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Archive for January, 2015

Why Most of Us Are Focused On The Negative

While at the gym yesterday, I noticed that while I normally feel pretty good about 15 minutes into my cardio, I was in a bit of a funk. Was I starting to get sick? No. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Nope, my kids even sleep through the night!

At that moment it hit me. I normally like to listen to videos, podcasts or audiobooks on some type of motivating, growth oriented content. That day I had a particular video picked out, but was having issues getting it to play and finally aborted my plan and watched the TV’s in front of me.

The programming was pretty typical at that time in the morning at my gym. The E! channel was on my left, ESPN straight ahead and CNN to the right.

As I paid more attention, these were the three items on the air simultaneously:

1)      The Kardashians – Momma Kardashian was complaining about an upcoming luxury first class trip to Thailand. The complaint? Having to spend too much time with her husband. Kim meanwhile was complaining about how nobody in her family was excited enough about her being on the cover of Vogue. The nerve!

2)      ESPN was talking about “Deflategate”, whether or not the New England Patriots purposely let air out of the football below league rules in the AFC Championship game. Did Tom Brady lie at his press conference, are the Patriots cheaters? Does everybody cheat and they just got caught?

3)      CNN had a story about how 60% of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

No wonder I was in a funk!

I am very familiar with Priming and new instantly what was going on.

Each of us has the most powerful tool on earth at our disposal.Our brain. There are between 80-100 million neurons in our brain and each one of those connects to thousands of others. It has enormous processing power, but most of this processing occurs behind the scenes in the subconscious.

For every one neuron in the conscious part of the brain, there are 1 million neurons dedicated to subconscious processing. This part of your brain is very active even though you aren’t aware of it most of the time. It is monitoring bodily functions and processing all the sights, sounds and input from the external world.

I heard one neuroscientist describe our conscious mind like a “post it note” and the subconscious like a “NASA super computer.”

So why is this important and how does this relate to my experience at the gym?

We are heavily influenced by our external circumstances, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. When you read something, are engaged in a conversation, or interact with others – your brain is automatically predicting what is most likely to happen next.

For example, even if I leave out a few ______ from this _______, your _____ can still read it and understand it just fine.

Let’s look at another example I picked up from Steve Pavlina. Read the following words below.

  • Distance
  • Car
  • Gasoline
  • Petroleum
  • Mileage
  • Efficiency

Now fill in the two missing letters and complete this word:

 F_ _L

What did you come up with? When I use this exercise with my clients and students, 80-90% choose U and E to create FUEL.

There are many more possible combinations, but almost all will pick a word that correlates to the words you read right before the activity. Makes sense right? I primed your brain to process fuel by the choice of words listed.

Now this is a simple exercise, but we are being PRIMED all the time. This happens even when we aren’t consciously aware of it (remember the role of the subconscious).

The TV’s in front of me at the gym were all focused on the negative. No wonder I felt lousy!

Most of us are bombarded by information all the time: news, the internet, social media, and other people.

How much of it is positive and conducive to putting you in a great state?

The media’s primary motivation is ratings. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it just is what it is. Most media programing is designed to disturb you and get your attention, more so than inform you. “If it bleeds, it leads”. The more they shock you, the more you will watch. If you really start to pay attention, I bet you will find that 80% – 90% or more of the content is negative. Death, fear, sickness, terrorism, poor economy….

If you prime your brain constantly with the negative, your brain will react accordingly. It will point out all the negative in the word, alert you to all the things missing in your life, constantly alert you to what might go wrong and lead to stress, worry and fear.

Your brain is not designed to keep you happy and successful. It is designed to protect you and keep you safe.

YOU must take control and prime yourself with the right information, the right people and the right input.

What is one thing you can change in your everyday life to prime yourself for success and happiness?

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen

 

3 Great Options To Help Manage Your To Do’s

There are probably endless strategies and approaches to staying organized and productive. They key is to experiment and find what works best for you.

I can remember when I purchased my first IPhone (I was a little late to the party) wondering what all the fuss was about with Apps. Fast forward quite a few years and now there are plenty of apps I use every day some of which are key aides to my productivity.

Evernote is probably my favorite. It has been instrumental in helping me keep track of all my notes and research from being scattered all of the place. I will take some time later this year to post specifically about Evernote, but today I want to focus on something that everybody can appreciate.

To Do Lists

Did you cringe at those three little words?

Some of you may love your lists, some hate them, but it is difficult to accomplish much without some type of system to keep you organized. Our working memory can only hold about 5-7 pieces of information for approximately 30 seconds in our head at any given time. If we don’t do something with that information – it will vanish. No, it’s not just you and you don’t have a memory problem, that’s how the brain works.

Because our working memory is not much bigger than a post it note with invisible ink, we need to come up some type of strategy to stay on top of our priorities.

You can get as complicated as you like, but at a minimum you need a simple list of priorities, or some type of “To Do List”. Call it whatever you like, if you don’t enjoy that label.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get great results just using a simple piece of paper with pen or pencil. However, these days many people have their smartphones with them all day long and love using it for everything. With that in mind, I wanted to share three great options for you if you are looking to add a little technology to your “To Do”.

1)     Any.do

This app is available on both IPhone and Android phones. Any.do is designed to be simple, clean and easy to use but is still packed with lots of great features.

Pros:

–        Syncing is smooth, even with a family member or coworker

–        Breaking tasks into “Today”, “Tomorrow”, “This Week” and “Later” helps with overwhelm of having to many tasks in your face, but gives you peace of mind knowing they are captured

–        Easy to set up reminders and notes

–        “Plan Your Day” feature

Cons:

–        If you do most of your to do organizing on your desktop, you will need a Chrome Add-on, there is no desktop app last I checked

2)     Google Keep

Keep is a synching notepad that not only allows you to keep lists, but photos, voice notes as well across multiple devices and in the cloud. It is stored on the web or is installed on Android devices. For Android users or Google fans, this can be the easiest to start using. No accounts to set up etc.

Pros:

–        Can be great for not only to do lists, but for people like me that like to take lots of notes whenever inspiration hits

–        Easy to get started for Android or heavy web based users

–        Simplest option of the bunch

Cons:

–        Not available last I checked for Apple users

–        Doesn’t have as many features as some of the others like reoccurring tasks, or calendar views

3)     Wunderlist

Wunderlist has desktop and mobile options for Apple, Android and Windows. It is easy to use and supports features such as reoccurring tasks, timed reminders, notes, and multiple categories to name a few.

Pros:

–        It is supported on just about every platform out there, meaning that no matter what technology you use – you will have access to your lists

–        Higher level subscription offers collaboration tools, file uploads and comments on lists – great if you are looking for an enterprise solution

Cons:

–        There have been a few syncing issues in the past, but it looks like they have that worked out

Fancy technology and lots of features are great, but only if you use it. The key is to pick something you are comfortable with and USE IT!

If you don’t currently have a great system to stay organized, experiment with one or more of the solutions above and see what you think!

 

Your partner in success,

Josh Paulsen