I am writing after a long time related to the brain functioning. This comes from he fact that I get to hear a lot of times and I am also a culprit sometimes, that I end up saying – “I did not have the time”. Or even if you don’t say it in the open, you are overwhelmed and always under pressure because you have so many things on your plate.
A lot of this whole situation arises because we are being reactive to our circumstances. Whether its the email which comes in – complaining about a problem or a phone call giving us a new requirement or even just a person interrupting us, asking if we have a minute. Suddenly you get pulled one after another into tasks that were not planned for the day. I have had the habit of keeping a To-Do list for many years, but by reacting to all these interruptions, the To-Dos only kept growing longer.
Now to top that when I try to switch off my phone or switch off my email, I have this constant fear, a niggling feeling, that there’s a disaster waiting to happen on the other side . Now my brain is designed to ensure my survival, so it will always keep warning me about impending danger. So what happens, its even more difficult to concentrate on a task. This happens because of the Zeigarnik effect and the lizard brain which still resides inside us.
One thing which I learnt from Dean Jackson is to do a brain dump for a concentrated 50 minutes, from time to time. I have mentioned this earlier also – please watch his YouTube video on the Fifty minute focus finder. Its an amazing detailing on how you can become more productive. I keep going back to that video from time to time and each time I watch it, I learn something new to make me less reactive.
This brain dump does help the brain become a little more restive, because it realises that I have put out the things on paper so I will execute on it. Its a very relieving exercise. But you need to do it without any kind of distraction.
Till next time then.
Human beings have been designed to be social animals. Our ancestors used to live in groups so that they were protected from wild animals which were much bigger and more dangerous then them. This meant that the our ancestors had to conform to the group rules to stay together.
Being thrown out of the group would also mean being killed by an animal so dangerous.
So being thrown out was not only humiliating, but the humiliation could become life threatening.
So today our brain still carries the wiring of our ancestors It does not want to get humiliated because then we will be thrown out of the group and the wild animals can kill us. Our survival is at stake.
As I have mentioned many times before our brain is primarily wired for our survival only. The moment it senses a threat to the survival it starts giving resistance. So because of that resistance we try to avoid doing anything new because if it fails it can be Humiliating and that can be a problem of survival.
Have you had your brain give you all the dire consequences of an action you have taken. It is this same feature repeating.
What the brain is not recognising is the fact that today, there’s no survival issue in more than 99% situations. We live in a much more safer environment than before.
That’s one of the reasons that entrepreneurship has been found to succeed in clusters with first generation entrepreneurs. Because then a failure is only seen as an experiment and the social system around you does not ostracise you. The brain feels more comfortable taking risks.
On the other hand if you come from a business family, then entrepreneurship is considered a given and therefore the children don’t even think in terms of failing in taking/starting a business. While people whose parents have traditionally been in service dominated home tend to stick to being in services.
What all our brain can do!
Till next time then.
I have this terrific ability to overthink. Over the years I have tried to get better by realising that my brain is going into rumination and bring it back into the present.
Actually because our brain is designed for survival as its basic function, it wants to conserve energy. Since it tries to conserve energy it gives you resistance to anything where it believes that it will need to do work.
So I used to and even now, many a times, create scenarios in my brain. I get an insight, a new idea….then my brain thinks “work” and it starts showing me all the different consequences. How it can fail, how I will not get any more such work etc. My brain also reminds me of all the previous experiments where things didn’t go as per plan so that I don’t go ahead with my idea and it does not have to perform work. It tries to install fear.
Have you also faced this kind of a situation with your brain throwing up various scenarios and getting you tense or worked-up.
So what I have started doing everyday, is identifying one activity which is giving me resistance. Once I identify it, I then go out and take one action step. Once I have taken this affirmative action, I get real world feedback. Somethings work out and some don’t. When things don’t, I try to figure out the possible course correction.
If things work out then my brain gets relaxed that there’s no danger and it starts supporting my next steps.Nobody knows the future. We only have the NOW. If there’s nothing else that you have clear about the problem you are facing, start with the first step in trying to solve the problem and then see how things work out.
I would love to hear your comments – if your brain also plays games with you and shows you all these dangerous scenarios.
Till next time then.
The human brain is designed for ensuring your survival at all times. Given that most of us – especially those who live in democracies are generally safe – the brain does actually does not need to do too much for survival. But because that’s the inherent design, things can’t be changed.
Which means that the brain will pushback on all kinds of new things that you think of doing, because it inherently means that it will need to work more. If it works more it will consume more energy, which in turn is a risk if there’s a sudden need for survival issues.
I have been trying to analyse everyday – sometimes successfully and sometimes without success – at which points did I face resistance or pushback, which caused me to procrastinate. There’s actually an interesting podcast which Dean Jackson and Dan Sullivan used to do called The Joy of Procrastination. They had an interesting take, that you should actually plan your day based on the procrastination points that you face everyday.
Once you realise that the pushback or resistance or procrastination or fear means that the brain is thinking that new work is involved, it could actually be good for you. So thinking in these terms, I am working now each day on trying to identify one point of resistance and then actually do that thing. Sometimes it has been writing an email to a prospect, sometimes its a difficult conversation with a colleague.
I am not sure if all the activities that I have done are actually becoming successful but there’s a great sense of relief after I do the thing, where I was facing push back.
While I am working on that aspect I am also trying to figure out, how I can make the Domino effect come into play, when I am doing these things which are giving me a pushback. I will keep you posted if I can build an “algorithm” which can help me make me geometrically more productive because of these activities.
Till next time then.