Lumosity, the “brain training company”, is booming. Everyone is looking for the magic, quick, easy way to fortify his or her brain in hopes of staving off dementia. However, know this. The brain is designed to elaborate itself from experience (in a very broad sense). The foundation of our being is learning and memory. That got us through growing up and it will get us through aging if we just do what comes naturally and you don’t have to pay a fee. That is, interact with the world about you.

There is so much marketing and appeal to science – that is often not founded in reality – that one can lose track of a very simple fact. The brain enriches itself by the mere act of engaging in the world. Here are some ideas from an article in the Business Insider ( The list is not and cannot be exhaustive but gives a range of possibilities. Doing these things may not actually make you smarter but they will enrich the connections in your brain.

1. Have an idea. I think its actually hard not to have an idea each day. It may not be the idea that changes the world but few ideas do.
2. Read a newspaper. Be sure not to skip ideas that challenge your beliefs.
3. Play devil’s advocate. Reading an editorial may help with this.
4. Read a book.
5. Watch an educational video or take a free online course.
6. Check with your favorite sources of knowledge. Yes, sports center counts.
7. Share what you have learned with others. We know and remember best that which we can and do explain to others.
8. Make a to do list including learning new things.
9. Track what you have accomplished from the to do list.
10. Create a “stop doing” list. For example, I get caught up in playing hearts and spider solitaire. I need to do it less often. Maybe I need to set a timer so I can get more interesting things done.
11. Keep a journal of what you have learned that you want to remember.
12. Talk to someone you find to be interesting.
13. Be with people who are smarter than you.
14. When you hear something interesting, follow up on it.
15. Learn new words to help you express yourself.
16. Get outside of your comfort zone. If you are really willing to confront a common fear, join toastmasters.
17. Travel and explore new places and cultures.
18. Set aside time to do nothing.
19. Engage in a hobby.
20. Exercise.

I am sure you can add to this list. The point is to paraphrase Carl Rogers, don’t just grow older bur rather continue to grow as you grow older.