Mental Literacy

Mental Literacy may be described as the King of Literacy. We pour hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide into competing our mastery of verbal, numerical and other forms of literacy, while ignoring the most basic and most important 'alphabet' of all - the alphabet of the brain.

Possessing this one fundamental literacy, we will be able to master the others with ease. Most of you who are reading this article will be both literate and numerate.

To give you a good guide to your current MLQ (Mental Literacy Quotient) consider the following questions or statements.

Answer YES or NO to each of them.

In your entire school career, were you taught more than two hours about:

  1. The number of your brain cells and how they function?
  2. The difference in your memory functions while you learn and after you have learned?
  3. How to apply your creativity to any subject?
  4. How the way your thinking affects the growth of your brain cells?
  5. How to "ride the waves" of concentration?
  6. How to raise your I.Q.?
  7. The relationship between physical and mental health?
  8. How to apply learning theory to your own learning?
  9. The different functions of your left and right cortex?
  10. The rhythms of memory?
  11. Your eye/brain relationship and how to control them for improving the taking in of information?
  12. How to take notes that increase both your memory and your creativity?

Do you think:

  1. Memory naturally declines with age?
  2. The brain loses brain cells with age?
  3. Children learn languages faster than adults?
  4. Each alcoholic drink costs you 1,000 brain cells?

Have you ever caught yourself saying things like:

  1. I'm not creative.
  2. I have the world's worst memory.
  3. I'm not very good at math.
  4. I can't sing.
  5. I can't do art.
  6. I am stupid.

Which is the correct answer?

  1. The percentage of the brain we consciously use is:
           a)  50%     b) 20%    c) 1% 

Creative Exercise:

  1. In one minute, jot down all the possible uses you can think of for a paper clip.
  2. Next, do exactly the same as in 24, this time jotting down all those things for which you cannot use a paper clip.


You would be truly Mentally Literate if you answered all the first 12 questions with a "YES", questions 13 to 22 with a "NO", the percentage of brain use with 1%, the positive paper clip uses with 8 or more in a minute, and the negative uses with 0. A score of even 30% on these questions would place you in the top 1% of the Mentally Literate.

Why do we have this enormous lack of knowledge about that sleeping giant we all carry around with us every second of our lives? Because the science of our brain is truly in its infancy. 95% of what we now know about the human brain has been discovered in the last ten years.

The brain itself has only existed in its present form for some 45,000 years - a mere twinkling of an eye in the context of evolutionary history. And it is only in the last 500 years that scientists have come to recognise that our mental skills are located in our heads. Not surprisingly, we are still experiencing teething problems as we take our first tottering steps to discover how our brains work and how to use them.