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Five easy ways to train your brain and become even more intelligent

Want to make yourself more clever, focused and creative? Of course you do. Hannah Stephenson speaks to Brainhack author Neil Pavitt, who reveals seven ways to open up your brain's full potential.

Did you know 95% of your brain's day-to-day activity is unconscious? According to creativity coach Neil Pavitt, author of a new book called Brainhack, you can unlock your brain to think smarter, become more focused, more creative and more innovative.

"Think of people with dyslexia. They might have learning difficulties, but they certainly don't have achieving difficulties. Einstein, Jamie Oliver and Jennifer Aniston were or are dyslexic.

"They have to use more of their visual brain and are good at seeing the bigger picture, while having to adapt to get over their difficulties with language.

"People with dyslexia are four times more likely than the rest of the population to become self-made millionaires."

He offers the following brainhacks to help our brains work better in everyday situations:


Verbalise your problem to a rubber duck instead of a person. Keep the duck on your desk and when you have a problem, explain it to the duck. By stating the problem out loud, your brain mentally organises all the information, simplifies the problem and engages more areas of the brain. Unlike a person, the duck won't interrupt, yawn or say he's too busy to deal with this right now.


Studies have found that the most productive people aren't the ones who work the longest, but those who take regular breaks. One study found that the 10% of employees with the highest productivity didn't put in longer hours than anyone else, but took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work. Don't switch on the news, which can create a negative mindset, but watch something more light-hearted such as a cat video or something funnier, which creates an open, happier mind and thought process.


Research has shown that people in a messy environment come up with more creative ideas. "There's an unconscious element that determines that in a messy environment, your mind wanders in different directions and enters more interesting areas."


Wearing the same outfit enables you to make fewer decisions. "Barack Obama is almost always seen in grey or blue suits. He says: 'I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing, because I have too many other decisions to make'. It gives you more brain energy for the rest of the day because your mind becomes more tired with each decision you make.


The smaller the unit of time a task is expressed in, the closer it seems and so the more likely you are to start working on it. For example, if you have a three-month deadline, express it as 90 days. In one experiment, participants were asked when they would start saving for retirement.

Some were told they would retire in 30 years, others that their work life would end in 10,950 days. Results showed that the latter group was likely to start saving four times sooner than the former.

  • Brainhack: Tips And Tricks To Unleash Your Brain's Full Potential by Neil Pavitt is published in paperback by Capstone, priced £10.99. Available now

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