Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Jumpstart Your Brain Challenge: Week 3

It’s the Getting There That Counts


Here we are in week three of strengthening the brain. By now you have a list of dreams and possibilities. Some of my readers are anxious to jump in to “get things done.” It’s okay if you’ve started tackling some of those goals. I understand. Some readers want to take this one-step at a time. That’s okay, too. 


All I ask is that you read each week’s challenge and mull it over. Let it soak into your being. Write it down. In fact, I recommend you journal your way through the rest of this experience. It need not be a fancy, leather bound journal. A spiral notebook will do. You have already listed the items on your bucket list and organized them in a meaningful way. You are already “journaling.” 


This Week’s Challenge:

In this quest to strengthen our brain function, we started week one by listing dreams we would like to see fulfilled and ideas we wanted to see come to life. Last week I asked you to organize and assess the items on your list. It is a valuable first step. 


Too often I see people try to skip that step. They have one idea they feel so passionate about they jump in only to discover they were missing valuable resources to make it happen. Instead of trying to grow or learn or tackle the project from a different direction, they lose steam and give up. 


The simple truth is this: You are not going to be perfect at anything on the first try. You need to plan, work at it, learn from it, and grow in it. 


In fact, if you really want a healthy and active brain, the key is the process. Not the product.


It is in learning to paint a picture, not in a blue ribbon at the art show. It is in crafting the story, not sunning in the glory of a best seller. Don’t misunderstand. I would love to paint a frame worthy picture. I would be thrilled to have a best seller. I’m not saying the product isn’t important. I’m saying the process to get there is what keeps your brain healthy and strong. 


When I lived in Florida, I would drive by the same house nearly every day on my way to college. The small dwelling was on a busy intersection. Busy by country road standards. I watched as day-by-day, month-by-month, and yes, year-by-year the man living in that house built a boat outside. It was a big boat. Every piece of wood in that beautiful vessel was lovingly and painstakingly added over a period of several years. I was told that when the man finally finished the boat, he sailed it one time. 


Then he sold it. 


It was the process of building it that challenged him. It was the process that brought him joy.


Process is indicative of action. Product is a final outcome.


One of the items on my list is to play the piano. As a young child, I took piano lessons. I had a smack-your-knuckles-when-you-missed-a-note kind of teacher. She also dozed off sometimes during our half-hour lesson. I never told my parents. It was my first experience with a teacher outside of school and she came highly recommended. 


I love music. I love to sing and I would be thrilled at being able to play the piano. Knowing this, my husband gave me a piano for Christmas one year. I enjoy my attempts with the instrument, but cringe at the thought of playing in front of others.


I’ve decided that’s okay. I don’t have to play for anyone else. I don’t need to perform at a recital or play hymns in church. Engaging with music and translating those notes to action in my fingers make me use parts of my brain I don’t ordinarily access. 


The gift is in the process. 


For these next few weeks I am working on two items on my list. I am playing my piano every morning and I popped a Spanish language CD in my car CD player. I also asked Alexa to teach me Spanish. She not only gives me a new word each day, but directed me to a free website to practice the language. 


Now it’s your turn. What is on your list? What one item seems slightly out of reach? Which items on your list will stretch you? What will you do to engage in the process of making your dreams come true?


Let me know. I’ll be cheering for you.


From my Bio:

Rebecca Waters, EdD, completed her undergraduate work at the University of South Florida and her graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati. She served as both a public school teacher and as a professor of teacher education. Rebecca taught for a year in a private school in Kosovo where she also served as the elementary principal and the school’s liaison to the American Embassy. Rebecca is the author of two novels, Breathing on Her Ownand Libby’s Cuppa Joe. All of her books, including three books on writing, are available on Amazon.


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