In Sousa’s (2017) book, novelty is something the brain loves. It is stimulated by new things. In fact, it is monumentally more receptive to novelty than the mundane. Why? Because the brain is wired for survival. New things could prove fatal, right?
Assuming we are pursuing novelty in our environment that is safe, it will stimulate us. So, it would be wise to seek out new things to do to attain this maximized stimulation and increased potential for retention.
Experience New Things
Remember the last time you went to a new store, restaurant, or location? You feel more alive. You are anxious to see the menu, products, or sites. You sense new smells, new color combinations, new visuals. It is an amazing experience to visit a new place and enjoy all of it.
Do New Things
Have you ever gotten into a rut? It’s boring, time drags, and exhausting. Go places you don’t typically go to. Maybe a museum? Maybe a flea market? Maybe a farmer’s market? What about a great bookstore? How about catching a show with your local amateur acting group? A new hiking trail? Maybe you could take a new route to work?
Learn New Things
I enjoy learning new things. I’m learning MS Publisher. I’m taking a beginning Algebra course. I’m taking a Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) course. All of these courses introduce novel information. This information can be used for all sorts of things as your brain internalizes the information and integrates it with the knowledge you already possess.
You want to learn to draw, pick up a new language, or take great pictures with your iPhone? Take a course, find a local workshop or class, or find a meetup where you can interact with new people and learn a skill at the same time.
Read New Things
I like to read articles from numerous sources like the Atlantic, Inc, and Forbes. I enjoy articles by Scientific American. I try to read as much as I can during the week and stretch my mind by reading other’s work and understanding their point of view.
In today’s polarized climate, it is so easy to fall into an ideological bucket and lose one’s ability to really think through an issue. I try to avoid the extremes of an argument by reading articles from both sides of an issue and finding what I believe the real solution is: somewhere in the middle.
If you enjoy Science Fiction and Thrillers, read Literary Fiction, read a classic, or read a mystery or romance novel. The change is stimulating, particularly if you find a great author.
Novel experiences make for an enjoyable life. A life lived fully. So get out there. Do something different, even if it involves trying something new at a favorite restaurant. Your brain will thank you.
If you would like to learn more about how the brain learns, read Sousa’s (2017) book below under reference. It is a fascinating and informative read.
Until next time…
Sousa, D. A. (2017). How the brain learns. (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. ISBN-13: 9781506346304