Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday fun: of Sport and Brain

As Haruki Murakami said in one of his books, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, "Muscles are hard to get and easy to lose. Fat is easy to get and hard to lose." Same logic applies to mind exercise and IQ. It is hard to get smarter and easy to slip on the way and yield to laziness and bad habits. Undoubtedly, we can go into lengthy discussions about different types of knowledge and that it's not that bad, but quoting the same book again, "The most important thing we ever learn at school is the fact that the most important things can't be learned at school." Who teaches you determination or will power? Resilience? Humility? Forgiveness?

I started going to the gym last week again. After four years of going to the gym 5-6 times a week, a 4-month break was grueling. My body was crying at first needing its daily fix of exercise, but then it sort of reconciled to the fact that it's not getting any. The battle in my mind was even more fierce: how do I balance the MBA pressure with the need of regular exercise? After my short vacation trip to the South of France beaches I could not postpone joining a local Madrid gym any longer. Since then I have been good with attendance and intensity of exercise. Surely, the muscles were complaining at the beginning but now I am getting back into the routine again. After all, PAIN IS INEVITABLE BUT SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL.

One of the reasons I decided to join IE Business School was to get back into the mind gym routine - precisely the same withdrawal symptoms as with physical exercise. I am not saying that when you work there is no intellectual stimulation, but the levels of abstraction are quite different. I was managing to compensate the lack of academic load as much as I could with books, short term courses and learned talks with people of science, but I did not feel it was enough. Morale of this story is: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Every day, in every situation - your body, mind and soul must be working - stagnation is death. On this inspirational note I am leaving you with a couple of suggestions for intellectual stimulation when you have nothing better to do :)


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