Seven Brain habits that will improve your personal and professional performance.


Manus Du Toit from BNI Nelspruit with Brian Whitehorn of Paardeplaats Nature Resreve

Manus du Toit, Nico Burger, Brian Whitehorn

The international business generation and referral organisation, BNI, believes in helping businesses and their owners to grow.

BNI Nelspriut workshop at Paardeplaats

Joey Fletcher, Elmarie & Wayne Jefferis

At a recent workshop, brain-based development practitioner Manus du Toit from Brainy Acts in Nelspruit conducted an informal workshop for members of the Longtom Chapter at Paardeplaats Nature Retreat close to Lydenburg. Du Toit explained how seven basic brain habits could optimise performance and general health.

After an informative interactive session, guests were treated to scrumptious soup and snacks prepared by Paardeplaats’ Saucy Chef Brian Whitehorn.

BNI healthy habits

Manus du Toit, Gerhard & Christine van den Berg, Rentia & Pine Pienaar.

 Seven Brain habits that will improve your personal and professional performance.

Is it possible to optimize your work performance? Very possible, said Manus du Toit from Brainy Acts in Nelspruit. Du Toit, also Area Manager Mpumalanga for the international business generation organization BNI, held a “Brain Basics” workshop for members of the Longtom BNI branch at Paardeplaats Nature Retreat last week.

He shared seven basic brain habits that have been proven to drastically improve not only performance in the workplace but also general well-being, health and happiness.


Manus Du Toit

“Everything you say, think or do, triggers a chemical reaction in the brain,” Manus said.

A negative thought or action releases an inhibitor, he explained to a spellbound group of twenty businessmen and women from Lydenburg, gathering informally at Paardeplaats. “However, should one choose to actively practise seven basic brain habits, improvement is guaranteed.”

ATTITUDE is golden rule number one. No qualification, skill or incentive equips you better for performance.

BRAIN FITNESS is rule number two. The thicker the corpus colossum, the quicker brain messages are delivered. To demonstrate this fact, Du Toit had his audience in stitches, practising simple cross-over exercises that could be performed daily – i.e. touching your left ear with your right hand with the other hand resting on your nose. Playing a musical instrument, exercise, sport and reading are all examples of activities contributing to brain fitness.

Saucy Chef Brian in action

Saucy Chef Brian in action

A HEALTHY DIET is the next prerequisite:

* Drink 8 glasses of water per day – not counting coffee, tea or other drinks

* Protein – more white than red meat and more fish than chicken

* At least 5 fresh fruit or veg per day

* Nuts and avo and other specific brain foods – but don’t overdo quantities

REGULAR EXERCISE  does not only result in a healthier brain but also addresses conflict, stress and general emotional health.

STRESS MANAGEMENT has to become a lifestyle and not only a skill. Breathing exercises, laughing, appropriate music and exposure to nature are readily available methods to achieve peace of mind and equilibrium.

YOUR OWN BRAIN PROFILE contributes to your ability to perform better – a brain-based learning and development practitioner like Manus can assist with this, by means of uncomplicated tests.

SOCIAL INTERACTION is rule number seven, particularly important for introverts or recluses who are drained by people. Extended isolation can lead to depression and unhappiness, he warned.

GENERAL TIPS shared with BNI members:

* Create a vision for yourself and write it down. A sense of accomplishment contributes to happiness.

* Set goals. Continuously ask yourself where you are, where you would like to be and how you will get there. This must be a step by step process. If you want to lose weight, get fit or buy a new car, it will only happen if you formulate how you will get there, day by day.

Healthy habits foster healthy friendships

Healthy habits foster healthy friendships

Challenge your comfort zone but remember who you are, Manus said in closing. A healthy brain leads to a healthy mind and body – and ultimately to peak performance and happiness,

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What are the differences between Moles & Mole-Rats ?

Mole rat

Mole Rats

African mole-rat, or Hottentot mole-rat, is a burrowing rodent found in Southern Africa, in particular in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Mole Rat facts

  • Mole-rats are stocky, short-tailed rodents with tiny eyes and near-invisible ears.
  • Mole Rats hey have evolved five tiny like fingers forming what appears to be a hand on their front feet.
  • Their coats are rather matt and not as shiny as the golden mole.
  • Their large white incisors are exposed even when the mouth is closed, the lips actually closing behind the incisors.
  • What makes these incisors special is that they move independently and voluntarily. The movement of the lower incisors is analogous to the movement of fingers as they are both involved in grasp and touch.
  • Mole rats utilize their front incisors for exploring their environment, excavating tunnels, carrying and eating food, transporting young, and grooming.
  • Furthermore, their incisors are used in competition for resources, colony defence, and interspecies competition, otherwise known as “incisor fencing”.
  • Mole-rats are herbivorous, and most species rely on storage organs like roots, though grasses, herbs and occasionally invertebrates and even other rodents are eaten by some species too.
  • They live in small colonies, although there can be up to 14-mole rats in a colony.
  • Mole rats throw up mounds along the main burrow to get rid of surplus soil loosened on an excavation. They are particularly active after rain in expanding these burrows, as can be seen in by the extended line of fresh mounds thrown up.
  • The fresh mounds are easily recognised as damp soil pushed out to retain the shape of the burrow, only breaking down in a loose pile as it dries.

 Cape Golden Mole (Chrysochloris asiatica)

Golden moles are small, insectivorous burrowing mammals endemic to Southern Africa, where their Afrikaans names are gouemolle or kruipmolle.

Moles are not blind, as most people believe. They do have eyes and internal ears, but these are very small to prevent them from being clogged up and damaged during tunnelling.

Golden Mole Facts

  • Golden Moles occur only in SubSaharan Africa, and nowhere else in the world.
  • One of their habitats in the southwestern parts of the Kruger National Park. Golden moles live underground in the sandy soil under grasslands with scattered trees and bushes (also known as bushveld).
  • The body of the golden mole is covered with silky cinnamon-brown fur that is getting darker toward the back and paler toward the belly.
  • Golden moles are highly specialized for the underground life. They have muscular shoulders and short, but strong legs, equipped with curved claws, designed for the digging of the tunnels. Webbed hind legs allow shovelling in backwards.
  • Golden moles usually dig their tunnels just below the surface of the ground
  • Although they can see, the mole’s eyesight is poor, and eyes are overgrown with no ability to detect colours, just light from dark and movement.
  • Golden mole has an excellent sense of touch and hearing internal ears), used for detection of vibrations that may signal potential danger.
  • Golden moles are insectivores with teeth almost like a little dog. with which they eat a different kind of insects, earthworms and snails. Termites are their favourite foods
  • In their hunt for earthworms and other subterranean insect prey, they use their smooth leathery snouts to push the soil upwards, which is then moved backwards with the claws of the front feet.
  • The fore-legs evolved into long clawed toes that  are used as burrowing instruments
  • Golden moles are rarely seen in the wild because they are very small, live underground and because they are active only during the night.
  • They normally burrow just below the sand surface, leaving a distinctive humped trail
  • The Cape Golden Mole is solitary. Each adult maintains its own tunnel
Lientjie Cohen
Scientific American
Encyclopedia of Life