Solve Your Environment
When it comes to exercising our brains, we often think of the traditional options - doing a crossword puzzle, taking in a “challenging” piece of media, or signing up for a new class.
Often, however, we see the world around ourselves passively. Events occur and we interpret and accept them without considering the potential solutions that could have improved the outcome of that event.
One of the best exercises you can do for your mind (in my humble opinion) is to flip the cognitive switch in your brain from passive to active. When you watch a Formula 1 race, and you notice the pit crew taking notes, you know that they are analyzing incoming data and recommending solutions that will constantly propel the technology of their sport. Being solution-minded means taking the data around you and always asking the question “How could I do this better?”.
My son’s grade one teacher encourages her students to “read the environment,” meaning to read labels on things, and to read the signage around them (as a reading exercise). As an entrepreneurial exercise, I urge you to try “solving your environment.”
When you see a ship in port, ask “Why don’t they use the wasted vertical kinetic energy of the waves to charge their batteries?”
On a hot summer day, when you notice the city is twenty degrees hotter than the suburbs, ask “Why do we make asphalt black?”
Even though it’s only a mental exercise, being solution-minded can spur incredible technological leaps.
There’s no inherent reason the geeks at MIT and in Silicon Valley should have the market on new ideas cornered. We are all, in the grand scale of things, very close to one another in intellect (at least compared to other species on the planet).
I urge you to try being solution-minded and to see what comes of it. And hey - if you come up with a good idea, list it on Liftoff Capital and see what happens!
Fair warning though - some solutions are so obvious it will drive you nuts that nobody’s come up with them before.