Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brain speed

The brain works in a mysterious way. It is as if the more you work on a certain set of problems, the more the neurons get connected, thereby speeding up your ability to think fast. Thinking fast leads you to move fast.

Don from our local dance academy used to talk about brain speed. He tells his students that they have to develop brain speed when learning to dance. It is not about dancing quickly. Rather, it is about thinking quickly what the next step is going to be and doing it right. You cannot learn to dance by just memorizing all the steps. You won't have enough brain speed to keep up with the music.

We can apply this to many instances. When a person learns martial arts, he is actually building up brain speed at the same time. His hands and feet have to move fast to a prescribed set of movements. In combat, a good fighter moves at a speed that is much faster than an average person. The speed does not come from his physical condition alone, but more so from a trained brain speed. That is what gives him the fighting edge.

If you are a guitarist, you will realise how difficult it was to change the chords when you first started learning. After a lot of practice, you can do so effortlessly. I am sure this applies to a drummer, a pianist, or any other musician. It is all about developing brain speed.

I used to tell my children that when they are learning maths, they have to practise in order to develop brain speed. It is not enough just to know how to solve a set of problems. They also have to be able to think fast. The only way to achieve this is through practice.

As I teach my daughter to drive, I tell her that what she is practising is brain speed. When she makes judgment on when to cross the road, she has to process all the information about the traffic condition quickly. A new driver cannot think and respond as fast as a seasoned driver. A seasoned driver can brake, switch gears, turn on the lights, honk, etc., almost simultaneously when needed to. A new driver will be exposing himself to danger if he or she so much as holds a coke in his hand.

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