I was a fashion buyer before I became an FBI agent. I quickly learned that I would need to rewire my brain if I wanted to be a success in my new job.
It began with my first day at the FBI Academy. Everyone stood up and gave their background: military officers who had led dangerous military missions in North Africa, police officers who survived shootouts, and successful prosecutors against dangerous mob families in New York.
So, when I stood up and told everyone I was a fashion buyer for a fancy retail store, everyone turned their head to look at the fluff ball who had accidentally gotten into the FBI.
Born and raised on a remote cattle ranch in Wyoming, I lacked the polish and sophistication of many of my fellow agents. But my years as a fashion buyer had left me unhappy and unfulfilled.
Like many of you, what I needed was a healthy dose of mental toughness to achieve my goals and dreams.
To be resilient in today’s business environment, success comes from thinking positively about your situation and not succumbing to the self-limiting belief that nothing can be done to change it.
If I wanted to graduate from Quantico, I would need to rewire my brain for success as much as would need to sculpt my muscles for physical fitness. You may need to do this as well.
Rewire your brain for success in three steps:
STEP ONE: Remember Who Is In Control
Mental toughness is the ability to control our mind rather than letting our mind control us.
Controlling our thought process isn’t as easy as it sounds because we don’t notice how little control we have over the way our mind thinks. One thought follows another, and out of habit, we let our subconscious take us through most of the day.
But here is a big secret: The greatest weapon we have is our ability to choose one thought over another.
There is a reason so many people recommend meditation—it is an excellent way to be an observer of your own thoughts, even uncomfortable ones. By observing how your thoughts wander, and keep returning to a specific topic, you can gently bring them back to where you want them to be.
It may take time, but each time you succeed, you are taking control of your thoughts by choosing which ones are important.
How You Can Make It Work For You:
Control your thoughts by becoming more connected to them. Too often, our subconscious takes over the way we think about our daily experiences; so, take control by intentionally choosing to observe, question, challenge, or dismiss new pieces of information that come your way. Start with one hour and see if you can work up to an entire day.
STEP TWO: Just As Important, Don’t Be A Control Freak
Being “always on” can block the creative brain processes that occur when we let our minds wander.
If we are facing a challenge that needs new ideas, new research shows that we’re more likely to come up with an innovative and creative solution when we let our minds wander for a brief period of time.
According to the research, our brains continue to puzzle through the challenge in the background.
How You Can Make It Work For You:
- Take a walk around the block, watch passing cars, or observe strangers moving around you on a sidewalk. Anything that gives your brain a rest from the tough challenge before you.
- Close your eyes and notice the sounds and smells around you.
- Get up and make yourself tea or coffee—anything that gives your brain time to wander.
STEP THREE: Say Yes To The New
Until recently, the brain was regarded as an immutable organ that did not change after early childhood.
In 2000, Eric Kandel was given the Nobel prize for medicine demonstrating that, as learning in the brain occurs, the connections among nerve cells increase. Hundreds of studies went on to demonstrate that the brain has the ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. This is called neuroplasticity, and it continues throughout life.
Researchers like Mike Merzenich and Norman Doidge have concluded that while our genes help determine how we can respond to our environment, they do not make us who we are. We we all have untapped potential.
How To Make It Work For You
Do not believe everything you think.
Since the limbic brain is hardwired to pay more attention to negative thoughts than positive ones, make sure you stop and listen to what your mind is telling you. You will be shocked to realize how much of it is negative.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny― Mahatma Gandhi
In order to stimulate neuroplasticity, try something new. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Take up a new hobby. Read a book or try eating something or doing something that isn’t a regular activity for you.
How have you rewired your brain to achieve success?
© 2016 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.
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