Concentration exercises to strengthen your brain
What if concentration exercises were more successful?
In 1991, the Fast Track Project began. A multi-year study project during which 386 kindergarten students were observed into adulthood. The ambition of this project was to find out what was the greatest predictor of success in life. 1
To their surprise, the researchers discovered that it was neither the IQ nor the social background of the children that determined their success, but their ability to concentrate.
They found that the students who had the best ability to concentrate at school were also the most successful not only in their studies but also in their working lives, despite their IQ or social background.
And for good reason: concentration allows for better memorization, in-depth study of subjects, increased productivity and less stress.
The advantage, unlike IQ or social background, is that it can be trained.
So in this article, you will discover 10 concentration exercises that will allow you to train your brain. But before getting to the heart of the matter, we will see how our brain is a muscle and why it needs to be trained.
Consider your brain a muscle
Your brain is like a muscle, it gets stronger when you train it and weaker when you don't train it hard enough. It also needs a rest period after working, just like your muscles.
When you do a sports session and you are at the end of your strength, it seems impossible to do one more rehearsal or run another kilometer. All you want to do at that point is to stop.
Just like when you read a long article and want to stop to open a new tab and do something else that is less mentally tiring.
Yet it is when you push yourself in these difficult moments that you make the most progress. If you decide to go further, you will be surprised how much strength and concentration you still have left. It is when you are in this zone of resistance that you develop your physical endurance the most, but also your mental endurance.
Credits to Robina Weermeijer from Unsplash.
If you want to improve your concentration and fitness, there are no "secrets", "hacks" or shortcuts. It all comes down to work.
To become better, you need to exercise daily, eat properly, get enough sleep and challenge yourself.2
You won't reach the top right away. If you have trouble concentrating for more than 10 minutes without interruption today, don't expect to be able to stay focused for 45 minutes straight by tomorrow. Just as if you do 10 push-ups today, don't expect to do 200 push-ups in a row overnight.
You need to train regularly and gradually increase the challenge. First by concentrating for 10 minutes, then 15 then 20… The more you train, the easier it will be for you to concentrate.
In the following parts, you will, therefore, discover several concentration exercises, which will help you to strengthen your attention.
The red thread technique
This technique is certainly one of the most useful because it not only improves your concentration but also helps you to develop your thinking, solve problems efficiently, make better choices and develop your imagination.
The red thread technique consists in choosing a theme, a problem, a subject… in short, choosing a red thread and reflecting on it for a given time until you reach a conclusion.
This reflection must be internal and uninterrupted. You are not allowed to use external resources. So no computer, no smartphone, no book, no request for advice. You must come to a conclusion on your own.
By thinking intensely about something without any support, you exercise your concentration.
When you have a problem in mind to solve, you are forced to direct all your thoughts towards it without getting distracted. Because as soon as you let yourself be distracted, you lose the thread.
So you have to draw on your knowledge, connect concepts and ask yourself questions to reach a conclusion.
Let's take a concrete example to better understand how this technique works.
The other day I was walking in an old district of Paris and I was wondering how a person who lived in the same district 200 years ago would react when he saw all this modernity.
For 5 minutes I concentrated on this subject by imagining the situation in the smallest details.
I told myself that this person might recognize some old buildings that are still there today.
I imagined that the sounds she would hear would be completely different. Then he would hear the sound of carriages and horses, now he would hear the sound of cars and horns.
The smells would also be different. I wondered if she would not have difficulty breathing with the level of pollution she didn't experience 200 years ago.
After five minutes of reflection, I concluded that this person would probably be very anxious.
Why would that be? Because he would have very few points of reference. Few things would be familiar to her.
And what made me think she would be anxious? Because when a person is in a situation that is very foreign to them, they feel insecure, and when they feel insecure, they are afraid.
While doing this little exercise, I was forced to concentrate. To imagine myself in that person's skin and to feel what they might potentially feel.
To come to my conclusion I had to ask myself questions which forced me to concentrate to provide an answer.
Here I took a trivial example but you can do this exercise with anything.
I sometimes use this technique to find new customers, to optimize my finances, to find new ideas, to optimize my processes…
All I have to do is focus intensely on my problem, ask myself questions, connect ideas with each other until I come to a conclusion that I think is good enough.
What I notice is that the more I manage to concentrate, the better my quality of reflection.