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Some Good Mind Tricks

Although they can be entertaining, the following are more than just tricks. They are techniques for tapping into the power of your mind, and so have some practical uses. A good example of this is what I like to call the "pupil trick," which is actually a series of tricks or techniques you can use once you gain conscious control of your pupil size and learn to watch more carefully how other people's pupils react to various thoughts. I have written about that on the following page:

Mental Math

When I was in school, I didn't "show my work" in math class. In my thinking, 97 x 16 became 100 x 16 (1,600) minus 3 x 16 (48). It was easier that way, and it became almost automatic. In fact, I would just write down 1,552 even though I couldn't explain very well how I arrived at the answer. My teachers called that a problem, but many years later such math shortcuts were sold in seminars and books. You might want to learn a few of your own. You can impress your friends with your ability to do math problems in your head. I have a page on mental math shortcuts here:

Motivational Mind Tricks

To get motivated, talk about your plans. This is a simple, yet powerful mind trick. By the time I tell my wife about the newsletter I'm going to write, I'm out of my slump and back at the keyboard. You can quickly change your state of mind, but not by willing it to change. You have to use techniques like this one.

The more excited you are about your plans, the more this will work. If you don;t have any exciting plans at the moment, talk about whatever you are passionate about. It might be better to avoid topics that make you angry, but anything that gets your emotions engaged will essentially wake up your brain. Then you can get back to work on the task at hand while that mental energy is in your system.

What about motivating others? Take what works for you and find a way to apply it to another. For example, to get a friend out of a bad mood, you might get him to start talking. Specifically, you would want to get your friend to explain something to you about which he is passionate or excited. The process literally will change the chemicals in his brain and so change his state of mind. When you find the topics that work best for each of your friends or family members, try to remember them for future use.

Here's one more trick to motivate others. If you can't get them to talk, ask relevant questions about something they have an interest in. Just mentioning a new Star Trek movie to a friend who likes that series may not get him to talk or bring him out of his slump. But if you ask him whether he thinks Spock or Captain Kirk is more necessary to the Enterprise, and then ask why, he is likely to do more than just answer in a word or two.

Memory Trick

Suppose you want to remember a list of the following things: Soap, milk, honey, fork, and flowers. Start a vivid story in your imagination, adding items to it as you go: At the sink, reach for the SOAP, and find the soap dish full of MILK. Wash your hands with that, and then comb HONEY into your hair with a FORK. Finally, pick up a bouquet of FLOWERS and smile at the mirror. Repeat each item while mentally reviewing your "movie" and you'll remember all five things, even the next day.

Here's an example of how well these memory techniques can work. This is Keith Barry on the Ellen Degeneres Show...

Reading Trick

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

A newsletter subscriber sent me that one. If you're not sure just how gramatically twisted it is, try copying it and putting through a spell-checker.

Speed Reading Tricks

Try reading just the first and last sentences of paragraphs in a magazine article or even on this page. That's where most useful information usually is, like in the last sentence of this paragraph: Mind power comes from use, not from desire, so why not try these mental tricks?

For more techniques to speed up your reading, see the short lesson I have here:

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