The Change Challenge: Grow Your Brain


Let me be the first to say that I LOVE to watch TV.
I love everything about it and have dedicated much time and many resources to enjoying it.
My video library includes all seven seasons of West Wing, all three Bourne movies, all six Star Wars flicks, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings trilogies.  Several Muppet Movies line my shelves.  I have nearly every movie from Pixar and have watched them again and again.  I have Andy Griffith and The Beverly Hillbillies.  I have Red Skelton and many, many, MANY other…
I’ve enjoyed U571 in video cassette, DVD and Blue Ray.  I can quote every line from Apollo 13 and Braveheart.  I glory at Saving Private Ryan and cry while watching Stranger Than Fiction.  Sense and Sensibility is a period tear jerker and Buzz Lightyear is my favorite movie hero of all time.  We have streaming Netfilx and have watched entire series: Monk, LOST, and Wings. 
I love action, drama and comedies.  I love movies, documentaries, cartoons, and sports…There’s no doubt about it; I’m a TV junkie.
But yesterday you and I took a hard look in the mirror.  Most of us didn’t like what was reflected back.  Together, we determined that the next twelve months would be different from the last twelve months.  We will no longer sit in neutral.  Instead, we are going to rev our engines and throw our lives into drive.  To counteract our mental sloth, we agreed to take action. 
Step one in this transformation is to grow our brains. 
But if I want to grow my brain, the first thing I have to do is turn off the TV and pick up a book.   I need to fill my brain with WORDS rather than images.  My mind needs to feed on THOUGHTS rather than action scenes.  I must read COMPLETE SENTENCES rather than view special effects.
Do you remember the old tag line, “READING IS FUNDIMENTAL!”?  If you want to be in a different place next year, if you want to accept the Change Challenge, you must grow you brain.  And the best way to do this is by reading a book. 
What was the last book you read? (And this week’s TV Guide or People Magazine do not count.)  If the answer was Animal Farm in Mrs. Washler’s Senior English Class, you should probably consider making room on your book shelves for some recently published works.
So here’s today’s challenge:  Pick up a book.  Pick ANY book.  Open the cover.  Read a couple pages and put the book down.  Don’t overwork your brain on the first day.  After all, you’ve only fed your brain Jerry Springer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the past 20 years.  It will take a little time to get back in the swing of things.
It doesn’t matter what book you read, just pick up a book and begin reading. 
If it’s been a few years since you’ve read a book, I have some suggestions to help ease you into the Challenge.  This is my “ease into reading list” for the older, brain-dead reader:
1.     Hop on Pop – A Classic about a kid with ADHD
2.     Red Fish, Blue Fish – Reading fun AND art lessons.
3.     Winnie the Pooh – Oddly enjoyable, even for grownups.
4.     Ramona & Beezus – Over-confident girl who always wins in the end
5.     Hatchet – Unprepared boy who survives in the Canadian wilderness
6.     Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Another unprepared boy with a slight advantage
7.     I Heard the Owl Call My Name – tear jerker
8.     Siddhartha – Best read after eating some pita bread and hummus
9.     Gone with the Wind – Frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn
10.  Tale of Two Cities – A conflicted beginning that ends well
Read a page or two today.  Read a page or two tomorrow.  At the end of a month you will have read nearly 60 pages.  By this point, you will be most of the way through Pooh.  Keep reading and you will have completed 240 pages in eight months which will get you into the first chapter of Harry Potter.
Don’t hesitate to start and don’t even think about stopping.  Reading will expand your mind.  It will open your horizons.  A year from now, whether you’ve read one book or 100 books, you will have helped your brain grow.
The face staring back from the mirror twelve months from now will be older and much wiser.
Good reading!
Coming tomorrowThe Change Challenge:  Grow Your Brain a Little More

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