Part 1 - Learning About and Using the Power of . . .
Welcome to the first of a four part series on on harnessing our powers. No, I'm not talking about powers like superheroes have in movies. Although it would be cool to have ESP or the ability to fly, or go invisible, right? The powers I'm talking about are developed and shaped by the thoughts we allow ourselves to think and focus on, and the actions we do or do not take.
In life, we give power to many things. Some thoughts and actions are deserving of the focus and attention, and others are not. Taking the time to learn what you are giving power to in your life, and then learning how to redirect that energy, has the ability to change your life in ways you never imagined - both personally and professionally.
If you are a reader and prefer to read my words on the subject, keep on keepin' on. However, if you prefer to watch a video instead, feel free to scroll to the bottom of this post and click play instead. The video is just about 10 minutes long. As a heads up, this particular post of the series gets pretty nerdy in some spots. If you fall asleep I won't be offended, just try not to drool on your keyboard.
The Power of. . . Habit
Some habits that we develop and maintain are great for us to have and keep. As we all know, some others however, hurt us rather than help us. In many of my talks and conversations I speak about systems and processes. To run a successful company, it is imperative that you have effective and efficient systems and processes that produce profit and positive returns for your organization. Systems and processes are created by establishing an end-point and desired result and then reverse engineering a solution. To determine the effectiveness of your systems and processes, you must: enact your plan, evaluate the results, tweak what needs to be changed, and repeat. Habits are really nothing more than systems and processes. To get the best result from your actions you have to figure out where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, then create a new habit that supports your desired outcome.
If you've ever tried to change a habit - drink more water, eat less junk food, make daily cold calls, stop saying "um" or "like" when giving presentations, etc., you probably learned very quickly that changing habit is easier said than done. The trick is to not get discouraged when you don't succeed. Instead, dig in and learn the science behind building habits and then, try again.
Yes. Science. This is where the nerdiness I mentioned starts to come into play. I won't get too far into the details, but the reason habits are so hard to change is actually very scientific. There is a substance in your brain called Myelin. If you want to study up on Myelin, click here. If you are already really bored and want to skip to the video, just scroll down. Otherwise, keep reading and I'll try to make it simple for everyone.
In short, Myelin's role is to coat the neurons in your brain and "enhance the transmission of electrical impulses." What? I know. Stay with me. Basically, think of a neuron as the street your brain takes to get from Thought City to Action Town. Now imagine the road is laden with potholes. The electrical impulse is, let's say - a Lamborghini - and you're attempting to drive this super-fast sports car down the same bumpy road every day. You keep driving down that road regardless of the poor condition it's in, and in order to not jack up your car, you must drive very slowly. Each day you drive down the road, however, Myelin is watching and acts as a street paver. As Myelin starts to learn your route, it starts gradually filling in the holes along the way. Eventually all the potholes are filled in and you can drive at full speed from point A, a.k.a thought, to point B, a.k.a action, without hitting any bumps along the way.
Basically, when you take a certain action repeatedly, whether it be reactionary or intentionally, good habit or bad, your brain maximizes the route the impulse travels. You eventually go from thought to action so quickly that you end up at a point where the action, or reaction, is for all intents and purposes, automatic. As it pertains to picking up and keeping bad habits, the whole process kind of reminds me of the meme about coffee drinking that says, "Coffee - Do stupid things faster with more energy!" but I digress (and I really like coffee.)
In seriousness, however, when you learn how this process works and the science behind habit, you can intentionally interrupt the existing process with a new and different action. Set an alarm or alarms, get a coach, etc. Of course the method used to interrupt the process will vary depending on the nature of the habit. When you do these new things repeatedly, you'll begin to change the direction of the electrical impulse and draw the Myelin away from the old path toward the new one. In short, figuring out how to harness the power of habit, and using in your favor and for you instead of against you, will give you access to one of the most powerful tools in your mental toolbox. Changing your habits might take quite some time - Experts say at least nine months or more - And, it probably won't be easy. However, if you want to achieve your goals badly enough, and truly #findyourinnerbadass, then the work is not only necessary, but 100% worth it!
PS> If you scrolled down to watch the video (which was originally done as an IG live in case you're wondering why it appears I am talking to myself), I don't blame you. However, if you actually read your way here, thank you for taking the time and not falling asleep on the way here. Watch, and feel free to comment. Let me know if you have questions, and/or what you think. What good habits do you have, love and want to keep? Any that you want to change? I look forward to chatting with you!