Limitations of the Brain

Do you know what grinds my gears? When you are limited by your brain. What I mean by this is that your brain limits you in different ways such as lack of ability and numerous dysfunctions. For example, one setback that I am annoyed by is emotions. Emotions will take over your ability to make decisions, process information, and control your actions. In a lot of cases, people will choose different options for decisions based on their emotions. When making a decision on whether or not to do homework, you might choose to just put if off if you are sad or depressed. If you are happy, you wouldn’t care that you would have to do homework. According to Peter Zafirides, who describes it better, “…we still have the same options, but our emotions skew our view of options.”

Another limitation that bothers me is how much sleep is healthy for us. With all the things that school and sports are making me do, it is hard to find the time for adequate levels of sleep. In my sophomore year alone, I have done homework at every single hour of the day, at some point or another. Your brain doesn’t operate at its fullest when you lack sleep in your daily routine. Sleep is when information is stored, memories are sorted, cells are repaired, and more. When you miss out on sleep, your entire body is suffering from not being able to recuperate. Granted, you still make it through the day, but you are not operating at full cognitive function. I guess the only way for me to fix this is either cut back on extracurricular activities, increase my productivity level for homework by tenfold, or keep falling asleep in class. In all honesty, the last latter one is probably what will happen.

A third limitation I can’t stand is nerves. Things that you have done a million times you will still screw up with nerves. I see this all the time on tests and basketball. On tests, people who have studied for hours will start to forget answers because they are a nervous wreck about doing well. And on the basketball court, I can’t remember how many free throws I have missed because it was a tight situation. I know the reason why I do this, but I have trouble fixing it. Instead of thinking about how important it is to succeed, I need to think about what I am doing. If I have done it a million times, I just need to let my instincts kick in, and the rest will be clockwork. Seems simple, right? It never seems to work out that way.

This is why the brain can irritate me. I would just like to point out, however, that the brain is an amazing piece of machinery. It just has a few kinks here and there that can sometimes cause the unit as a whole to fail. You know that saying, “Only worry about what you can control”? The worst part is that most of these kinks can be controlled by the owner of the brain.

Dear brain, please don’t grind my gears by limiting our success together!

Sleeping

Do you know what grinds my gears?  The need for sleep. .Sleep is such a wonderful thing.  As children, we don’t seem to value or cherish the amount of sleep we get.  For example, I regret not taking naps in Kindergarten when we were supposed to be napping.  Now, my napping period is any period that I can get away with. I’m not saying that it’s right, but almost all high school students want to take a nap at some point.  Now a lot of teachers frown upon napping, and I can’t blame them too much.  However, we are in high school now, and we should be responsible for our actions.  If we want to take a nap, let us.  Repercussions will probably follow, but please just allow us the instant gratification of a twenty minute nap.

In other news, research shows that a 10-30 minute nap actually improves creativity and productivity. Granted, there are times when full attention is needed. We could be learning something new or maybe due dates are being discussed. However, there are a lot of times when I know everything about what the teacher is talking about. During these times, I start to doze off. If I fall asleep, that’s my own fault, but please just let me sleep. If I am that tired, a twenty minute nap during the middle of the day could give me the boost I need to make it through the rest of the class periods. If this becomes a daily ritual of naps, then I fully understand that the problem should be addressed. Think of it this way, teachers: Would you rather have a straight-A student take a nap during your class because they were up all night doing YOUR homework, or have a juvenile delinquent disrupting the class? That trouble maker will hurt his education as well as those around him. The only one affected with the former is the sleeping student. Trust me, when you are that tired, you are paying the same amount of attention shaking off the drowsiness of a long night as being full out asleep.

Along with that, if you have students who are constantly falling asleep in your class, it may be partly your fault. I know that notes are a staple in student’s education, but a forty-five minute lecture while sitting in the same spot, listening to the same voice, about the same topic, while staring at the same spot on the clock will cause a lot of students to fall asleep. This can be solved by getting the students more involved in class by either including discussion or asking opinions. Finally, if a student is in a difficult struggle with slumber, let them get up during class and walk around a bit (but not being a distraction). Part of the reason why students fall asleep is from a lack of blood flow. Walking around the room once or twice can get the blood moving enough to make it through that last arduous ten minutes of notes.

Once again, these are all just suggestions!

Please don’t grind my gears by zzzzz……

God’s Views Vs. Our Views

            Do you know what grinds my gears? When worldly views get mixed up with God’s views. (Hold on to your socks, I’m getting religious here.) First of all, there are constant pressures out there to try and morph your thoughts and actions to what is considered “cool” down here on earth. For example, wearing provocative clothing is very common for today’s youth. All this does is create lustful thoughts, but it’s considered popular. Some people might not think of you the same if you don’t wear the same type of clothes they do, and that’s just as wrong as the rest of the things that I’m talking about.

            Before I go any farther, I would like to point out that I have been guilty of this as much as the next guy (not the provocative clothing part, that’s mostly for girls). I constantly let worldly pressures affect me more than the views of God. It’s a constant battle for all of us: lustful thoughts, jealousy of others, anger in fights, and disrespect for others; all of these things and more are just tiny battles that we may face in the war of our life.

            Another example of us forgetting God’s values and taking on the worldly values and views would be the iPhone.  Let’s say all of your friends have the newest iPhone and you don’t. Because of this, you feel jealous of them because you want that iPhone. This problem is only expressed more by the fact that your friends may think differently of you because of a stupid little possession that you don’t own. If you chose not to succumb to the pressure and resist buying the iPhone (God’s values), there would be no immediate or obvious satisfaction. Granted, you are doing the right thing, but sometimes that isn’t enough for a lot of us, including me. If you had succumbed to the pressure and bought the iPhone, you would have the satisfaction of the new gadget, and your friends will supposedly think you are a better person because of it (worldly views, and those are probably not very good friends to have).

            The other big part of this is stereotypes. I have been blessed to have been given a good stereotype by society. Especially in high school, being an athlete gets you a higher degree of respect. This is totally unfair, but it is just the way it is. Some people have no ability whatsoever to play sports; that’s just not their God-given talent. However, if you are really good in school, that will get you respect from teachers, but other students may classify you as a nerd. Really all they are  saying is that they are jealous of those people because of their good grades. It’s a stupid thing we humans do, but we just have to try and fix them.

            So overall, I could probably say that I have done these things probably more than you have. I struggle to find the thin line between what is good and bad in life, and whether that “good or bad” is by human eyes or God’s eyes. I guess all I can do is try to improve on these things, and I would hope that you would too.

            Please don’t grind my gears by thinking of what’s popular on earth, and not with God.

Memory Loss

Do you know what grinds my gears? When… you… you know… when… umm… Oh yeah! When you have memory blocks and you can’t remember things. Most of you have probably heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. That phrase is truer than you think, and it happens all the time, especially for students that haven’t studied something for a long time. Now I could go into a long scientific reason for why this happens, but you will probably end up forgetting it after a while. Instead, I will try to give you something to think about again.

I think remembering things have a lot to do with how you experienced hearing the fact or taking part in an event. For example, having an emotion tied to that memory will make it easier to remember. If you have ever won a sports game in the last few seconds, you probably remember that now, and you will probably remember it for almost the rest of your life. Memories with emotions are recalled easier than just a straight fact or idea.

Another example of this, which is more common, is remembering things that are interesting. I don’t know how many times in class I have forgotten things that bored me to death, while some of the interesting things seemed to stick with me. Part of the reason this happens is when you are listening to something interesting, you are fully attentive to the displayer of information (speaker, teacher, video, etc.). It’s almost as if you are learning it more fully. When you are not interested in something, your mind wants to wander. You may start to look at the clock or play with your pencil while you are listening. During that time, you start to miss words and other helpful details that don’t feel important at the time. No matter how hard you try, it will still be harder for you to remember something if you can’t find it interesting.

One other point of interest is photographic memory; some people have it and others don’t, and it all depends on how your brain works. I know a lot about photographic memory because I use it all the time. When I recall facts, I see the page of notes that I wrote on and I see the words exactly how I wrote them. Also, when I need to remember information from a text book, I associate facts relative to their position on the pages. Sometimes my mom will quiz me on stuff and ask me a question from my text book. If I don’t know the material well, I might say, “Well, I don’t know what the answer is, but I know it is on page 154 on the left side of the book in the bottom-right hand corner next to the picture.” And that’s just how my brain works.  This can be helpful at times, but not in all of them. For example, if I hear information instead of see it, it can be harder for me to remember. I don’t know this for sure, but I think I would have a horrible time remembering things that I learned in a pitch dark room. For other people, a pitch dark room would be great, but for me it couldn’t be harder.

I know I got a little sidetracked today, but maybe it’s not always good to write about things that make me mad. Either way, I hope you found it interesting!

Don’t grind my gears by… uh… whatever I said before!

Homework woes

Do you know what grinds my gears?  Things take longer than they need to. It seems like every night I do homework, I think to myself, “Oh, this should only take about half an hour,” or “I only need to spend ten minutes on this”. Then, for whatever reason, that thing takes almost twice as long and I’m up until midnight working on something I should have had done already. This is probably also hindered by procrastination. As much as I try to avoid it, I love to procrastinate. But pair that along with the fact that I always think that it won’t take as long to finish and you probably start to see why this happens.

Now I know that I usually blog about how other people bother me, but today’s blog is probably more like me getting mad at my self- inflicted wounds. It’s my own fault that I don’t get things done in a timely manner early on in the night, and I am quite aware of that. But then again, I don’t know many teenagers from my school (or any school for that matter) who don’t have the occasional love-hate relationship with the persuasive Mr. Procrastination. That doesn’t make it right, but I know that this is a tough concept for teenagers. I think part of the problem is that there are so many distractions out there for the youth of my generation. We have grown up with cell phones, the internet, color TV, videogames, and much more. For me, it seems almost too easy to put off homework to do one of those things.

Also, (and I don’t know how many times this has happened to me), I will say, “Ok, I have had a long day. I will spend 15 minutes on the computer and then I will attack my homework.” I go to sit down at the computer, and almost if by magic, one hour has disappeared like a TV remote. It becomes very frustrating at times, because sometimes I would rather jump off a bridge than do my homework. Of course I would never jump off a bridge, but I would do something extremely fun and inviting like play video games instead of doing my homework.

I know that homework is important to do, and we don’t go to school to just goof around; however, I sometimes feel that they pile a little too much homework on us on certain nights. I wish somehow that teachers could manage what nights they would each give homework, because on some nights I have virtually no homework, but on other nights I have six to eight hours. This is partly due to the fact that I have seven homework classes this year, but I still think something could be done about that.

No matter what happens, I can only stress about things that I can change and affect, and one of those things is not procrastinating and allowing ample time to get everything done.

Why do I cause my own gears to grind because I procrastinate?

Bad Drivers

Do you know what grinds my gears? Crazy, erratic drivers. Seriously! When you get behind the wheel, you are not just responsible for your life, but also all the other people who you meet on the road. Driving is not something to be taken lightly, and thousands of people die each year in car accidents. The freedom of driving is a privilege, and many people take it for granted. Whether you are late to work, you want to impress your friends, or you just like the intensity of it, there is no reason or excuse for driving recklessly.

 This is especially the case in high school parking lots. A lot of students tear out of the parking lots without looking for other cars or braking for others. I guess they just want to look cool by speeding, but it doesn’t impress me one bit. Just one little slip of the gas or the wheel and their car could become pretty close friends with a light pole. I know I joke around when I say that, but it’s still a serious matter. It is a very dumb reason to get severely injured or even killed by a driving accident that could be avoided.

But these types of accidents aren’t caused just by the youth of my generation. It is also common for adults to be in these situations as well. Every time you go into a decent size city around the lunch or break hours, you are sure to see some crazy drivers trying to get around cars and making a lot of close calls. I swear I am going to see them crash before they speed out of my sight, but they never seem to. The bad thing about that is when people drive recklessly over and over without any consequences, they are likely to keep doing it. Unless they get in a crash or get pulled over, they really don’t have any reasons to stop doing it. That doesn’t make it right, but not a lot can be done.

It’s one thing to drive erratically, but it’s another to drive drunk or text and drive. These things are both illegal and extremely wrong to do. Would you like it if you were following all the rules of driving and still get in a crash because somebody else was drunk or texting? Those kinds of things happen a lot too. It is so unfair that innocent people are killed because of people who don’t follow the rules.

I hope that if you don’t pay attention to any of my other blogs you will pay attention to this one. I can’t stand to hear news stories about car accidents because they can generally be avoided, and usually innocent people get injured. Hopefully, you will take this as a reminder to be safe on the roads.

Please don’t grind my gears by driving erratically!

Opinions

Do you know what grinds my gears? When people can be so opinionated and think they are always right. One of the biggest examples of this is people’s favorite type of music. Some people think rap is mumbled gibberish. Others think country sounds monotonous. Everybody is entitled to their own unique opinions, and that is understandable. But just because you like one type better than the other does not mean that it is true. In my opinion, I think rap is better than country. That doesn’t mean that it’s true, and it also doesn’t mean that I have the right to parade around proclaiming I am right. This can agitate people like me, and sometimes it annoys them to the point that they blog about it and feel the need to complain (hypocritical, yes, I know).

Another big debate that is just as annoying is the presidential race. I am fine if you want a different candidate than mine to win. Even if I think your views are wrong and that you don’t know what you are talking about, I won’t tell you any of that because I know it will upset you. I would really appreciate it if you would do the same. Generally, people who are adamant in their decision will not look at your point of view, but instead will start to yell their opinions louder. However, I would like to make it clear that I am not discouraging debates. In debates, people are forced to listen to both sides and make their decision based on what impresses them. There is nothing wrong with that. But when two people are discussing their choices and one of them keeps on pushing their opinion on the other, then that can go wrong. Finally, if nothing else, just keep it to yourself. You can even not look at both sides of the story, as long as YOU DON’T EXPECT THE OTHER PERSON TO.

That’s probably what bothers me the most: when people won’t do the things they are expecting the other person to do. In the end, both people are mad, and no debate has occurred. I guess the point of this blog is to try and express my point of view on this topic. Don’t feel obligated to follow this, but look at it as something to think about. One of the worst things that I can see happening is fighting, and that’s all I’m trying to prevent. That’s why some people think I don’t talk much, and I come off looking very demure. I always like to think before I speak, to avoid saying something that I will regret later. If I get angry, I will definitely say something I don’t mean to. This is the main reason I try to avoid conflict at all costs.

Once again, I hope some of you will read this and take something from it. If anything, maybe I’ll give you something to think about. I believe that it is healthy to think about lots of different aspects of life. Hopefully I’ve helped you do that!

Please don’t grind my gears by being dogmatic in your opinions!