I was thinking of the commonalities between my favorite activities. I box professionally. I’m a physics student. I write. I enjoy chess. These tasks are different in terms of their physical execution, but I feel that the mental processes are similar. I began to list what I felt were the most important mental abilities for success in these fields.

While making the list, I realized that these mental skills are required for achievement in all fields. Developing these traits is the mental equivalent of becoming a better athlete. It’s still possible to be a great football player without great athleticism, but it’s easier if you have it. On the flip side, one can do well in any number of sports with only great athleticism and no specific training.

The mental realm is similar. There are plenty of chess players, mathematicians and poker players with average intelligence who excel. However, having great mental abilities will not only make it easier, but it also allows you more freedom in which mental pursuit you specialize in. Whether you become a musician, a physicist or even a professional backgammon player, you will excel if you develop the mental traits I’ve listed.

The mind and body are not separate. There are mental components to the physical and vice-versa. A strong and agile mind will make you better at any physical task. A strong body has strengthens the mind, but not nearly to the same degree. What I have written about are the areas most crucial to internal and external development.

I don’t give explicit exercises but I do discuss the general mechanism for improving each facet of the mind. These notes will serve as the backbone for future posts on the topics as well as some experiments I’m conducting on my own development. This short but organized and detailed outline will give you the reasoning and tools to sharpen your mental faculties.

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