Tag Archives: success

Help your brain to not trip over it’s own survival mechanisms

Does thinking make you tired?

I wish that I could energize and focus myself by thinking and (relatedly) by reading. I wish I could set my mind to something and just GO but I find that focus and a state of wakefulness are kind of like trying to keep a spinning top from falling off the sides of a coffee table. You have to herd that mess.

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(See what I mean?!?! I’m writing late at night and while thinking about the impact of this last statement, I nodded off, fingers barely poised above the home row—except for the heavy ‘d’ finger.

I really did write this segment late at night, really was exhausted, and really did fall asleep in the process. But before I banished it to my Ridiculous bin, I wanted to share some good news with you. The good news is that working WITH the human brain and our physiology, instead of against it, is really worthwhile and will help us focus and reach our goals.

Here are some scientifically backed tips for getting more of your potential loosed.

  1.  Eliminate distractions. Our brain wants to follow distractions. Studies show that a distraction happens every 11 minutes throughout one’s day, while it takes one’s brain 25 minutes to ‘get over it’ and move on. Therefore, cutting ourselves off from certain distractions will pull out stops towards accomplishing our goal(s).
  2. Limit work sessions, especially creative ones. With very few exceptions, brainstorming sessions, creative writing workshops, and other productive increments should be limited to an hour. Beyond that, everyone keeps looking like adults but inside we start to naturally resemble pent up children that need to go run around the playground for a while. Therefore, build in mandatory breaks for yourself. If you need more time for a project/task, or if it just isn’t done yet, break it up into sections–taking advantage of…
  3. Chunks. I’m not kidding here–chunking–is a psychological term for how our brain groups things together in order to efficiently keep track of information. This is why we remember things better if grouped into threes. (E.g. phone numbers (555) 555-, “they always come in threes, don’t they?”) This is also useful for planning how to teach and share information: combine it with the fact that in a list of things people will remember the first and last items best, and you can greatly increase the chances they’ll retain some of it.
  4. Git ‘er dun. Okay, so this one isn’t scientifically steeped here. But it’s right up there with “Just Do It.” Simply finishing something–even if it is only one item out of many you want to complete, or if it is something very small–will give you an emotional and cognitive pat on the back. I saw this in action the most working with special-needs children and those with learning disabilities. When these kids are just floundering and on the brink of total shutdown, we quickly bring the finish line to them so that they are guaranteed to at least cross it. (We would try again later.)

Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, what’s 3 + 4?”
Johnny: “AAAAHHHHH!!!!!”–while flailing and writhing in pain.
Tutor: “Okay, Johnny, touch the circle. Good job! Go play!”

These little tips are sufficient to lighten up on  yourself and get tough with yourself simultaneously. Work with your biological inclinations, get serious about building and guarding an environment you’re most likely to succeed in, and then go for it.

😉

Mental sick day–crack for your confidence

When I was in a key developmental stage (teens) I was granted many “mental health days.” Sounds helpful, right? Sounds like my folks were cool, compassionate, and understanding. That was the intent but the concept was…misleading. And, as it turns out, debilitating.

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(Courtesy MSNBC)

Hindsight is 20/20 (or close to it maybe, but that’s another post) so I can’t be certain, but here’s what I acquired from those days. I gained:

–Sleep
–Temporary relief; taken off the hook
–Escapism and distractions
–Wallowing in my problems

Here’s what I lost:

–Learning opportunities
–Self-respect
–Healthy anxiety and pressure
–Chances to develop a growth mindset by learning how to overcome a real problem.
–Focus on the issues instead of me as the issue.
–Being forced to discover passions, what really matters to me, and striving to reach goals.

I don’t know if I’m bitter or just plain angry, but I really feel a loss. I feel duped. Not that I’m blaming them, but rather I am seeing the choices I made myself. I feel so much regret that I missed the forest for the trees over and over and over. Instead of reinforcing success and stretching, I was reinforcing negativity and quitting.

Sometimes one of the greatest things you can do for your children (or friends, employees, students) is to keep their feet to the flame. Instead of removing the pressure, encourage them and help just enough so that they can know that they did it.

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Mental health days are to mental resiliency what the Lazy River is to sailing.

(From)

How to fail in marriage

So you want a recipe for disaster? You want to sabotage your relationship with your number one? Sure, everyone believes they are going to succeed and be happy at the outset. Nobody really marries expecting to fail. But some of us get to a point where our pride just becomes far too important and suddenly seems to be a better lover. Here is a list of critical steps to unravel what is supposed to be the most important relationship in your life:

DON’T push yourself to make your spouse proud of you.
DO expect them to accept whatever issues from you no matter how bad it is.

DON’T seek out new things to put smiles on his or her face.
DO continually plan to do the same old same old. Your spouse should be no better than your old college roommates who never liked change, wanted to be left alone, and to be as messy and play as many video games as he wanted.

DON’T apologize sincerely or let your spouse vent.
DO plan exactly how to retaliate, get defensive about things beside the main point, and use sarcasm whenever possible.

DON’T let your spouse challenge your family. When they go up against your mom, they will lose every time.
DO compare your dysfunctional family systems to each other all the time, and let your family justify and coddle you and your problems while villainizing your spouse.

DON’T put your spouse’s well being ahead of your children.
DO use your children as weapons, collateral, allies, and bargaining pieces.

DON’T take them out on dates, adventures, and open-ended excursions where you don’t care about getting home at a certain time.
DO come home and take off the shoes and belt and let the family know you need “me time.”

DON’T worry about proving love anymore or doing what’s right because it’s right.
DO get defensive and tell him or her their love is “conditional” if they are going to hold you to the truth or to your own words.

DON’T repent.
DO apologize and move on. Shrug if necessary.

(*Even though I’m being facetiously ironic here, I have personal experience with these. I’m sure the list will be added to. May it be a warning sign. We don’t have to relive the mistakes of others.)

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