Our amazing brain that we have is an important resource we need to consider in building the Living More Than OK Life. In the past year I have noticed a number of books about the Brain in bookstores. One is The Winner’s Brain by Dr. Jeff Brown and Dr. Mark Fenske with Liz Neporent. Jeff Brown is a cognitive behavioral psychologist and Mark Fenske is a neuroscientist . Liz Neproant is a author that helped with the writing of the book. This book gives a brief simple to understand review of our amazing brain and then goes into how we can best use it’s power for our success in life.
They wrote the book from the positive psychology standpoint of looking at successful winners in life and seeing what works instead of looking at problems of what doesn’t work and trying to find solutions. They pinpoint 5 psychological tools the brain uses to help us win in life if we make use of them. Then these tools are applied to 8 factors that can aid in guiding our lives to the success we want for our life journey.
I just want to go over the 5 tools mentioned so you can reflect over them in your journey. The first tool they call Opportunity Radar. Now we don’t have antennae on our heads but we can be in tune with what life sends our way, as Dr. John Krumboltz terms it-- Happenstance events. How do we respond? If the radar is not working we just ignore them or complain about them unless it is a good luck type thing that comes our way. But winners intuitively look for the kernel of good in happenstance events for their benefit. For example the book uses an example I have used with students when I discuss creative thinking. George de Mestral a Swiss engineer, was out in the woods one day with his dog. The dog wound up with thistle burrs in its furr that de Mestral had to comb out. What would be a nuisance to anyone of us opened de Mestral’s mind to the idea which turned out to be Velcro. What could each of us find in our happenstance events to improve lives of our families and others if we kept our radar on?
Tool number two they call the Optimal Risk Gauge. Winners take risks but not foolish risks. To live a life without regrets and live more than ok we need to be willing to try to move beyond the comfort zone. At the same time the gauge helps us to look at potential consequences if the risk produces failure. I am not a great risk taker I become anxious just thinking about it. Starting this blog was a risk in trying to find time each week to have something new written and wonder if my thoughts and ideas were worth the effort. I have had a few people say they appreciated what I wrote so it has paid off.
Where I am not too much into risk taking, the third tool I am a big believer in. That is what the authors call the Goal Laser. This is the ability to focus in on goals that we set for ourselves and follow through to attain them. Goals give us a sense of direction to guide our purposes. With no goals we are aimless and just drifting. Now not every goal is achieved or should be. Dr. Krumbolts’s work on Happenstance and Dr. Bright’s work on chaos theory show that life events can come along and interfere with our goal plans. Based on our use of our opportunity radar,(tool # 1) we can change our direction to our goal or we may shift to a newer goal that will be better for us.
The fourth tool is the Effort Accelerator. This is the internal gas of motivation and discipline that keeps us moving towards what we want. I may have a goal but if I put no effort towards getting it I won’t get it. There is an anecdotal story of a woman who spoke with the famous violinist Isaac Stern after hearing him in concert. With an emotional outburst she said, “ Oh Mr. Stern, I’d give my life to be able to play the way you do.” To this statement the great violinist replied, “Madam, I have!” To be great in whatever area you wish to be you need to put disciplined work to the goal.
The fifth tool is the Talent meter. This is our brain’s thought processes on what we are good at and also what we are not good at. We all have talent, some in music, sports, some are good encouragers, others are good listeners. Using this tool of the brain is taking time to look at your strengths and tap into your talent and strengths and build on them. Then with the talent uncovered the effort accelerator can help in building up the talent even more so. It is also pointed out the talent maker tool can help us see our weaknesses as well. By knowing our weaknesses we know what we need to improve on in our lives.
This is a synopsis of the 5 tools mentioned and then the authors move into 8 factor strategies that the tools can be applied in for our personal success. The book is very practical with Prime the Brain exercises throughout to put into practice their ideas.
What are your top talents? What are your weak areas to grow in? Which of the 5 tools do you use more often? Which tool do you need to increase the use of?