The importance of relevant activities

Theory

  • It is important to choose material, activities and experiences that are relevant to your life, your work, your interests and hobbies.
  • This is because our minds have evolved to work in a ‘cost-effective way’. This means that our brains naturally make as little effort as possible, unless something is important to us and then our brains actually optimize mental processing (Sperber & Wilson, 2006).
  • Therefore, if the information or the activity is relevant or important to you, you will pay more attention to it and your brain will actually work harder to remember it! And if it is not relevant your brain might not make any effort at all!
  • Also, when you are doing something that is relevant you will probably feel more optimistic, relaxed and confident. It has been found that information entering your brain is first received by the ‘emotional’ area of the brain and filtered through it (LeDoux, 1996).  Therefore, ‘negative’ emotions such as anxiety, boredom and demotivation can block your learning (Krashen, 1982).

Practice

Take a look at recommendations for activities and resources.  We're sure you'll find something that is related to your hobbies, interests, work or social life there.