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Construct of Optimal Intellect©
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Emotional Systems

This psychological system contributes a great deal to “Optimal Intellect”, and may have more of an overall impact on everyday life performance than any of the other components in this construct. Following are the primary emotional components that I believe contribute the most to “Optimal Intellect”.

Self-Awareness

Becoming self-aware is about developing a correct perception of your true self. Your strengths, weakness, personality traits, what you enjoy or dislike, what motivates you and what sets your emotions off in a positive or negative way. Developing a correct perception of your true self will also help guide you towards a vocation that you would truly enjoy and excel at in the future. It will also help you perceive other people correctly and understand how they perceive you, which are important tools on the journey towards a higher level of “Optimal Intellect”.

Note: Many people live in the ego state which I define as a delusional perception of one’s self. When you live in the ego state you will never come to know your true self.

Self-Concept

This emotional component represents an individual’s conscious or unconscious feelings about his or her intrinsic value as a person (self-esteem) and feelings about his or her abilities in specific areas such as school, sports, social interaction, art, music, etc. (self-confidence). Self-Concept influences an individual’s choices, goals, aspirations, expectations, judgment, and how they handle challenges and setbacks. It can even affect their ability to love and experience happiness. The biggest contributors for achieving positive self-concept are success, encouragement, praise and helping others.

Following are common symptoms a student may display when they have a poor self-concept.

  • Lack of confidence
  • Passive or lack of assertiveness
  • Excessive shyness or overly cocky or arrogant
  • Critical of others and self
  • Judgmental
  • Anticipation of failure
  • Jealous of others success
  • Gives up easily
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism
  • Low expectations and aspirations
  • No interest in goals or personal achievement
  • Difficulty bouncing back from setbacks
  • Follows rather than leads
  • Promiscuous
  • Fear of being rejected
  • Fearful of looking foolish
  • Afraid to take a risk or try new things
  • Test anxiety
  • Low expectations and aspirations
  • Dislikes school

Attitude

This emotional component represents an individual’s like or dislike for a person, place, thing, event, subject matter, or task. An individual’s attitude about a challenge or task determines the quantity and quality of attention, thinking and effort that they invest. However, individuals are constantly exposed to tasks that may not be interesting to them or seem irrelevant to their life, so they must learn how to intrinsically or extrinsically motivate themselves to get into the proper frame of mind for the task at hand if they want to be successful. An individual with a high level of “Optimal Intellect” has an intrinsic motivation that drives them to do and be their best in all areas of life.

Following are common symptoms a student may display when they have a poor attitude.

  • Lack of effort
  • Gives up easily
  • Assumes the negative
  • Chronic complaining
  • Blames others for their problems
  • Easily irritated
  • Excessive sensitivity to criticism
  • Stubborn
  • Difficulty admitting they are wrong
  • Jealous of others success
  • No interest in goals or personal achievement
  • Sloppy, incomplete work
  • Missed assignments
  • Refuses to study or do homework
  • Excuses and defense mechanisms
  • Resistance to help
  • Chronic procrastination
  • Chronic testing of limits
  • Lack of pride in work
  • Dislikes school

Emotional Self-Regulation

This emotional component enables an individual to deal with and manage negative emotions. Negative emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety and unnecessary worry and fear. These emotions get preferential attention by the brain. This is why our thinking is not at its best if we become angry, depressed, anxiety ridden or scared. This emotional component also enables an individual to control emotional impulses, which requires an individual to think before they act and have patience. Poor emotional self-regulation will usually lead to poor behavior and inconsistent social interaction.

Following are common symptoms a student may display when they have poor Emotional Self-Regulation.

  • Constantly worrying about something
  • Loses temper easily
  • Cries over nothing
  • Gets frustrated easily
  • Gets upset very easily
  • Moody
  • Fearful of many things
  • Anxiety ridden
  • Impulsive
  • Blurts out unkind things
  • Defiant
  • Delinquent behaviors
  • Unwillingness to accept rules
  • Chronic testing of limits
  • Inconsistent social skills

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to identify and share what someone else is feeling. Empathy is a highly complex feeling that comes naturally to some and can be difficult for others. Empathy is a pre-requisite for compassion, which is an attempt to alleviate another individual’s suffering. Compassion is one of few things in life that will bring immediate and lasting happiness to your life, and scientific studies show there are significant health benefits to showing compassion. It is also a pre-requisite for a conscience. Individuals who cannot feel empathy may feel no remorse or guilt for causing harm to others.

Common symptoms exhibited when an individual cannot feel empathy.

  • Poor social & communication skills
  • Difficulty showing or expressing their feelings
  • Lack of compassion for others
  • Self-Centeredness
  • Judgmental
  • Withdrawn
  • Indifferent
  • Closed or narrow minded
  • Sarcastic
  • Poor leadership skills
  • Lack of conscience
  • Exploit others
  • Narcissistic

Foundational Thinking Systems

In this construct I selected four Foundational Thinking Systems and four Integrated Thinking Systems that I believe contribute the most to Optimal Intellect. The primary function of the Foundational Thinking Systems is to supply the Integrated Thinking Systems with the information required to perform at their highest level. Each foundational thinking system analyzes information in different ways and each is equipped to handle parts of a task or a situation better than the other.

We are all going to have a foundational thinking system or systems that are dominate and we prefer using, which is called thinking style. Knowing an individual’s preferred thinking style can tell us a lot about their personality traits, occupations they may excel at and enjoy and how they learn best. Even though most of us have a preferred thinking style we must develop and maintain competencies in our least preferred systems. This enables us to respond more effectively and efficiently when a task or situation demands the use of our least preferred thinking systems. This will also enable the systems to work in an integrated synergistic manner and supply much better information to the Integrated Thinking Systems.

Following are explanations of the Foundational Thinking Systems.

Sequential Thinking System

The Sequential Thinking System helps us organize and comprehending detailed concrete information in a step by step precise linear systematic manner.

Individuals that have a dominate Sequential Thinking Style usually exhibit some of the following personality traits.

Positive Traits:

  • Organized
  • Structured
  • Hard worker
  • Prioritizes
  • Plans ahead
  • Good at managing time
  • Gets things done on time
  • Responsible
  • Dependable
  • Predictable
  • Follows rules
  • Works well independently
  • Detailed
  • Can memorize and deal with a lot of facts
  • Logical
  • Good with numbers or basic math

Negative traits of individuals that overuse the Sequential Thinking System and under use the other thinking systems:

  • Ridged in their thinking
  • Uptight
  • Totally set in their ways
  • Ridged in their routines
  • Scared to try anything new or take any kind of risk
  • Difficulty adapting to unexpected situations
  • Difficulty dealing with questions that could have more than one answer
  • Difficulty comprehending underlying meanings or reading between the lines
  • Can get teased or duped easily
  • Limited social skills
  • Poor sense of humor
  • Difficulty seeing the big picture
  • Difficulty dealing with abstract ideas and concepts
  • Does not like working in groups
  • Limited imagination and creativity
  • Can be very boring
  • Controlling
  • Can be obsessive compulsive

Some of the vocations that rely extensively on the Sequential Thinking System are:

  • Accountants
  • Bookkeepers
  • Project Managers
  • Computer Programmers
  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Production Oriented Engineers
  • Legal and Technical Secretaries
  • Proof Readers & Editors
  • Crime Lab Investigators

Convergent Thinking

The Convergent Thinking System helps us gather, analyze and evaluate proven concrete facts to solve problems or produce a correct answer. The Convergent Thinking System uses deductive reasoning and is very efficient. It is good at reducing the complex to simple and the unclear to clear. Students who have a well-developed Convergent Thinking System tend to do well on most academic tests because most are multiple-choice, true/false, and fill in the blank formats, which required memorizing facts and only one answer.

Individuals that have a dominate Convergent Thinking System usually exhibit some of the following personality traits.

Positive Traits:

  • Logical thinker
  • Pragmatic
  • Very efficient
  • Persistent
  • Good with material that contains a lot of facts and details
  • Good at breaking down and simplifying complex tasks
  • Can memorize a lot of facts and details
  • Good at linking previous knowledge to new information
  • Good at drawing concrete conclusions from data
  • Good problem solving abilities
  • Very systematic in attacking problems
  • Good strategic thinking skills
  • Good at determining a final goal or outcome to achieve
  • Good at determining the most efficient and practical way to achieve the outcome
  • Good at making adjustments in the plan when needed
  • Good at completing tasks in a practical efficient way
  • Good at organizing their efforts
  • Good at basic and advanced math
  • Keeps site of goals while thinking through the problem
  • Good at understanding concrete concepts
  • Gets to the point
  • Good at negotiating acceptable solutions

Negative traits of individuals that overuse the Convergent Thinking System and under use the other thinking systems:

  • Limited social skills
  • Can become obsessed with computers, books, facts, etc.(Nerd)
  • Limited imagination and creativity
  • Trouble understanding abstract concepts
  • Difficulty coming up with unique ideas
  • Difficulty solving problems that require creative or out of the box solutions
  • Lack of patience
  • Difficulty dealing with questions that could have more than one answer
  • Does not like working in groups

Some of the vocations that rely extensively on the Convergent Thinking System are:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Research
  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Engineering
  • Financial Planning
  • Detectives

Spatial Thinking System

The Spatial Thinking System is responsible for analyzing and interpreting your physical and emotional surroundings. This system is the dominate system for social thinking. It’s an important thinking system in the real world, but is not relied upon as much in the academic environment, because it is not great at acquiring semantic knowledge (book facts, symbols, rules, formulas, etc.). It is better at acquiring episodic knowledge (life experiences).

Individuals that have a dominate Spatial Thinking System usually exhibit some of the following personality traits.

Positive Traits of an individual that has a dominate Spatial Thinking style:

  • Good at reading emotional currents
  • Good at making friends and nurturing relationships
  • Works well with others
  • Shares with others
  • Fun with good sense of humor
  • Gets more joy out of giving than receiving
  • Caring
  • Shows compassion and empathy
  • Good at finding their way around or navigating the environment
  • Good at sports, dance, drama or other physical or artistic activities
  • Good at hands-on tasks
  • Excellent episodic memory (life experiences)
  • Good at dealing with unexpected circumstances (goes with the flow when necessary)
  • Intuitive
  • Sees the big picture
  • Has a good imagination

Negative traits of individuals that overuse the Spatial Thinking System and under use the other thinking systems:

  • Let feelings and emotions get to involved which can lead to getting taken advantage of
  • Difficulty dealing with complex detailed tasks
  • Unorganized
  • Irresponsible unless it pertains to something they have great interest in
  • Does not plan ahead
  • Resistance to establishing short and long-term goals
  • Does not prioritize (does what they feel like instead of what is most important)
  • Not very good with time management (late or always rushing)
  • Late or incomplete assignments
  • A lot of careless errors
  • Resistant to doing homework
  • Procrastination
  • Complacency
  • Does many things the hard way
  • Lack of persistence
  • Difficulty studying efficiently
  • Difficulty working independently
  • Difficulty with routines and rules
  • Difficulty with sequential order, such as the order of letters in words (often labeled dyslexic)
  • Academic underachievement

Some of the vocations that rely extensively on the Spatial Thinking System are:

  • Teaching
  • Social Work
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Ministry
  • Coaching
  • Actors
  • Human Resource Professionals
  • Physical Therapists
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Athletes
  • Dancers
  • Sales Representatives
  • Police Officers

Divergent Thinking System

The Divergent Thinking System is responsible for analyzing, evaluating and synthesizing information by asking the question, “what if?” It uses inductive reasoning to come up with multiple possible answers and ideas.

Individuals that have a dominate Divergent Thinking System usually exhibit some of the following personality traits.

Positive Traits of an individual that has a dominate Divergent Thinking style

  • Very imaginative
  • Creative
  • Comes up with unique ideas
  • Out of the box thinker
  • Sees the big picture
  • Good at reading between the lines
  • Good at brainstorming
  • Can come up with multiple possible solutions
  • Artistic

Negative traits of individuals that overuse the Divergent Thinking System and under use the other thinking systems:

  • Difficulty with material that contains a lot of facts and details
  • Difficulty drawing conclusions from data
  • Difficulty with practical types of problem solving
  • Difficulty completing tasks in a practical efficient way
  • Difficulty breaking down and simplifying complex tasks
  • Problem organizing their efforts
  • Problem with keeping site of goals while thinking through the problem
  • Not very systematic in attacking problems
  • Not good at linking previous knowledge to new information
  • Difficulty with following rules and schedules
  • Has trouble getting to the point
  • Tends to try and get through things as quickly as possible
  • Tends to give up and guess a lot
  • Procrastinates
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Difficulty managing time
  • Dreamers with creative ideas that never bring them to fruition

Some of the fields that rely extensively on the Divergent Thinking System are:

  • Artists
  • Architects
  • Composers
  • Choreographers
  • Inventors
  • Creative Writers
  • Fashion Designers
  • Interior Designers
  • Advertising Consultants
  • Graphic Designer

Integrated Thinking Systems

In this construct I selected four Integrated Thinking Systems that I believe contribute the most to Optimal Intellect. The key to the highest level of Optimal Intellect is for all the Foundational Thinking Systems and the Integrated Thinking Systems to work together in an integrated synergistic manner. If we can use all of our thinking systems in the appropriate combinations for the task at hand, we can come up with the best solutions, ideas, plans and actions that translate into obtaining goals and a variety of successes. Following are explanations of the Integrated Thinking Systems.

Conceptual Thinking System

The Conceptual Thinking System enables an individual to analyze a problem or situation and come up with better solutions by identifying patterns, connections, missing pieces and underlying issues. Conceptual thinking requires inductive and deductive reasoning, intuition and creativity. Conceptual thinking requires all the Foundational Thinking Systems working in an integrated synergistic manner to function most effectively and efficiently. For example Conceptual Thinking uses each thinking system for the following:

Divergent Thinking System

  • Identify patterns and connections and underlying issues
  • See the big picture
  • Synthesize new thought processes (brainstorm)
  • Generate new ideas and concepts

Convergent Thinking System

  • Helps determine if the idea is practical or useful
  • Determines the most efficient way to make it happen
  • Gathers facts to support an idea

Spatial Thinking System

  • Analyze feedback and interest that people may have of an idea
  • Assemble the right people to make it happen
  • Sell the idea to others (investors, customers etc.)

Sequential Thinking System

  • Helps determine if the idea is feasible to attain
  • Organize the steps to make the idea a reality
  • Helps with the persistence to stay on track

Innovative Thinking System

The Innovative Thinking System enables an individual to generate new ideas that are useful, and devise a strategy to make an idea come to fruition. This type of thinking must be creatve, pragmatic and persistent. Innovative thinking requires all the Foundational Thinking Systems working in an integrated synergistic manner to function most effectively and efficiently. For example it uses each Foundational Thinking System for the following.

Divergent Thinking System

  • Synthesize new thought processes (brainstorm)
  • Generate new ideas and possibilities

Convergent Thinking System

  • Helps determine if the idea is practical or useful
  • Determines the most efficient way to make it happen
  • Gathers facts to support idea

Spatial Thinking System

  • Analyze feedback and interest that people may have of an idea
  • Assemble the right people to make it happen
  • Sell the idea to others (investors, customers, etc.)

Sequential Thinking System

  • Helps determine if the idea is feasible to attain
  • Organize the steps to make the idea a reality
  • Helps with the persistence to stay on track

Critical Thinking System

The Critical Thinking System enables an individual to identify the obvious and underlying issues, evaluate the merits and weaknesses of an argument, choice, idea, concept or statement and arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Critical Thinking requires all the Foundational Thinking Systems working in an integrated synergistic manner to function most effectively and efficiently For example Critical Thinking uses each of the thinking systems for the following:

Divergent Thinking System

  • To evaluate the underlying issues
  • To read between the lines

Convergent Thinking System

  • To analyze the obvious concrete facts to back up a concept, idea, etc.

Sequential Thinking Systems

  • Look for inconsistencies or errors
  • Analyze the feasibility of a statement or project

Spatial Thinking System

  • Analyzing the talents of people involved in the plan, so they can be put into situations and tasks that utilize their maximum capabilities
  • Motivate people and encourage teamwork

Strategic Thinking System

The Strategic Thinking System enables an individual to establish a logical and practical plan for getting things done, solving problems and attaining goals. Strategic thinking requires an awareness of not only present time, but also future time. Strategic thinking requires all the Foundational Thinking Systems working in an integrated synergistic manner to function most effectively and efficiently. For example strategic thinking uses each of the thinking systems for the following.

Convergent Thinking System

  • Determines the final goal or outcome to achieve
  • Determines the most efficient and practical way to achieve the outcome
  • Makes adjustments in the plan when needed

Sequential Thinking System

  • Plan the steps and time involved to achieve the goal
  • Make sure the steps are followed
  • Uncover errors during execution of plan
  • Make sure the plan is operating on schedule

Divergent Thinking System

  • To visualize possible scenarios that may occur
  • Brainstorming to come up with creative ways to better achieve the goal

Spatial Thinking System

  • Analyzing the talents of people involved in the plan, so they can be put into situations and tasks that utilize their maximum capabilities
  • Motivate people and encourage teamwork

Some of the fields that depend a great deal on all of the Integrated Thinking Systems working in a synergistic integrated manner are:

  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Trial Lawyers
  • Scientific & Technical Innovators
  • Strategic Planners
  • Marketing Executive
  • Movie Producers
  • Head Athletic Coaches

Organizational Skills

Developing strong organizational skills enables an individual to handle responsibilities efficiently and systematically, and maximize productivity in every aspect of life. These skills also reduce stress and help create more balance in one’s life. Some individuals develop these skills easily and for others it takes a lot of effort. The good news is that everyone can develop these skills and they are definitely worth the time and effort involved. Even the most disorganized person can become organized by developing new habits and practicing them. Once disorganized individuals begin to derive benefits from the new behavior, they will be less resistant in incorporating organizational skills in their daily life and will derive pride from their new and more efficient procedures.

Physical Organizational Skills

Everyone should have "a place for everything and everything in its place,” so when you need something you can locate it without wasting time searching. The time an individual saves by organizing possessions adds up over time. Time that could be used to be more productive, or for things you enjoy doing.

Mental Organizational Skills

Mental organization requires three primary components (1) understanding how you function best or your working style strengths 2) establishing a prioritized, practical and logical plan for getting things done and (3) establishing a timeline for getting things done.

Financial Organization

Financial organization requires three primary components (1) money management (2) financial planning and (3) implementing proper financial strategies. These components should be taught to all teenagers to help ensure that they will be responsible with finances later in life. This important survival skill will not only help support their future well-being, but also the economic health of society.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are a critical component in the foundation of this construct, because every component depends on communication skills for its construction. Weak communication skills will definitely jeopardize family and social relationships, and academic and vocational success.

Note: Many children and young adults today are not developing good face-to-face communication skills because of too much texting. The children and teenagers who develop good face-to-face communication skills will have a major advantage over most other individuals in their generation.

Receptive Language

This communication skill enables an individual to receive, interpret, evaluate, remember and apply correctly the message that is being communicated. Receptive language skills require not only good listening comprehension skills, but also the ability to read facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and gestures. Today weak receptive language skills are one of the most common causes of learning and social face-to-face interaction difficulties. It is very difficult for many young individuals today to listen attentively and comprehend without intense visual stimulation. This is most likely due to too much television, video and computer usage while growing up.

Reading Comprehension

This communication and knowledge acquisition skill enables an individual to receive, interpret, evaluate, remember and apply correctly the message that is being communicated in print. Reading comprehension is needed to function effectively in today’s society. Imagine the frustration you would experience if you could not make sense of bills, labels, job applications, agreements or an email or text you receive. Not only is reading comprehension necessary to function effectively, it is the most important tool for knowledge acquisition and academic achievement. We live in an age where there is a tremendous amount of information readily available and reading is the main way to acquire this knowledge. Unfortunately in the U.S. today, a large percentage of young adults are functionally illiterate, which means that their reading comprehension and writing skills are so weak they can’t effectively manage the everyday aspects of life and acquire most of the information available. Developing strong reading comprehension skills is essential for success academically, professionally and on one’s journey towards a higher level of “Optimal Intellect”.

Note: The ability to recognize words in print is not reading. That is called word identification skills and is not a very complex skill. Reading is the ability to comprehend or understand what is being conveyed in print and is the most complex neurological task a child will undertake.

Expressive Language

This communication skill enables us to formulate what we are going to say and produce our thoughts orally in a clear and appropriate manner. It enables us to convey information, ideas, insights and feelings and conclusions. It helps us request the information needed and formulate the appropriate questions to solve problems or get a better understanding of a situation. It also plays a key role in all social interaction.

Writing Skills

This communication skill enables an individual to express in writing; ideas, information, conclusions, insights perceptions, impressions and knowledge in an organized, cohesive and well conveyed structure. Writing skills demand more conscious thought, focused effort, self-discipline and diligence than expressive language skills. Individuals that can use the appropriate grammar, syntax and punctuation when writing, are definitely on the right path towards better vocational opportunities. It is a fact that many young individuals today, including college graduates, have very poor writing skills. This too is most likely due to so much texting and not enough real writing experience.

Verbal Knowledge

This brain system enables an individual to build and organize a memory neural network system for words and their meanings. It must be structured in such a way that words and their meanings can be retrieved instantaneously with virtually no expenditure of energy or effort. If you have to stop and think to retrieve words to express yourself, have a very limited vocabulary, do not know the true meaning of words or how to use them appropriately, all the communication skills in this construct will suffer.

Social Skills

Good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life and one’s journey toward a higher level of “Optimal Intellect”. These skills enable an individual to interact with others in a positive and advantageous manner to build meaningful relationships, promote joy, resolve conflict smoothly, collaborate effectively with others, build popularity and respect, influence individuals and market oneself to achieve future goals. Building strong social skills comes easy to some and not so easy to others. The basics of social skills can be taught, but strong social skills can only develop by interacting with others. Many children and young adults today are not developing good social skills, because of a lack of practice. Television, video games, computer usage, emailing and texting do not develop social skills.

Building & Maintaining Relationships

Lasting relationships help us in countless ways throughout our personal and professional lives. Some of our greatest needs are to be appreciated, understood and feel as if we belong or are part of something. Family and friends give us the feeling of belonging, identity, and appreciation. In most circumstances a strong sense of belonging is positively associated with better physical and mental health, and a lack of healthy friendships can unfortunately lead to isolation and depression. Building strong friendships requires many skills, traits and processes.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict can be expected in any relationship. The ability to resolve conflict in a way that leads to positive outcomes is a skill. If conflict is resolved in the appropriate manner, it should also lead to increased insight, understanding, collaboration and self-awareness.

Cooperation & Teamwork

Most of us are often expected to cooperate with others and function as part of a team. It may be with family, in sports, in a play or dance recital, for a community project, at work or for many other situations. The ability to cooperate with others and work as a team member is an extremely important skill. Creative cooperation produces synergy and helps us discover and accomplish things that an individual most likely would not discover or accomplish on their own.

Principles & Integrity

Principles are guidelines for behavior and decision making that will translate into good character and ethical behavior. The degree to which an individual follows their principles, which is called integrity, has an enormous effect on an individual’s credibility and trustworthiness. Credibility and trustworthiness creates tremendous value.

Altruism

Altruism is the practice of helping others with no expectation of tangible compensation or recognition. An individual with a high level of ”Optimal Intellect” understands that the wonderful feeling of helping others in need lasts a lot longer than the short-term feeling you get from receiving tangible compensations or recognition to feed the ego. They also understand that all society is interconnected and that by helping others it can make their society a better place to live in, raise a family, work and prosper. No one can be successful on their journey toward a higher level of ”Optimal Intellect” without the help of others, and one’s own unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

Knowledge Acquisition Skills

Knowledge acquisition refers to the process of understanding, linking and synthesizing information, then storing it so it can be recalled when needed. We should view this stored information as millions of interconnecting neural networks of knowledge. Nothing is learned without tapping into some component of previously constructed neural networks of knowledge. This means that the more quality neural networks of knowledge you construct, the more you can acquire.

The constructing of strong neural networks that are long lasting requires the learner to build neural networks that make sense and have perceived value or meaning to the individual’s life. The more fully we process and understand information over time, the more consolidated and organized these neural network systems become. This makes them easier to tap into later when needed, or link up with other networks in the future. Rote memorization with very little understanding of the subject matter builds fragile neural networks that will not last. Constructing solid new neural networks of knowledge enables an individual to go beyond the information they are exposed to and develop new abilities, discover new ways of thinking and achieve higher levels of learning and intellectual performance.

Learning Strategies

Learning strategies are approaches to learning that makes learning more efficient, productive and enjoyable. Each one of us will have specific approaches that work best, so the first thing an individual needs to know is how they learn best or their specific learning style. An individual’s unique genetic code and their life experiences cause certain perceptual processing and thinking systems to become dominant, which determines an individual’s preferred learning style. Knowing an individual’s learning style helps others (parents, teachers, employers, etc.) and self, understand how he or she learns most effectively.

Practical Quantitative Skills

Practical quantitative skills enable an individual to apply mathematical concepts to acquire the knowledge required to solve real life tasks and problems. In order to perform effectively as citizens and in most vocations, one must become competent in using numbers. The ability to perform basic math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and percentages is needed in many personal management situations like balancing a checkbook, calculating interest, financial planning, problem solving and decision making. Most all vocations require a minimum of the basic skills mentioned above.

Note: Reading comprehension is the most important tool for knowledge acquisition in today’s society and is addressed in the communication section of this construct.

Healthy Lifestyle Skills

Implementing nutritious foods, exercise, proper sleep habits and stress management in your life, and eliminating bad unhealthy habits will improve brain function, build self-concept, increase energy, decrease stress levels, boosts overall well-being and your quality of life. Good health is an extremely important asset on a journey toward a higher level of “Optimal Intellect”.

Nutrition

Our brain requires a constant supply of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and healthy fats to develop and function properly. Unfortunately today about 70% of the food consumed in the western world is high in calories and has virtually no micronutrients. The only foods that contain a lot of high quality micronutrients are vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts. Not only are many of us feeding our brain and body food that has virtually no value we are also putting toxic chemicals like processed sugar, flour and preservatives into our bodies. Studies indicate that processed sugar and flour are eight times more addicting than cocaine and heroin and there is a correlation between a diet high in processed sugar and flour and impaired brain function and mood disorders. Not only are processed chemicals causing harm to our brain but are also causing an increase in obesity, which has significant health and social consequences. Obesity is contributing to an increase in the rates of more than 30 serious diseases, which has negatively affected the quality of life for many individual’s and has also driven up the cost of healthcare coverage significantly in the U.S. and other countries.

Exercise

Humans are meant to move not sit for hours watching TV, playing video games or doing unproductive activities on computers. Children are as much as 75% less active in their physical play than they were 40 years ago. This physical inactivity has not only contributed to poor brain development in young children it has also, along with a poor diet caused the obesity rate in children to triple since 1980. Today children are even developing hypertension and type-2 diabetes, which was unheard of not long ago.

Sleep Habits

Sleep plays a vital role in an individual’s overall quality of life. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. Children and teens that are not getting enough sleep may have more trouble with controlling their emotions and have a difficult time paying attention and concentrating. This effects social interaction and academic performance.

Stress Management Skills

Everyone has both positive and negative stress in their lives and everyone handles it differently. Positive stress can get the adrenalin pumping to get you in high gear to meet a deadline, compete at a higher level or deal with a confrontation. Negative stress, especially long term unresolved stress, can result in reduced thinking abilities, upset stomach, headaches, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, anxiety, anger, depression, and a weakened immune system.

The key is not to eliminate all stress, because that would be close to impossible. The key is to understand how to best manage your stress. Before you can manage your stress you must sharpen one of the most important components on the journey toward a higher level of “Optimal Intellect”, and that tool is self-awareness. What stresses out one individual may be enjoyable to another individual. Some people actually thrive on stress, which I call adrenalin junkies. Become aware of what stresses you, and your emotional and physical reactions to the stress.

The next step is taking charge of your thoughts by always trying to find the positive in situations and not letting your thoughts dwell on the negative. It is also very important to keep your sense of humor, laugh at yourself and reflect on the positive things you appreciate in life when confronting stressful times. Another component that will help you reduce and manage stress is to make sure the other life skills in this construct are functioning at a high level.

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