December 12, 2014
If you want to be the most effective, visionary, inspirational, productive person (and to be the best in any of the roles you ‘play’ in your life), it’s useful to become conscious about why you do what you do in the different roles you have; to be aware of the habits you operate from and to recognise your attitudes, values, judgements and assumptions you have toward yourself and the relationships you are a part of.
It is in the gap between what you currently do; and the vision you hold of the most brilliant version of yourself as a person; that you can make growth based choices to expand your magnificence.
To know who and why you choose to be the person you are right now, you will need to get up close and personal with your brain as it is the most magnificent thing you will ever own, and you do own it!
You can be in control of it every conscious moment, with the aid of a few simple tips.
Why am I a creature of habit?
To start with, let’s talk about why you are at times a creature of habit.
Basically, as humans, we allow our brains to adopt some efficient strategies for taking shortcuts when drawing conclusions about what events, experiences, interactions, and relationships with different people in our lives mean.
Ever noticed how in your adult life you do so many tasks and respond and react to people in your life in set ways?
For example you drive, eat, get dressed, shower, answer phone calls, and talk to your team/peers/colleagues/partner/parents/kids in an automatic way.
You will lead a certain way.
Also notice how once you have had an interaction or two with an individual you have ‘summed them up’, made your opinion up about them, and you bring that opinion into future interactions or life decisions.
Creating mental shortcuts
You create shortcuts at the brain level to save mental energy —your brain is hardwired for laziness based on your survival instinct. Bottom line, your brain wants you to create habits, automatic responses and repetitious behaviours so you can have as much energy available at any moment in time in case you need to run for your life (flight) or fight for your life (fight).
Lucky for us in civilised countries, we don’t have a lot of threats to our life on a daily basis.
What does this mean? You can take control back of our brain.
In all aspects of life you can think fresh in every moment.
You can be much more creative and respond to current information available to you in the moment.
You can make your mind up about something or someone based on what is ‘real data’ in this very moment; instead of letting your past views, impressions, decisions and habits guide your behaviour.
How do I rewire my brain?
Through self-directed Neuroplasticity, where you make in-the-moment choices to re-wire the neural pathways in your brain.
Neuroplasticity is the brain's life-long ability to change based on new learning and new ways of thinking; and you are in charge.
All you need to do to choose what you want to focus on and then pay attention to it repetitively.
When you were a child you learnt new skills (such as walking, using cutlery, putting puzzles together, cleaning your teeth) through repetition. This is no different.
If you want to become the most effective and fantastic person you can be, choose what characteristics, traits, attitudes, communication styles, you admire and put your energy into giving them a ‘pulse’.
Breathe life into these things through your focused attention on being the way you want, through your intentions, thoughts, feelings, words, and actions.
Let’s be clear on one thing. You’ll have thousands of awesome habits and patterns and repetitious behaviours that lead to awesome outcomes in all areas of your life. Keep them; allow your brain to repeat those ones when appropriate.
What I am suggesting is to be in the moment, every moment and make fresh choices that will lead to the best result for you and anyone else you are interacting with or influencing; be it your team members, colleagues, peers or with the precious people in your personal life.
If your old habits lead to mediocre results, choose a different thought, emotional response, behaviour or words that will create the potential for great outcomes for all. Do this repetitively and your will rewire your brain.
How do I create new habits in situations where I am not creating the best results?
There are 3 easy steps!
1. Pause, you need to do this to be able to be in the moment.
When you pause to consciously consider what high quality outcomes you desire for any relationship or other area of your life, it enables you to alter any habitual behaviour, like procrastination or lack mentality such as ‘I don’t know how to communicate effectively?’ or ‘I don’t have enough time to deal with the demands in my life’ and you will create better results.
So basically, when you pause, you will create the space to catch yourself in old thought patterns, habits and beliefs that may not be generating successful life outcomes.
Only then you are in a position to change the way you go about being the best version of yourself, moment by moment.
2. Set a clear Intention/s.
Setting intentions are simple…… state what you want.
So, let’s say you need to have an honest discussion with your partner of a family member, and you have found it challenging in the past. You need to set a clear intention for the outcome you now desire. For example you may intend to have a respectful conversation with the person, where you transparently discuss the issues together and reach an agreeable outcome.
Notice how the intention is CLEAR and SPECIFIC: respectful conversation, transparently discuss relationship issues; reach an agreeable outcome.
Okay, so you have paused, set your intention and asked lots of rich questions to stimulate healthy leadership behaviour, now all that remains is to:
3. Take action. Think thoughts, speak words and choose behaviours that will lead to getting awesome results. The great thing here is you have unlimited possibilities available to you. This where you pay attention to your choice through action.
When creating news ways of being, you need to be consistent.
Remember, your brain needs repetition to strengthen the neural pathways of your new, more effective choices.
Author: Christine McKee, B Psych (Hons 1), Accredited Trainer of NLP, AMAPS.