Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Arrange to Improve Your Mind

By Tamara Martfeld

One way to improve your mind is to look for different ways of doing something. This opens the mind to new ideas by stretching it and getting it out of the rut of whatever you normally think about. My suggestion today is to think of different ways to arrange something.

There are two great examples of sets which are re-arranged frequently to create new material. The first is the alphabet. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. I don’t even know how many ways these letters have been arranged. How many unique books, articles, blogs, magazines, stories, newspapers, etcetera are out there without duplication? The libraries are full of them, and yet there are more arrangements every day. All from a mere 26 letters.

The second example are the 88 keys on a piano. Music has been created for centuries. From 88 keys we have music which is classical, rock, country, show tunes, and new age just to name a few. Every one of these genres has many scores, and again, there are more arrangements of these keys every day.

You can rearrange letters or keys to get a start on stretching your mind. Since this is an exercise, the final product does not have to be something which can be published. You can even make up words like Dr. Seuss did! Any arrangement of the letters or keys will do, and the arrangements do not have to be written down.

Other things you can arrange are rocks in a rock garden, flowers in a vase, and books in a book shelf. Even if you do not physically do the moving, you can think up different ways to arrange them. For example, some ideas for arranging books are by the Dewey Decimal system, author, alphabetical, or type (such as history or biography). Trust me, there are several other ways to arrange books – I have not given them all away.

If you are a hands-on person, you can arrange blocks of wood, Lego’s, or a similar item. You can find a way to arrange them to make a known item, or you can create a new item with them. Maybe you will discover a new item which can be marketed. Who says you have to be a kid to enjoy these activities?

There are other recognized avenues for arranging things. Artists arrange the paint colors on canvas. If you look at some of the art out there, you will see that talent is not always needed for this task, and you do not have to paint a given item. Some art looks like the painter just threw paint balls at the canvas. Cooks arrange food on a plate to make it more appetizing or to create pictures with the food. In some cultures this is a recognized art form. Landscapers arrange the plants in a yard. Office workers arrange files so that information can be found either in a file cabinet or on a computer. The possibilities are endless.

As I write this, there is movement in the United State’s Congress to add Puerto Rico as a state. Should this happen an additional star will be needed on the American flag. You can look for a way to add that 51st star to the field of blue and still have it look good. You do not need to be American to take on this challenge.

Whether you physically arrange something or just figure out an arrangement in your head, take the time to do this activity. Try to find at least three ways to arrange your chosen item. This exercise helps you think outside the box and will help you when you are looking for solutions to future problems.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July or whatever you might be celebrating in your country if you do not live in the United States.