Archive for April, 2011

5 Secrets to Improving Study Habits For College Students

Ahh, college. What a wonderful time of our lives. A time where we get to drink beer, stay out late and make decisions that will impact the rest of our lives. College is one of the most important times of a person’s life as well as one of the most fun times of your life. You’ll meet your best friends there, learn about who you are as a person, attend some classes that you love and attend some classes that you hate. You’ll do this all while trying to have a social life and trying to make enough money so that you can drink a few beers with your friends this weekend. It’s a time that challenges us to improve ourselves and a time that we must learn how to form study habits that will get us passing grades.

If you’re a college kid reading this right now, I give you props. The majority of people in college aren’t looking up information online to better themselves or to improve their study habits or do anything related to becoming a better person. This means that you are the exact person that is meant to read this post and who will get the most out of it.

We’re going to start off at the beginning of where I was and then we’ll get into what changed to make me a good college student.

In high school, everything was easy…

I’m going to start off by telling you a little bit of a story about myself. I wasn’t always a good student and actually had terrible study habits when I first went off to college. High school was easy for me even though I was a three sport athlete. I managed to have a 90 average upon graduation and got this without any serious studying sessions. I even took some college level classes in high school so I would have an advantage when I first went to school. I guess you can say I was lucky, blessed, whatever, I just knew what worked for me and was lucky that paying attention in classes actually got me through all my classes with good grades.

When I went to college, that all changed.

College, not so much…

My freshman year of college involved me going from a town of about 6,000 people to having a freshman class of 4,000 people. Hello city-life and hello parties! I would not attend class, not study for tests and not do anything special to study except go to the library for about 7-10 hours the night before exams and cram everything into my brain last minute. I ended up passing the majority of my classes this way, but it was no way to go through college. I also only had a 2.2 GPA which was not good at all in my opinion.

I graduated recently and ended up with a 3.24 GPA after making 7 little changes to my study habits. I actually ended up studying less, having less stress and enjoying my free time more because of doing this as well.

So what are the secrets to improving study habits for college students?

 

  • Go To Class

  • Read Before Class

  • Listen During Class

  • Review After Class

  • Mind Map Your Notes

 

 

I know what you’re probably thinking… “Chris, come on man that’s going to take up so much time”

Believe me, I thought the same thing when I first started doing this. I thought it was going to take way more work than cramming and would suck up all my free time. Good thing I test things out ūüėČ Image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here’s the truth about this whole thing….

  • Going to class is something that you’re going to be doing anyway, right? Or at least it’s something that you know you should be doing. Some classes require you to be at other classes while others aren’t completely necessary. I shouldn’t say that, but it’s the truth. Some of your general education classes will be common sense and you can get away with skipping a day here and there. You just can’t get comfortable with doing this every week.¬† If you don’t want to go to a class, pull your calculator out. Take your cost of going to college and divide that by the total number of classes you have this semester. For example if you are paying $10,000 for a semester of college and are taking 5 classes (assuming 3 classes a week and average semester is 15 weeks) This means that you’ll have about 225 classes during a semester. If you pay $10,000 for that semester and you have 225 classes, $10,000 / 225 = $44.44 per class. If you think about this, you’ll usually end up going to class.
  • Reading before class sounds extremely boring, right? It actually is really boring if you aren’t taking classes that you enjoy. I’ve been there and done that, it’s no fun but it’s part of the process. The easiest thing that you can do is take 5-20 minutes to scan through the chapter and just become aware of what’s inside the chapter. If you know anything about speed reading, this will go extremely quick.
  • Listening during class is difficult if your teacher speaks in a monotone the whole time. However, they are the person who writes the “A” or the “F” on your papers. What I’ve found out is that professors will often hint at what’s going to be on the test during classes. If you aren’t attending every class you are going to miss out on these “free points” and study tips that they give during classes. Pay attention to what your professors are rambling about in the front of the room. Write down what they’re talking about and make a little note, I’ll explain why in a second.
  • Review after class…..BLAH. This sounds so boring doesn’t it? After sitting in class for an hour or three sure wears you out. However, it also means that the information you just heard is fresh in your mind. When things are fresh in your mind, if you take 20 minutes to jot down a few notes from the chapter next to your class notes, you will notice what your professor was talking about. Take the time to do this after every class, whether its 5 minutes or 20 minutes and you’ll notice that you will be extremely prepared when the test comes around.
  • Mind Map your notes. Mind mapping is one of my favorite ways to learn and recall information. Mind mapping allows you to write words as well as draw pictures to explain things out. Drawing pictures and linking them to words might be easier for you to remember information if you are more of a visual learner. Mind mapping also is mapped out the same way as your brain is, connecting certain ideas and pictures which lead to more information. By mapping out your notes, you will be implementing the brain smart approach to studying. It also is a great tool to use prior to taking your tests. You can browse over the mind map for 5 minutes prior to taking the test and the pictures will help you recall more information.

This might seem like it’s going to add hundreds of hours of time to your schedule, right? The truth of this is that it might add up to an extra hour of studying a day. The benefit of this is that when all of your friends are freaking out and heading to the library for 24 hour cram sessions when finals week comes around, you can relax and get a full nights rest. You’ll be better prepared, both physically and mentally and will therefore perform better on your final papers as well as with your final exams. If you don’t think that is worth it then continue doing what you are doing, but if you’d like to have a less stressful finals week (remember that stress causes sickness) then I recommend you test this out.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? You get on Dean’s List and get to call your parents to tell them you made Dean’s List? Think about how that will look on your resume!

Improving your study habits and your educational success can be a hard project.  A great degree to pursue for anybody with great organizational and communication skills is a masters in organizational development.  A program in this field will help you organize other students, as well as, improve your educational skills.

If you have any other tips or have any questions about study habits for college students please leave comments below!

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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Help Us Choose Our Logo

We’re in the process of choosing a logo for Brain Smart Success. We decided to go with LogoNerds.com to create our logo because they do a phenomenal job of designing logo’s for $27.

So far we’ve had 6 concepts designed which you will see below:

We decided that we really liked two of these logo’s so had a few minor revisions made on them:

We’re now in the process of getting the finishing touches done on the logo and really would love some input from you on what to choose!

Here’s what has been decided to look the best so far. There will most likely be a few revisions of this as time goes on, but this is what we’re liking at this point in time:

We’re extremely curious about what you think about the logo as well as the colors, etc.

 

Some Suggestions People Have Made

  • Center the image of the brain
  • Put some type of image in the picture of the brain
  • Make the nose less pointy

We really want this logo to stand for who we are and what we can do for different businesses and want something that will be easily brand-able for business cards, presentations and all the fun stuff that comes with having a business. We’re open to any and all suggestions and want to know what you think!

Please leave some comments below on what you think and if you have any suggestions.

Thanks,
Chris

 

Also, if you want to get a crazy cool logo like we are getting, you need to check out the guys at LogoNerds.com they are awesome!

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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Brain Smart Selling Tip: Customer Avatar

We’re all involved in sales in one way or another all throughout our lives. Right now I have to sell you on a reason to read this blog post by providing you with either enough value to help you make more money or have more fun (or both). If you aren’t getting anything out of this blog post, there would be no reason for you to continue reading, it would simply waste your time and I don’t want to waste your time.

If you don’t think that you are involved in selling, think about how you attracted your current boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse or how you got the job you currently have. For your current job, you had to sell yourself through a resume and most likely an interview process. If you didn’t have to sell yourself consciously to get your job, you did it subconsciously by programming yourself to answer the questions you were asked correctly and to be prepared for the interview process.

I’d like to talk a little bit about brain smart selling and how you can truly be successful in your next selling experience. To start off, ask yourself this question.

Does It Solve a Problem?

Too often in selling we get overwhelmed with the product we are trying to sell and forget what’s truly important. I want you to think back to the time you bought something. No matter what it was, I imagine that it solved a problem you had at that time. For example, right now I am drinking a Starbucks Iced Coffee while I write this. I was thirsty(problem), and I bought an iced coffee(solution).

If there aren’t a lot of people who need your product or service, it simply will not sell. It could be the greatest product in the world, but if no one¬†needs it to solve a problem that they have, it won’t sell.

Too often people get involved in selling because they hear it can be easy money. It can be easy money, but you’ll need to approach it the Brain Smart way. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck spinning your wheels while other people are out there making sales. Here’s some questions to ask yourself prior to getting involved in any type of selling..

Questions To Ask Yourself

  • What problem(s)/need(s) do my customers have?
  • Who is my Ideal Customer?
  • How can I best solve this problem for my ideal customer?

Asking yourself these 3 questions puts your brain in a position where you will start to get into the mind of your customer. You’ll learn that the more you can put yourself in your customers shoes, the more you will be able to relate to them and ultimately help solve their problem. It is going to feel weird at first, but I promise that after you do it a few times you will become more comfortable. It took me a long time to truly step out of my own body and mind to put myself in someone else’s shoes, but I’ve noticed a significant boost in how effective my selling has been since doing this. I also have become more comfortable with thinking from another person’s perspective which helps not only in business, but in personal relationships as well.

One activity that you can do that will dramatically improve the way you sell is by asking yourself specific questions that will help you gear your marketing towards solving the need of your target audience. Many people call this identifying your customer avatar, put simply this means that you create your ideal customer.

Identify Your Customer Avatar

  • What are their Common Fears, Frustrations or Urgency Points?
  • What are their Wants & Aspirations?
  • What are their Common Experiences & Current Reality?
  • What are their common Irrational Fears & Fantasies?
  • Name this person to make them real.

This activity is one of the hardest activities that you will do, but it will prove to be one of the most effective activities that you’ve ever done. This is because you will understand more about your customer and what your customers true needs are. Often, the needs that you initially thought your customers had(and were addressing in your marketing) are not the true needs that they have.

Take out a piece of paper and answer each one of those questions now. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week, do it right now.
***Those of you who take action on this right now will thank me a month or 2 down the road.

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After you’ve taken the time to write your answers out, you’ll start to see why this was important. You’ll notice common themes and problems that your customers have and you’ll start to think of this person and how you can solve their problems. By doing this, you are implementing brain smart selling techniques and will notice a change in how you start selling. You will no longer just be throwing your message out there and hoping people buy. You’ll be able to identify real problems that your audience has and will be able to create solutions to these specific problems.

 

This will allow you to think about your marketing in a different way than you may be used to. I’m going to leave you with one piece of advice that may change your entire business or may just get you thinking a little differently.

Marketing: Letting people know about something they already want

Please leave comments below if this has helped you. Share your experiences and whether you took action and created your customer avatar and whether or not it helped improve your marketing. My guess is that at least 95% of you didn’t do the activity, but if you did I would love to hear what your “aha” moments were in the comments below.

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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Brain Teasers for Adults

To start off, I’m going to give you a little riddle to get you thinking…

Can you guess the next three letters in the following series and why?
C Y G T N T L I T F……..

Did you get it right? Are you sure you got it right? The answer’s at the bottom if you can’t wait.

Brain teasers have been used for centuries in order to test the intelligence of everyone ranging from children to adults. These teasers have passed the test of time by virtue of how imaginative and fun that they can be. Some of these brain teasers may even torture you if you can’t seem to figure out the answer. If you are like the majority of people and couldn’t wait to check to see if your answer was correct then this proves to be true. If you haven’t scrolled to the bottom to see if you were right or wrong with the above riddle, you’re probably extremely curious about the answer and will probably scroll down to the bottom now to see. Go ahead, I give you permission. Just look for the check-mark when you get back.

  • Have fun while testing your brain

There are many types of riddles and brain teasers that you can do that will train your brain to function better. Riddles are typically something that we use as children, but stop using them for whatever reason as we become older and older. I’ve observed that there seems to be a direct correlation between people getting older, doing less riddles and brain teasers, and the memory of these people. Those individuals who continue to challenge their brain on a daily basis are those who still have minds that remember where they parked their car and what they need to buy from the grocery store.

What Kind of Brain Teasers Can Adults Do?

  • Word Puzzles

  • Sudoku

  • Logic Puzzles

  • Riddles

Brain teasers are a part of all aspects of our lives. We even experience brain teasers while going into a job interview, whether you are aware of this or not. While attempting difficult riddles you need to remember that in your mind, these riddles are meant to trick you. While you are getting interviewed here are some tricks that they may play on you.

  • Search for hidden meaning in your words
  • If there are multiple parts, break them up into manageable chunks
  • Analyze these parts and address them individually

All of these little hints should help you with training your brain. These brain teasers for adults should help you improve your memory if you actively do them. If you’d like to learn more about training your brain and challenge yourself with more brain teasers for adults you should check out the Zox Pro Brain Training by clicking here.

 

Answer: S, A and W, the first letter of every word in the sentence

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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How To Remember Names

One of the most important and often forgotten about aspects of business and personal life is remembering peoples names. It’s actually one of the most difficult parts about business as well, because when we are out at all these networking events, talking to people in the office and meeting people in our day-to-day life. We meet people everywhere we go and it seems overwhelming to remember everyone’s name that we encounter. However, there is often power in that which is difficult for us and remembering names is no different.

Dale Carnegie once said:

A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

If you know anything about Dale Carnegie, you understand that he was one of the most powerful and influential business men of all time. He is the author of one of the best selling books of all time How To Win Friends and Influence People . I’d say that Carnegie knew a thing or two about people and how to interact with people.

I’ve personally been fascinated by remembering people’s names and pride myself on remembering as many names of people and faces as I can. It wasn’t always easy and in fact was extremely difficult for me when I first got involved in business. Thinking back on the networking events I’d go to during college and meeting small groups of 5-10 people, I’d sometimes struggle to remember the names of the people in this small group. One of the latest networking events I went to I met over 35 people and remembered each and every one of their names and faces. What did I do to change this over the past 2 years?

Steps To Remember More Names

1. Commit

2. Concentrate

3. Repeat

4. Associate

Easy, right? Now you’ll remember everyone’s name that you ever meet! Just kidding, it takes a little more work than that. However, because we like to do things the “brain smart” way here, I’m going to teach you how you can implement this 4 step system into your day-to-day life.

Commit

The first step is to commit to yourself that you are going to remember more names. Remembering names is the same as improving in any aspect of your life and you must make a commitment to yourself in order to truly make a change. It truly needs to be a conscious decision for you in order for you to dedicate time to this aspect of your life. If you think it’s just going to happen without you committing to it, it simply will not work.

You can’t blame your “bad memory” if you forget names either. The only reason you believe that you have a “bad memory” is because you haven’t been training it to remember names. You’ve got to tell yourself, because its true, that you can remember names if you put your mind to it.

The next time before you head to a networking event or a party anywhere, remind yourself by telling yourself “I will make my best effort to remember the names of the people I meet.” By doing this, you are programming your mind to be receptive of meeting new people and this goes right into the next step of the system…

Concentrate

You’ve got to keep in mind that you can only remember what you focus on and observe in the first place. If your concentration is on something else or you are distracted when someone is telling you their name, you won’t remember it. This means you’ll need to focus on 2 things in this step:

1) Pay attention to the persons name when you first hear it

2) Form an impression of what you thought of them when you first met them

You truly need to listen to the persons name when they first tell you it. Take the time to listen and focus on them. Be genuinely interested in learning about them and what their name is. If you missed it when they first told you their name or you didn’t hear them correctly, you can always say “I’m sorry I missed your name. Can you give it to me again?” You don’t need to be ashamed of this, which you may initially think you would, because you truly did miss their name and want to get it right. The person will be grateful that you are interested enough to get their name again.

If you truly need to, you can even say “I’m sorry can you spell it out for me?” I’ve done this various times when I thought I heard a “b” but it was actually a “v” in a name. Get a clear picture of your impression of the person at this time as well. You want to notice things that will help you remember this person later on. Perhaps the shape of their nose or their smile will help you remember their names.

 

Repeat

Repeating anything helps you remember it. It’s the same as with your golf swing, the more you repeat it, the more you become comfortable with it and the more it is engrained in your memory through muscle memory. I use this a lot with juggling and using muscle memory through repetition in order to improve my juggling form.

So how does this apply to remembering names? It’s simple. As soon as you hear the persons name in the conversation you want to repeat it once to verify you heard the persons name correctly. If you didn’t, they will be able to correct you and this will actually be beneficial to you because you will be able to repeat the name a few more times to verify that you got it right.

You can also repeat the name silently to yourself during your conversation with them. I find its best to use the other persons name at least 3 to 5 times within the first few minutes of the conversation. This is not only because people love hearing their own name repeated, but also because it helps you remember their name. Always use their name when leaving the conversation as well, this will leave another memory in your mind about their name.

Associate

One of the best ways to remember a name is to associate their name to something that is on their face. Say for example you meet a girl by the name of Nancy and Nancy has a large nose for her face. You can associate “nosey” and “Nancy” if it will help you remember her name. By exaggerating the image and making it larger than life, it will further solidify their name in your mind.

If visual images are the best way you learn, then use visual images to remember the name of these people. If you meet someone named Jack, picture Jack in a Box popping out at you. I find it fun and entertaining to come up with pictures like this from time to time.

If you are more of a sound person, associate a rhyme or sound with the person you meet. For example if you know of The Beatles and meet a girl named Michelle, you can remember Michelle, ma belle.

If feelings are more up your alley, which is typically true of females more-so than males, then you can associate feelings to different people and their names. If you meet a person named Paul, who is fairly pushy, you can remember Paul is fairly pushy. You can find out little tips and tricks that work well for you to allow you to associate your feelings to their name.

Practice Makes Perfect

This is just a starting point for you so you’ll need to remember that this is a growing process and you will find what ways work best for you and what doesn’t work for you.

The next time you are going out to a networking event or party, keep these steps in mind and work on improving your memory. You’ll start to remember names better and will develop better relationships with more people.

If you have any suggestions or tips that have helped you remember names, please leave comments below!

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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