by Asim Jalis
Here are the main points from Loehr and Schwartz's The Power of
1. If you don't use a muscle it atrophies. If you push it too
hard without repairing it, it gets damaged. If you push it past
your comfort zone and then give it time to renew itself it
2. The brain is a biological entity like the muscle.
Concentration and focus depend upon blood circulation and
neurochemical interactions. Too much concentration and focus are
exhausting because they deplete biochemicals.
3. The punchline: The brain can be trained much like muscles. If
you don't use it it will atrophy. If you push it too hard you
burn out. But if you push it past the comfort zone and then give
it time to recuperate it becomes stronger. The oxygen channels to
the brain widen.
4. They report some interesting studies. (a) People who do
focused with their brains into the retirement are less impaired
by Alzheimer's disease. (b) Sleeping too much or too little
increases the chances of mortality. They recommend 7-8 hours.
5. People who burn out stress out their brains but do not give it
an opportunity to recover. E.g. they are like athletes who push
to hard and injure their muscles.
6. The authors were mental trainers to Monica Seles and Pete
Sampras. Instead of helping them improve their playing skills
they taught them how to stay focused on the game and how to
increase their concentration stamina.
7. This is the opposite of the self-2 strategy. You make your
self-1 more and more powerful by training it. th
8. Their other point is the importance of ritual in repair and
renewal. E.g. pick a time and take a walk every day at that time.
Or do something else that is relaxing, but fix the time, and turn
it into a ritual. One of their patients walked to a park and read
a book every day at lunch time.
9. The concept of ritual here is important. It is not enough to
do something fun. You have to build it into your schedule in such
a way that your whole body, your conscious mind and the other
systems become trained to expect the renewal at a certain time
and following specific cues. This allows your systems to push
hard just before the ritualized break and then to achieve an
extreme state of relaxation when the break arrives. Naps are also