An Ancient Mental Exercise You Can Use Today

An Ancient Mental Exercise You Can Use Today

I visited the ‘Gold Museum’ in downtown Bogota two days ago. The Muisca people had a LOT of gold. I had no idea there were so many ways to smelt, stain, or shape it!


In addition to the gold, the Muisca have a tradition to help deal with crises like war, a bad harvest, a drought, and on and on. They asked their ancestors.


They didn’t believe that their ancestors really ‘died’ and they kept them in tombs that could be re-entered in the future. If they needed guidance, they would take the ancestors out of the tomb and hold a meeting.


The corpses were dead and didn’t jump to life providing any solutions, but this exercise can be the spark for ideas that are very much alive.


Feeling someone’s presence sets your brain in motion, even if they aren’t really there. You’ll begin to imagine his or her potential responses. Ask a question and your brain whirrs into action attempting to produce an answer.


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You can try this metal exercise without digging up your ancestor’s graves.


For example, if you have a problem that requires a high amount of creativity, you can close your eyes and ask Thomas Edison how he would solve it.


If you need courage for a class presentation, you can ask Theodore Roosevelt for advice. ‘Flash!’ You recall story of Roosevelt getting shot in the chest during a speech and remaining on stage to finish up! ‘Fashes’ like this are common but they’re often unexpected. They can provide insights, perspectives, or even complete solutions.


The more you know about the people you ‘talk’ to, the better.


Try It Out!


  1. Think of a challenge you’re facing now.

  2. Think of a ‘role model’ who can solve the problem. (Living or dead)

  3. Ask them “You know how to solve this problem. How can I solve it?”

  4. Imagine them looking at you, clear your mind, and wait for a response.

  5. If they respond, say the words aloud so they’re easier to remember.


You don’t need to follow through with everything you hear. Some ideas may be clearly wrong, or even silly.


But sometimes the ‘flashed of insight’ resulting from this mental exercise will be incredibly useful, allow you to relax, or help you re-clarify what you need to be doing.


Simultaneously focusing on a ‘problem’ and the ‘problem-solving role model’ can create unique, potentially useful thoughts.


Try it. Really, try it. You might be surprised what you come up with.

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