever found math challenging, mystifying, or intimidating, this course is for you.

The author of this course used the techniques of this course to help an 8 year old girl overcome her math problems. At the start of the tutoring, the girl could not add any numbers that were more than single digits. Six months later, she was able to solve college-level algebra and trigonometry problems in her head. This course has been presented to adults in a classroom setting, and the results have been remarkable.

The basic problem most people have with math is not the math itself. It's poor instruction in math. This course fixes that problem, leaving the student with high levels of mathematical competence and personal confidence.

Practical Math
The ability to easily do math confers benefits well beyond being able to solve problems without a calculator (which is awfully convenient, sometimes). Working with math stimulates the brain to greatly expand its neural network. Working with math improves your ability to reason, use logic, figure things out, concentrate, and analyze information. If you've been held back from these benefits before, you can now break free--into a new and brighter future.


2. Brainpower tip

Many people think memory lapses are a necessary consequence of aging, and they are due to the brain's running out of neural connections. This isn't true. You can stimulate the brain to add neurons, at any age.

Each neuron has branches called dendrites. Every time the brain encounters a new experience, new dendrites form. Why is this? The cerebral cortex (where most of our information processing takes place) is essentially a pattern matching machine. New experiences require storing new patterns.

The reason most people experience a decline in mental prowess as they age is they fail to engage in new experiences that stimulate the brain properly.

In today's culture, there's a strong bias toward destimulation. Passive activities like television, for example, slow down brain activity. Researchers have determined this via PET scans and other methods that monitor brain activity.

There's also a strong bias toward destruction. People poison themselves with alcohol and other substances that cross the blood-brain barrier and kill brain cells. Combine that with passive activity, and you must stimulate the brain a pretty fair amount just to stay even.

You should note that if you are eating foods with aspartame, you are introducing alcohol into your blood and then into your brain, where it destroys brain cells. But, it's not grain alcohol. The body breaks aspartame down into wood alcohol, which is lethal in relatively small amounts. Don't eat aspartame.

You can stimulate your brain, and you should stimulate your brain. But how? And what kinds of experiences qualify as new vs. just  variation of the old? Good questions. The best answer is to think categorically. Here are some examples.

1. If you hate math, this probably means you avoid doing it. And this means you have a paucity of neurons developed for doing math. The math course mentioned above will help you solve this problem and ones related to it.

2. If you use your mouse with your right hand, stop. From this point forward, use it with your left hand only. This provides several benefits: increased speed (once you get used to it), decreased chance of carpal tunnel syndrome, and growth of new neurons. Expand this practice into other areas. Is there any reason you have to brush your hair with your right hand? Try writing with your left, if you are not already left-handed (or switch to the right, if you are). With practice you can become ambidextrous. The next step is to grip a pen with your toes--sounds silly, but it will make you smarter.

3. Change your routine. Remember, the stimulation comes from new experiences. Change which aisle you start with at the supermarket. Park your car by the south door rather than the north. Go to a different bank branch, occasionally. Change sides of the bed with your mate. Rearrange your furniture. Sit at a different chair at the dining table. Change the order in which you get ready for work or ready for bed. Just changing small things forces your mind to adapt.

4. Go somewhere you haven't been to--in the town where you live. If you live in a city or metro area of even modest size, there are many places you probably haven't been to. Make a point of visiting every park and library branch within 10 miles of your home. Then, expand the radius. Note the major shopping centers, tourist attractions, historical monuments, museums, and other places you may not have been to. When's the last time you went to the zoo?

5. Stimulate conversation. To most people, socializing is about trading inanities. One person asks, "How are you?" The other answers, "I'm great." Same pattern, all the time. And what do they talk about? Weather, sports, work, and gossip. To get out of that rut, ask a question about the other person's life. Rather than, "What do you do?" answered by "I'm an accountant," ask something like, "So tell me what a really good day would be like for you at work." Or you can ask any question that show an interest in the other person and requires that person to think to answer it. This breaks the bonds of inanity and opens the door to interesting conversation.

6. Blindfold yourself for a few hours. I was once blind for an entire summer, due to eye surgery. This made for quite the learning experience. You should try it. This might also make you more appreciative of your eyes. By this, I mean you will wear safety glasses when operating a lawn mower (as instructed in the owner's manual!), a saw, or any rotating equipment. If you think it's silly to wear safety glasses while working with tools, then wear a blindfold for three months. You will have a completely different opinion. You'll be smarter in more ways than one--you'll have new neurons and a new attitude about safety.

7. Read a book. A hardbound book. This hardly seems like a tip at all to some folks. It's like telling them to breathe. But, for many others it is urgent advice. Book readership is way down and the effects of this are showing in our society. Language skills have taken a nosedive over the past two decades. Reading stimulates many parts of the brain, depending on what you are reading. Generally, you will stimulate your language center and you will increase your attention span. In the book The New Brain ( you can read about the huge difference in attention spans between book readers and those whose primary information source is electronic.

3. Time Tip

Have the time speaker come to your next association meeting or put on a seminar at your company. Your whole group will be much more able to turn time into opportunity and opportunity into accomplishment.


4. Finance tip

Most of us fail to think of our finances in an integrated fashion. This is why a person might be carrying a balance on a credit card at 15% but will pay off the 2.9% car loan early. Or worse, have cash sitting in a savings account. You'd be borrowing at 12.1% on the car, and you'd be borrowing at 15% to maintain that savings account.

Strategy #1, for those not wallowing in debt.

Look at your highest-cost loan. You want to get rid of this one, first, to reduce your cost of borrowing. If you need extra cash to do so, then reduce payments into all of your other loans as much as possible. If you can borrow from a cheaper source, do so. For example, if you have a 15% credit card loan, use a home equity loan or a "bridge loan" to pay it off. Talk to your banker to see what your options are. Then schedule your payments as before, but make them into the highest cost loan so you can get rid of it. Note that this works only if the loan is such that an early pay-off saves you interest and doesn't trigger a penalty.

Strategy #2, for those wallowing in debt (those making minimum payments).

Look at your smallest loan. Pay it off first, to increase your cash flow (it will increase by the amount you used to use to make payments on that loan). Repeat with the next smallest loan. Don't get new loans. Instead, keep paying off the smallest loans, using newly-freed cash to pay off your loans faster. When you get sufficient cash flow, switch to strategy number one.

5. Security tip

90% of security involves prevention.
  • Don't be there. If you don't have to be somewhere dangerous, don't be there. Driving through the bad part of town simply puts you in the path of danger. Standing outside while your next door neighbor mows the lawn simply puts your eyes in the path of danger.
  • Take note of where your local IRS offices are, and avoid those areas. These people are heavily engaged in criminal activity and have the power to eliminate people they even remotely think might have stumbled on to a particular scam. If you encounter an IRS employee at a party, church, or other gathering of people, leave immediately. While it's possible this person may not be scouting for victims, you do not want to give this predator your scent. Don't tell anyone why you are leaving, just do.
  • Park carefully. Avoid parking next to vans or SUVs. These block vision in parking lots just as much as they do on the streets.
  • Unpark carefully. As you approach your car, look under it and the vehicles next to it. It's easy to hide under a car and yank someone down by the ankles. If someone does grab your ankles, grab your mirror for balance and twist your body sharply to one side (from the waist--you want to pivot on your feet and turn your ankles to break the criminal's grasp).
  • Never sit in your stopped vehicle with any window(s) open or the doors unlocked. If you are sitting in your car and a stranger raps on your window, Don't roll it down. Don't even crack it open. Just yell at it  and say something like, "Thanks for ruining my stakeout, pal. Wait until the captain hears about this!" Then, start your car and drive off.
  • When you are on foot in public, be alert. Criminals actually do lurk, just like in the movies. Like sharks, IRS agents, and other predators, they sniff out their prey before attacking. If they think you are distracted or in a fog, they see you as a much more attractive target. Often, they can attack before you have any clue something is wrong. And then it's too late.
  • Pay attention to your gut instincts. Your "gut instinct" really is in your gut. You have a "second brain" that senses danger. Don't ignore it. If you get a "bad feeling," leave the area quickly. But don't lower your head and hunch forward--a natural fear posture. Instead, pull your shoulders back and stand erect. If you are in a parking garage, you may consider yelling off a ways at a pretend person. "Dave! Hey, wait up for me!" Then, wave and smile as though you are acknowledging a gesture.
  • Don't let people stop you. A common ploy is to stop someone and ask for directions, the time, or pocket change. While you are distracted by the decoy, this person's partner attacks you from behind--especially if you have a hand in one of your pockets. Yes, we all want to be helpful. But we must do so carefully.


6. Health tip/Fitness tips

The season of gluttony is upon us! You can engage in the activities without adding so much fat that you can't work it off in the 10 months until the next season. Here are some tips.
  • Limit the number of functions you go to. This not only reduces the amount of time you are around high-calorie food, but it allows you to feel more comfortable at the ones you do attend rather than rushing to make them all.
  • If you are going to a party that is a "bring a dish" affair, suggest to the host or hostess that you would like to propose a prize to the person who brings the healthiest dish. Offer to supply the prize--it need not be expensive. Let folks vote, if they want. The idea here is to send a message and get people thinking outside the normal prison of bad diet choices. Out of dietary ignorance, most people don't know what a healthy dish is. But, they do know chips and cakes "aint it." So, this does tend to improve the selections. 
  • Don't eat gravy, dressing, or pie. These are calorie bombs. Eat the healthier fare, instead. Nobody else is going to really judge you if you do this. And, you will typically eliminate thousands of empty calories.
  • Crackers are loaded with hydrogenated oil. Unless you have a penchant for colostomy bags, don't eat crackers.
  • Focus on leafy green vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, turnip greens, red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, and so on. Nuts are also fine, just don't overdo it. Bring and eat foods that tend to be calorie light and nutrient dense. Go easy on the cheeses, and avoid them entirely if you can--cheese is very calorie dense.
  • Don't drink drinks, eggnog, or alcohol. These are calorie bombs. If you really need alcohol so you can stand to be with your relatives or coworkers at a party, then you have no business going to that party. Drink at taverns, not at parties. You will enjoy the parties better if you don't hide behind booze. Dinner wine? Major calories. Consider avoiding.
  • Drink a glass of water with holiday meals. This fills you up, and also takes time during a meal. Don't overdo the water, or you'll be running to the bathroom constantly.
  • Fill your plate once. No seconds.
  • Compliment the host/hostess on the food. Rave about something. This takes the attention off of what you are not eating. Then, change the subject and talk about something else of interest in their home. This takes the attention off of eating. If you can't find something of interest, ask the person across from you what book s/he is reading or what movie, play, concert, or opera s/he last saw and what s/he liked about it.

 7. Thought for the Day

Think of a person in your life. Now, come up with three questions you can ask to show you are interested in what is going on in this person's life. Take your time--for most of us, this is a challenge because it's new. Keep in mind you don't have to ask all three questions in the same day. If this person is especially important to you, try to keep a running list--so you always have three questions in reserve.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.

Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.

Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).

The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).

Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.

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