Like some other bloggers, I received a copy of the e-mail below by Wellingtom Mayor Celia-Wade Brown to her Council colleagues:
I’d like to discuss training, conferences and personal development when we’re back. I hope some courses on chairing, speed-reading, engagement and participatory democracy, new media or the RMA will appeal. We do need to reduce our expenditure but not to zero. Instead of waiting for conferences to be put up at SPC and then trying to decide who should go, what clashes etc, there are other ways – on-line webinars, local tertiary institutions e.g. Otago’s Sustainable Cities or Victoria’s Policy Institute – or LGNZ’s courses.
Or we can take new lessons in te reo, Mandarin or ballroom dancing – all exercise neural pathways and keep us mentally fit. http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/03/can-you-build-a-better-brain.html
That might explain why skills we’re already good at don’t make us much smarter: we don’t pay much attention to them. In contrast, taking up a new, cognitively demanding activity ballroom dancing, a foreign language is more likely to boost processing speed, strengthen synapses, and expand or create functional networks.
For those who consider that mental and physical fitness might be unrelated, have a look at this link… http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100826141327.htm
A study published this year in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience provided evidence that aerobic fitness can keep aging brains healthy. “Even modest amounts of walking, 40 minutes three times a week, can engender substantial improvements in memory, decision making, and other cognitive processes,” said the study’s lead author, University of Illinois psychology professor Art Kramer.
and if you didn’t think it was relevant to your role … “Those with more connectivity … also tend to be better at planning, prioritizing, strategizing and multi-tasking. “- that’s what we have to do – and preferably enjoy doing it!
and for Leonie in particular – Nicotine, they found, has “significant positive effects” on fine motor skills, the accuracy of short-term memory, some forms of attention, and working memory, among other basic cognitive skills. The improvements “likely represent true performance enhancement” and “beneficial cognitive effects.” The reason is that nicotine binds to the brain receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that are central players in cortical circuits. (Caveat: smoking also increases your risk of dementia, so while cigarettes may boost your memory and attention now, you could pay for it later. ) but I’m not taking it up again – shortness of breath, coughing, lung or throat cancer and most of all, the smell…
Meanwhile, I look forward to us finding efficiencies and shared ways of working so we don’t have to increase prices at Toi Poneke – nor drastically cut library hours ( some may be ok if there really is low use – well said, Stephanie). However we can’t say no to all savings , efficiencies and accept 8% rates!
Mayor of Wellington
Perhaps it would be easier to avoid an 8% rates rise if Council did not spend its Councillor training budget on ballroom dancing lessons for Councillors.Celia Wade-Brown, Wellington City Council