Strengthen your career by strengthening
your mind
Challenge your brain cells daily. Undertake at least
one mental exercise every morning, for example try
multiplying 59 × 59
in your head.
A few decades ago one of my teachers emphasised that the brain
was a muscle which needed exercising and strengthening on a reg-
ular basis otherwise it would atrophy and get flabby. He
encouraged mental arithmetic and would suggest: When you leave
school learn for example the 14 times table or multiply 23 × 23 in
your head.’ He asserted that by doing so our brain power would be
increased. He also proposed reading classic literature and other
books many found unreadable. He mentioned for example James
Joyce’s Ulysses and said it would be helpful to know who Leopold
Bloom and Stephen Dedalus were, if we were ever asked.
Expressed another way, a lazy brain
leads to a lazy life whilst an active
brain will lead to an active career. Acti-
vating your brain with increasingly
difficult challenges will certainly
strengthen your mind and prepare you
for those awkward questions inter-
viewers throw at career-climbers, such
as: What is your favourite character in classical literature? or
‘In your existing job if you were given an extra million in your
budget what would you do with it?
Some people rely on crosswords or Sudoku to sharpen up,
although these can be too narrowly focused for broad-band intel-
wa nte d
A lazy brain leads to
a lazy life while an
active brain leads to
an active career
To obtain the answer easily multiply 60 × 60, subtract 60 and then subtract 59
Do Mental Callisthenics
ligence. Knowing the download speeds for the Internet in various
countries can help especially when your boss is frustrated with
the exorbitantly expensive and frustratingly slow 256 kbytes he
experienced on his recent trip to an emerging country’.
Watching the soaps and reading the tabloids is definitely worth-
while if you want to understand the masses, but possibly not
worth mentioning at an interview. A knowledge of sport will
definitely help, especially if you can establish that your inter-
viewers favourite team is the one you support too. (A little
detective work here is evidence of an enquiring mind and will
definitely help.)
At one London University a concierge learnt to say ‘Good Morn-
ing and ‘Good Night’ in 20 different languages so that he could
say a few words in their local language to the large number of
foreign students attending the university. At a resort in Mauri-
tius a porter, a football fanatic, would check the Internet every
Saturday night and memorise all the football scores in the UK
Premier League (along with the major European leagues) so that
he could inform visitors arriving Sunday morning after a long
overnight flight of the score of the team they supported. He
would even memorise who scored the goals.
Which football team do you support? he
would ask. Manchester United. They won
1–0 yesterday. Rooney scored.’ What a start to
a holiday!
In summary, the number of ways to
strengthen your mind is infinite. Sadly many
people do not get beyond point zero’ and
come to nothing as a result.
qu e st i on
Answer this
question in
your head.
What is the
time now in:
(a) San
(b) Singapore?
(c) Sydney?
wa nte d
Study the financial pages of the more serious newspapers
and familiarise yourself with economic trends, for example
of the main countries in Asia.
Check exchange rates daily so that you know how to convert
dollars into Chinese renminbi as well as pounds into euros.
Learn some basic Chinese words in order to offer greetings
to your Chinese suppliers.
Memorise the names of everyone you meet when visiting a
new company.
Career stimuli
Back up your learning in the way you back up the files on
your laptop.
Few things are learnt the first time.
Lessons have to be reinforced.
Reinforce yourself by review, reflection and reinstatement.
Reinforce yourself by recharging your ‘self’.
Reinforce your self by renewing yourself.
To take two steps forward take one step back.
The force in your career comes from reinforcement.
Maximise the reinforcement in your job and in your
career to be WANTED.

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