Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. – Seneca

Even a First Person Shooter has a mental aspect, as you try to not get shot...

What does that mean?
What he is saying that muscles are built by labor (overcoming physical difficulties), and the mind is built by overcoming difficulties (of a mental nature). This includes learning of any sort, including games involving strategy or puzzles.

If I may be so bold, I would say that moral difficulties (temptation in specific) help you build your character. Like the other two (body and mind), repetitions and resistance will help you get better and stronger.

Why is mental effort important?
I imagine most of you know a few non-thinkers, people who just kind of float along on the river of life. They probably don’t know where they are going nor do they have any real plan for their life. They are in reaction mode, not thinking nor are they using their minds to their full potential.

Mental effort is what you do anytime you are working on a problem, expanding your mind, exploring, playing thinking games or otherwise being busy in the head. Some reports even say that the act of daydreaming can be helpful in mental development. Who would have thought that?

Mental effort goes hand in hand with mental toughness. If you come across a problem requiring thinking, and you don’t stick with it until you have solved the problem, your effort is wasted, isn’t it? Would we even know who Einstein was if he hadn’t stuck with his equations? He even said that it wasn’t that he was so bright, just too stubborn to give up on a problem.

Where can I apply this in my life?
We are surrounded by opportunities to apply our minds to problems, strengthening our minds and (hopefully) solving a problem or two in the process. Sudoku and KenKen are popular math games that give the brain a work out in the realm of math. Word Searches and Cross Word Puzzles are a great workout for the vocabulary as well as spelling and other verbal areas of the brain. They’re helping our minds get stronger, and they’re fun! WIN!

But on a more serious note, we all face challenges everyday. Whether it’s figuring out if we can get a large drink with our meal, based on our pocket change, or how to make it to all our meetings, we have thinking problems every day. Let’s take a look at a couple of things we can do most days to help strengthen our minds.

We tend to find ourselves stuck in problems (some of our own making, others that were made by our boss or someone else) from time to time. We can build our minds by working on solving the problems in which you are presently stuck. How do you fix it, work around it (or over or through it), or otherwise solve it? See if you can solve some parts of it, or reduce it’s impact. Know when to get additional help, but don’t just shrug and pass it on, right?

From time to time, things go badly. Sometimes very badly. I always try to find the lesson in the disaster. Should I learn to let go? Should I learn to look farther ahead? Should I plan better, and how? The trick for this aspect of mental development is to find a nugget of wisdom in the mistake, kind of like seeking the seed of triumph in every adversity.

Once we’ve gained a little wisdom from the ‘situation,’ it is time to figure out how not to do it again, right? Take some time to figure out what went wrong and what to do next time you find yourself in that situation.

The next step is to determine how to avoid a problem before it even comes up. If you have a pattern of having the same problem over and over, hopefully the prior paragraph helps you not have disaster after disaster. However, in this section, we’re trying to avoid the problem in the first place. Notice it coming and steer clear. This is another heavy thinking problem, and one into which few people have put much effort.

Don’t forget to have a little fun while you’re at it. I’ve mentioned a few games, but there are tons of others out there. Even games that include other people (shudder at the thought). The game aisle at your favorite store should have some, or you can visit the Mensa site and look for some of the best brain-development games out there (even for kids).

Just as working on your body can be fun (or drudgery, depending on your attitude and your skill at finding fun exercises), the same goes for the mind exercises. Keep your mind as agile and strong as you possibly can, and have fun in the process.

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna141401.html
Photo by Djenan

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2 Responses to Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

  1. kvta.net 20 June 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    I drop a comment whenever I especially enjoy a article on a blog or I have something to contribute to the conversation.

    It’s a result of the passion displayed in the article I looked at. And after this article Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. | philosiblog. I was excited enough to drop a comment 😉

    • philosiblog 21 June 2013 at 4:39 am #

      Thanks for the kind comment. Glad you liked it.

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