Human behaviour expert Phillip Adcock shares seven things you can do to help you build a strong mind. When working on your career and business aims and targets, it’s important to remember the power of the mind in preparing yourself too. If you feel that your thoughts and beliefs are stopping you from reaching your goal, here are a few ways to go about making some positive alterations.
- 300,000,000 years old
First and foremost, recognise that the human mind has evolved over 300,000,000 years. And evolution is a very, very slow process. What this means is that a lot of how you’re wired mentally has nothing to do with modern business or careers.
Humans are emotional and are primarily driven by 3 primal urges: Fight, Flight or Find a mate. In other words, if left alone the human mind makes decisions primarily on whether to fight something or someone, whether to run away from it or whether to mate with it. Sorry but it’s true.
If you want to build a stronger mind, you have to understand emotions. At a rational level, you may have techniques and strategies for meeting goals and advancing your career, but if they aren’t emotional, then you might as well not bother.
- Feelings matter
For example, recognise that once you give your mind the right emotional motivation, it is a much more powerful ally. Supposing you want to win at that next job interview or sales presentation, then you need to provide your mind with the right emotional payoff. This may be in the form of the importance of loving your family. When your mind knows that you want to love and care for your family, then it will give you the tools to deliver just that. So next time you go for an interview, have a picture of your loved ones visible to you during the interview. I tend to have one in the inside of my briefcase so that only I can see it.
- Walk tall!
Next, did you know that your mood and mindset are a result of how you think and how you look? What this means if that your very posture alters your mindset and mood at any given time. When you walk, stride confidently, when you sit, sit proudly, when you communicate non-verbally, do so with purpose. If you sit slouching down in the interviewees chair, shoulders rounded and breathing in a shallow way, then guess what, you’ll feel down, depressed and shallow. So, it’s a case of not only walking your talk, but sitting it too.
What about your internal mental dialogue: The way you talk to yourself influences how you feel about yourself? Here’s a nice exercise. Write down a 1 or 2 page of how you think the next interview, presentation, sales pitch or meeting will go. Write in detail, don’t worry about spelling and grammar, and just write it as if you are saying it.
Now take a look at what you have written and using a different coloured pen, highlight every negative word. And in a different colour underline every positive word. Now count up how many negatives and how many positives you used. The more negatives, the more negative you are. Finally, go through your manuscript and change all the negative words to positive alternatives. Reading it back to yourself will be transformatory in that you’ll suddenly feel much more confident and upbeat.
- Dress for success
Here’s another proven way to train your brain for success: Surround yourself with trappings of success. Did you know that if you write with a heavy pen, your brain thinks that what you are writing is ‘heavier’ and more important? Also, when you sit on a harder surface you become a ‘harder’ negotiator. Oh, and when you look at the vista you see when sat at your desk, what do you see? You need to manufacture a view of success. A messy cubicle with a photo of you in your speedos on the beach in Benidorm is much less effective than say an image of you surrounded by opulence and luxury (even if the latter is created in Photoshop).
Finally, the emotional part of the brain doesn’t language. So, you need to give your brain both an emotional reason to deliver on your goals and a pictorial representation of the things you want to achieve. In other words [pun intended] communicate with your own mind in pictures for optimal effect.
This also means that what you look like in the mirror has meaning to your mind, so if you want to be successful, then you need to look successful: Smart, appropriate dress sense and good personal grooming.
In summary, one of the main reasons why you’ll fail in business or in your career isn’t so much that you have a weak mind, but more that you are using your brilliant mind incorrectly. Between your ears is the most amazing super-computer ever created. But like just about any computer, it is only as good as the way it is used. Spend time investing in learning how your mind works and it will pay you back many times over.
And if this sounds too easy, then that’s simply because it is!