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2002 – Manage your brain

Become aware of your personal mindset and start adapting it to serve you, instead of control you.

In 2002 I was helping an old friend start a service company, mentored by a nearby business owner.

He loaned me an audiobook on productivity – I wish he or I could recall the title – that changed the way I thought about pretty much everything.

Since then I have learned a lot about motivational profiles and different personality types, but at the time this was revolutionary.

This author held that everybody is either detail-oriented or concept-oriented. Success, he argued, came to those who became aware of their own orientation and then deliberately and regularly spent considerable time in the opposite mindset. The book wasn’t particularly deep but he did a pretty good job of illustrating his points, and the concept became one of the special things that I have to recognize as breakthroughs.

At the time I was struggling with this very thing, although I really didn’t recognize it. I had taken on selling the services and executing them as well; managing communication but also doing the telemarketing. I tend to be a detail thinker and up until then I had trouble stepping back a bit and seeing where the pieces fit together, so working in all of them at once became very confusing.

I have always accepted that there are many valid points of view, as real and true to those that hold them as mine are to me. However, this was the first time I started seeing that those differences were both definable and manageable.

I started setting aside time each day to review my work and pretty quickly realized that details were where I spent most of my time; and then I deliberately set out to change that. I highly recommend the exercise.

In the time since then I have used this constantly. Anytime you find yourself developing a set way of thinking, take steps to practice seeing the other side. The result is a more open mind and an edge when it comes to understanding other people.

The biggest realization, however, is that deliberately zooming in and zooming out allows you to take in concepts and recognize patterns beyond your normal intelligence level. Intelligence is often measured – rightly or wrongly – on your ability to recognize patterns, and by teaching this technique to people who frankly seem unintelligent, I have been able to see incredible leaps of understanding develop.

Set yourself to develop this ability – you’ll be amazed at the change in your understanding of the world around you.