Today’s article is all about Sharpening Your Focus and some of the methods you can use to help with accomplishing this. What do you think of when you think about improving your ability to “focus”?
Eliminating External Distractions
There are obvious encumbrances to focus on: External factors like distractions and interruptions. To remove these, you first need to recognize what they are and then exercise the self-discipline to banish them from your “space” – at least for periods of time each day.
These distractions can include anything from email to people stopping by. They’re easy to identify, so you only need to devise a plan to deal with them and then carry it out. For some of us, saying “no” to old companions like Facebook and Snapchat is easier said than done. But the results are definitely worth the effort.
Eliminating Internal Blocks
These blocks aren’t so easy to identify, and there are plenty of them.
One type of block is a perceptual block. This happens when we perceive things incorrectly. For instance, when you don’t clearly understand what the problem is. You can come up with ineffectual solutions or not enough solutions. Has that ever happened to you?
Another type of internal block is emotional. Feelings can interfere with our thinking if we let them take over. For instance, have you ever been in a meeting where you didn’t understand the point that was being made? But you were afraid to ask because you felt you might look foolish? How about if you’re involved in something that requires taking a risk? Have you ever been convinced that making a certain move was the correct thing to do? But you didn’t do it because it might not work out? Or, just the opposite, have you ever been so excited about something that you didn’t think it through before taking action?
These are just some examples where emotions can get in way of focus and clear thinking. You can probably think of many more. I know I sure can!
Another block to clear focus is not having complete or correct information. It’s very frustrating to put a lot of time and energy into a project and then realize that the conclusion will be flawed due to a lack of supporting information. Sharpening Your Focus will help you with staying on task so you can get more done.
It’s a good idea to take a little time to sort out where you’re coming from perceptually, emotionally, and practically before initiating a project.
The Habit of Successful Focus
In their excellent book, The Power of Focus, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt discussed the idea that successful living is all about cultivating the habit of focusing on the right things.
Here’s what they say:
“Life doesn’t just happen to be. It’s all about choices and how you respond to every situation. If you are in the habit of continually making bad choices, disaster often occurs. Your everyday choices ultimately determine whether you end up living with abundance or living in poverty. Consistent choices lay the foundation for your habits. And your habits play a major role in how your future unfolds.”
A habit is anything you do so often that it becomes easy. The rule of thumb is that it takes about 21 days to create a new habit. A really interesting fact is that once you do something 21 to 30 times, it’s harder not to do it than to do it.
Reprogram to Focus
The good news is that you can begin to reprogram yourself anytime. Once you learn about yourself – how you think and feel, and what you want in life – it will be easier to make the choices that will turn into habits that fulfill your goals. By Sharpening Your Focus you will have more time to do the things you really care about in your life.
Think about that. If you only changed four habits every year, in five years you would have 20 positive new habits. Imagine how much your life would change with 20 positive habits. You can make these changes in any area you choose. It could be your health, income, relationships, or any other area. 20 new habits could vastly change your overall lifestyle.
Here’s something that may be news to you: your outward behavior is the truth, while your inner perception of your behavior is often an illusion. What that means is that sometimes we let ourselves off the hook and see things in a rosier light than they really are. The first thing you should do to create new, positive habits is to make a list of all habits you think are unproductive. It’s important that you understand what’s holding you back so that you can change it. Seeing what you need to change and really committing to changing it are the two things you need to do to change any habit.
The 3 Step Process To Target
Canfield, Hansen, and Hewitt have created an easy-to-understand, three-step process for creating new habits:
Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits – be very honest when you look at your habits and think about the long-term consequences.
For instance, as a smoker you might say,” How bad can a few cigarettes a day be?” but stop to think that 10 cigarettes a day for 20 years equal 73,000 cigarettes. That’s a dramatic example. Think about the difference that changing a few of your own habits will make in your life.
Define your new successful habit – The easiest way to change an old bad habit is to replace it with a new, good habit. Choose your new habit and picture all the benefits and rewards you will get from adopting your new habit.
Create a three-part action plan – For instance, if you’re giving up smoking, you could read some literature on how to stop smoking, substitute another activity for smoking, and start using a nicotine patch.
You must identify your old habit, clearly define your habit, and take action. Start with one habit. Focus on your three action steps and put them into practice. When you’re comfortable with the new habit, you can move to the next habit you want to change.
You may have heard the expression,” what we concentrate on, expands.”
It is so true. If you are looking for help in this area, I offer a FREE 15-minute consulting appointment to see if we can work together to help solve your focus issues. Contact me by using this link: FREE CONSULTATION
Today’s article is about tuning up your memory. Having a good memory is important, right? But have you ever stopped to consider just how important it is? The fact is that everything we do involves our memories. We can’t think without using our memories, and everything that we do unconsciously, like moving our lips and making sounds to speak or walking across the street, accesses our memory, which tells us how we did it the last time.
Did You Forget or Do You Care?
So, on one level, almost all of us have extremely good memories. These are the kinds of things we usually take for granted. We don’t really think about memory at all until we find we’ve forgotten something. We’d like to get better at remembering things at will, and there’s no reason why we can’t do that since we use so little of our brains.
Here’s what happens: first, we sense something (hear a statement, smell something cooking, and so on). Then an electrochemical pathway goes along neurons, across the synapses between the site of the sense and the brain. Remember, there are 10 million billion possible connections – so for our brains to remember the information accurately is an amazing feat. The more a certain pathway is activated, the better chance that memory will be created.
We have two types of memory – explicit and implicit.
Implicit memory (often-used pathways) allows us to do things automatically because they are so familiar since we’ve done them time after time.
Explicit memory involves things we have to remember consciously. As an example, you remember how to use the telephone automatically, but you need to consciously recall the telephone number you want to use.
We can’t improve our implicit memory with exercises, but you might want to try some of these techniques to improve your explicit memory.
Techniques for Improvement
Believe it or not, how much you want to or need to remember something plays a vital part in remembering it. If you commit yourself to remembering something and concentrate on it, your chances of remembering it are much better.
Here’s another surprising fact: studies have shown that short bursts of activity help you remember something better and for longer. Many of us got through college pulling all-nighters, so we know they work. It’s true – they work better for remembering things short-term, like when you want to pass an exam. But working in short bursts of time helps us to remember things better over longer periods of time.
So, if you have something that you want to remember for a long time, don’t study for hours on end, but make a plan to study a part of the entire project, take a break, and go back to studying.
Studies have shown that we do not retain things when we are at low levels of alertness, such as in sleep, or at very high levels of alertness, such as in a panic or high stress. Our optimal level of alertness for learning and remembering is somewhere in between these two extremes.
Determine your own optimum alert state and save that time for learning things that are most important to you. Other things can be done when you’re less alert. This approach will give you the best chance of storing information in your long-term memory.
TIME OF DAY
Again, studies might surprise you. It had been previously thought that the best time for learning was in the morning. Studies are showing now that learning in the morning hours is better for short-term memory. Learning later in the day seems to be better for long-term memory.
Here’s an area where a lot of people are self-conscious. It’s embarrassing not to be able to remember someone’s name, especially when that person seems to have no trouble remembering yours. This is like every other aspect of memory. Some people are at a higher level of unconscious competence in this area. And they are remembering names by using a process even if they don’t know it.
If you make a conscious decision to remember someone’s name and follow these steps, you too will be successful in remembering names in the future.
Tips to Remember
Consciously decide to give this person respect by learning his name
Listen when you hear the name. It’s easy to be focusing on other things and let the name slip by.
Be certain that you hear his name properly. If there’s any doubt, ask him to spell it.
Visualize that you’ve written the name down. Doing this forces you to listen to it. This visualization is a surprisingly powerful technique.
Visualize the name itself. Seeing the name in your mind acts as a trigger. If you can associate it with something else like a town or a famous person, it becomes even stronger. Associate the person in front of you who belongs to the name with the name in your mind, so that the name and the person’s face are linked in your mind.
TRIGGERS for STUBBORN MEMORIES
You can probably relate to this – sometimes we have problems remembering things even though we very much want to remember them. Criminal investigations use techniques that can help us with recalling our own memories.
Here’s what you do:
Re-create the original conditions in your mind. See them as clearly as possible and use your senses. What was happening? How did you feel? Was it hot or cold? Were you tired, hungry, angry, at the time?
Pay attention to the details, even the unimportant ones. What do you see? Those images may help you bring other images to mind.
Try to see the situation from another point of view. For instance, if you were sitting in a chair the last time you saw your ring, pretend you’re standing in the doorway looking at the situation. What do you see now?
See the situation in reverse. In your mind, see the situation before you entered it. See the room before you came into it – what was happening then?
These “investigation” techniques are powerful for recalling stubborn memories.
So to help you with your own techniques, download your free Memory Technique Checklist right here.
No doubt about it, our brains are pretty magnificent. Talk about multitasking! We all do it – watch television, read a magazine, realize how great the evening meal smells in the kitchen, listen to the person in the room with us, and be excited about plans for the weekend – all at the same time. We can do this because of our brain’s ability to make all kinds of connections. Our Brains and How They Work is our topic for discussion this week.
Our Brains and How They Work
Our brains have developed over thousands of years. For additional facts on the brain, you can read this informative article located here The Brain.
The basic construction of the brain is divided into three parts:
Primitive brain – this brain region is about the size of an apricot. It controls our essential functions like blood circulation, reading, and indigestion. It also contains our “fight or flight” response to danger and decides whether we will stay and fight or run away. It’s also believed that when we are in stressful situations, the other parts of our brain shut down. It leaves everything up to the primitive brain, which is why we might find it more challenging to think clearly when stressed.
Cerebellum – this part of the brain is called the mammalian brain. It surrounds the primitive brain and processes our emotions and long-term memories. It also processes information learned through our senses.
The cerebral cortex – covers the primitive brain and the cerebellum and makes up about 80% of our brain area. It determines language, thought, reasoning, complex movement patterns, and other things like appreciation of poetry and music.
In addition to these three parts of the brain, we all have millions of brain cells called neurons.Each neuron has its unique function. Neurons use electrical impulses and chemical reactions to and from the central nervous system and within the brain.
Neurons store information and work together in groups to generate actions and reactions and control specific thoughts. Each neuron has the potential for one million billion connections with other neurons. So, even though we only use 5% of our brain capacity, you can see that there is still an enormous amount of activity in our brains.
Left and Right Brain Hemispheres
You may have heard the terms left brain and right brain. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a scientist named Roger Sperry discovered that different activities are associated with different sides of the brain; thus, the term left brain, and right brain thinking was coined.
The left side of our brain is the logical side, the mathematical side. It deals with details and organization and controls our speech and our language. The right side of our brain operates in a less organized way. It handles creativity, interpretation, emotions, imagination, intuition, and spatial awareness.
At one time, scientists thought these two halves of the brain operated independently. Still, more recent thinking believes there is flexibility so that different brain parts can learn new functions.
The Senses and Our Awareness
We all have five senses. Recent evidence shows that the more you can use your senses, the better your memory and thinking ability. The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Our brain interprets the information from the senses to help us act, react, and stay out of danger.
It’s interesting that, although we all have the same five senses, we often don’t agree on what our minds are telling us because of our perceptions. For instance, how often have you been in a room where it’s too hot for you but too cold for someone else? Or vice versa?
How often have you and someone standing next to you disagreed about what you saw while looking at the same thing? How often have you liked the taste of new food, but your partner has the opposite reaction? This is all due to our perceptions of sensual information. Our brains and how they work are very interesting, don’t you think?
The Control Process
The brain controls every area of our body. It starts as an electrical burst of activity in the cerebral cortex and moves to the motor cortex, which sends nerve signals to specific body parts. The signals then move down the spinal cord, along the motor nerves, to the muscles. The calls go to every aspect of our body and control every action. More complex activities that need body parts with more refined control, such as fingers or lips, have more extensive motor cortex areas. And our awareness of this information is essential.
So, what does this have to do with business? It’s important to note that I don’t think you will have a business or anything if you don’t have a brain. Your brain is your Central Intelligence System. It’s critical to your business to be able to use your brainpower for the good of your business’s success. So, it would help if you did everything in your power to ensure that your brain is functioning at a top-notch level to provide you with the lifestyle you want. Otherwise, why be in business?
I’m just a phone call away if you are looking for help, need assistance, or need a business mentor. Book a complimentary call with me, and let’s chat.
We’ve all heard about the mind-body connection right? Because it’s real! What that means is that peak performance mentally requires a healthy body, emotional well-being, and a balanced lifestyle. So, what ways can you think about to get you to have better brain health?
Better Brain Health Tips
Here are a few key points to consider when it comes to making healthy decisions for a healthy brain:
1 – Drinking water – believe it or not, most of us live in a constant state of partial dehydration. This means that our brain functions at less than full capacity. Alcohol dehydrates us and reduces the flow of blood to our brains, which reduces our thinking power. Caffeine does increase our alertness in the short term but also dehydrates us.
The rule is that you should drink eight glasses of water a day and two glasses of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
2 – Eating smart – most of us already know the rules about eating healthy. Unfortunately, it is easier and tastier to eat things that are not good for us. Anyway, a healthy diet consists of the right amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats. That means avoiding a lot of things we like, such as processed foods, fried foods, desserts full of simple sugars, and high-fat foods. Instead, concentrate on eating protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, and drinking less water.
Grazing, eating small meals (about 250 to 350 calories a meal) instead of eating three big meals a day, is finding great favor with nutritionists currently because it helps to maintain level blood sugar. It also helps maintain a more constant state of mental alertness, energy, and performance throughout the day.
3 – Sleep – everyone needs to process what happened each day, and that’s done during periods of deep sleep. Exactly how many hours of sleep you need each night is an individual thing that you should determine for yourself, but over time, lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, low energy, mood swings, and even poor mental health.
4 – Fun/enjoyment – we all need it, even workaholics. Research shows us that taking part in some activities that we enjoy reduces our stress level and improves our immune system.
5 – Brain Training – Programs like Lumosity contain brain training games and puzzles that can help you maintain a sharp and healthy mind. Be sure to actively engage in programs like this on a regular basis.
Once upon a time, creativity was thought to belong to artists and poets. It had nothing to do with the real world and certainly nothing to do with the rest of us. Creativity was something you were born with, and that was that. So how does becoming creative fit in with today’s world? Let’s check this out and see what we can find out!
That idea has taken a 180-degree turn and bitten the dust. In our fast-moving times, whether it’s in science or business or many other areas, innovation and creativity are the things that lead to success. Without them, businesses stagnate and fail.
So, What is Creativity Then?
Two French mathematicians, Hadamard and Poincare, have defined the creative process in the following four steps.
Preparation – You discover a problem and try to solve it with established means.
Incubation – These methods don’t work so you go off and do something else.
Illumination – All of a sudden, the answer appears to you.
Verification – You assess the new idea to see if it’s any good.
It used to be thought that only two types of thinking led to creativity: convergent thinking where you draw on all your resources to solve a problem, or divergent thinkingwhen you solve the problem by seeing it in a different way.
What Do Psychologists Believe?
In the last few decades, psychologists have come to believe that there are many different ways to be creative. They think that creativity is simply a state of mind in which a person is ready and willing to entertain new ideas.
Psychologists also believe that almost all of us can learn to be more creative. Some of us may be more creative than others, but we can all be creative, especially in the areas of the 10 intelligence types, where we have our own unique strengths.
Many times we stifle our own creativity with the little voice that says,” It will never work.” Often we say that about other people’s ideas, too. The thing you need to do is challenge that anti-creativity with a counter-argument. When you do this, you give your own creativity permission to flow.
What Do YOU Think?
Ask yourself open-ended questions like…
– Is there another way to do this?
– What’s the worst that could happen if we tried this?
– Are there parts of this idea that will work?
– What’s good about this?
– How can we make it better?
– What can we do instead?
Practice non-judgmental idea gathering to enhance creativity. Do this and watch your creativity explode. I kid you not! It works, for most people, including me!