You too can raise your IQ!
Many years ago, I started my advertising career as a humble-if not hack-copywriter, penning newspaper ads for a downtown Cleveland department store called Higbee’s (and later Dillard’s), which ironically occupied the very space that will soon house slot machines and Black Jack tables. I’ll be the first to admit that writing these ads was more robotic than creative. Even so, I have to admit to the thrill of tearing through the Plain Dealer every Sunday morning to see my “Men’s Shoe Sale” headline in gigantic type across a two-page spread.
Besides the $5 an hour, which was about the same amount I paid for parking, this experience gave me a springboard into the advertising agency business. However, there things became a tad more demanding because we needed to concept actual ideas. To this day, I strongly believe that being a copywriter or creative director is one of the most challenging jobs out there. Because, basically, it involves having to come up with fantastically original ideas with a gun to your head. Every day.
A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing a Newsweek magazine and came across a piece entitled, “31 Ways to Get Smarter in 2012.” My first thought was that this would have come in mighty handy when I was the poor writer starting every day with a blank sheet of paper in front of me. Nonetheless, there were a few tips I found appealing even now, mostly because they didn’t include drinking pomegranate juice or doing aerobic exercise.
In no particular order, they are:
1. Throw away your Smartphone. Incessantly checking your messages disrupts focus and saps productivity.
2. Get your news from Al Jazeera. A 2009 study found that viewers were more open-minded than those who got their news from CNN.
3. Eat dark chocolate. It’s reported to have memory-improving flavonoids. (Not sure what they are, but they sound good, right?)
4. See a Shakespeare play. Reading the Bard has been shown to engage the brain, but watching him can’t hurt either.
5. Eat yogurt. Studies on mice suggest probiotics are good for your brain, not just your stomach. (I have yet to see one rodent eat yogurt.)
6. Stop smiling. Experiments have shown that frowning makes you more analytic in your thinking. (Note to creative folks: We never expected you to smile.)
These are things I wished I’d known back in the day. But it’s never too late to boost your brainpower. I believe I’ll start with the dark chocolate.