Want To Hack Your Life? Get Intentional About These 4Things Immediately.
Have A Love Affair… With Your Brain ❤
The way your brain processes new information is incredible.
According to Dr. Joseph Dispenza, D.C., “The brain processes 400 Billion bits of information a second. BUT, we are ONLY aware of 2,000 of those.”
That means that your brain processes roughly the amount of 30 minutes of a sitcom in just 1 second, however, your “thinking brain” is only able to process the equivalent of 120 words in that same time.
When I was a bachelor’s student, I would often sign myself up for more than I could handle. I remember one semester, shortly after I married my college sweetheart that I signed myself up for the following classes: Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Advanced Human Anatomy, Chronic Disease, and Accelerated Portuguese. I thought that learning Portuguese would be an excellent mental break from my more strenuous classes!
The amount of information that I had to process and transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory was staggering, and I often felt like I was falling behind.
During this time, I used myself as a test subject to try and “hack” my brain. I experimented with my sleeping habits, exercise routine, memorization techniques, note-taking techniques, and speed-reading techniques. Sometimes I felt like I was putting more time into researching how to “hack” my brain than I was studying my actual course material. This hard work paid off.
Though I didn’t start my degree with straight A’s, I ended my degree with straight A’s. During my Master’s degree, I applied the same principles even more aggressively and finished in half the time while spending more time at work and home than my colleagues. My grades did not suffer; I felt less stressed and thoroughly enjoyed that time with my wife and two small, rambunctious little boys.
You don’t have to be perfect to succeed in life.
You don’t have to be rich to be happy.
This article breaks down five ways to get intentional about your life. Following them will increase your ability to succeed in work and at home. They will increase your confidence, your capabilities, and your income.
1) Get Intentional About Your Focus
“The joy you feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives” — Russel M. Nelson
I started my Master’s program from the point of frustration.
I had gone through my undergraduate degree, chasing the wrong goal and more concerned about pleasing my professors and family members than making an impact.
I learned a series of questions from an entrepreneurial thought leader, Dan Sullivan, that guided my decisions throughout my degree and beyond. I remember the exact moment I answered these questions — where I was, the temperature outside, the look of the buildings and trees that surrounded me.
By asking these questions, I was able to be completely intentional about my use of time, my relationships, my coursework, and the story that I was creating.
- Purpose: What do you want to accomplish?
- Importance: What is the most significant impact this will make?
- Ideal Outcome: What does the completed goal look like?
- Success Criteria: What has to be true when this goal is finished?
- What is the best result if you take action?
- What is the worst result if you don’t take action?
2) Get Intentional About Your Emotions
“It’s got to be emotional or it’s not going to happen.” — Jason Korman
People go to great lengths to avoid powerful emotions.
A friend of mine recently found herself tearing up at church.
She was listening to a violin solo and got caught up in the beautiful sound and emotions of the piece. She found that by focusing on the off-key notes, she could numb her feelings and keep herself from crying. She deprived herself of an emotionally powerful experience in the process.
Powerful emotions are critical to success and productivity.
When you set a goal or intention for the day, it’s essential to let yourself get emotionally invested in that goal. Experiencing those feelings sends a chemical signal to your brain that changes your physiology — your determination, your grit, and your focus. Your subconscious mind needs to be active, alert, and on the look-out for the subtleties that will lead you to success.
By limiting your emotions, you restrict the involvement of your subconscious brain — the part of your mind where the majority of your mental processing occurs.
Both positive and negative emotions have a powerful impact on your physiology. Scientists are now discovering that taking time to enjoy your food positively impacts your digestion. Similarly, eating when you’re feeling rushed or negative feelings harms your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Give yourself time to feel positive emotions. Carving out 30-seconds of time to allow yourself to feel excited, appreciation, and positive anticipation will increase your mental stamina and productivity throughout the day.
If you’re currently experiencing stress, frustration, or trauma, it’s essential to carve out time to fully experience these emotions as well. By avoiding them or numbing them out through entertainment or addiction, you are not giving your subconscious brain permission to let go of those issues. Your subconscious brain needs you to experience your emotions so that it can focus 100% on the things that matter most.
Surprisingly allowing yourself 5 minutes to experience frustration, loss, or regret can replace days and weeks of unproductivity.
3) Get Intentional About Alignment
“You need to align what you want to achieve with what you are willing to do to get there” — Jason Korman
It’s about having your heart line up with what you know in your head. — Benjamin Hardy
In Dr. Benjamin Hardy’s phenomenal book, “Willpower Doesn’t Work,” gives the following tips to offset the need to rely solely on your grit or willpower to get things done.
By altering these aspects of your external environment, you drastically improve your ability to achieve success:
“If you don’t pay for something, you rarely pay attention.” Dr. Benjamin Hardy
Putting money toward your goal up-front is the number one thing you can do to set yourself up for success in your goal. What financial investment will you put toward your goal?
Set a timeline:
“Vision without traction is merely hallucination” Gino Wickman, Traction
By making a calendar, you are automatically making future decisions. A week from now, you’ll have already made the decision, “do I want to keep doing this?” The answer will be YES!
Install several forms of feedback:
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” — Simon Sinek
Group accountability will SKYROCKET your success. Committing to follow up with others will ensure that you reach your goal and encourage them as well!
Make it public:
“Opposite of addiction is connection.”―Joe Polish.
Successfully achieved goals are not private. The act of telling others about your goal gives you confidence and follow-through. Who will you tell your goal with today?
Alter or remove everything in your environment that opposes your commitment:
“It’s not your personality that creates your behavior, it’s your behavior that creates your personality.” — Ben Hardy
What can you do to alter your environment to help you reach your goal?
4) Get Intentional About Failure
“Failing is often the best way to learn, and because of that, early failure is a kind of necessary investment.”― Chip Heath, Made to Stick
Recently I stepped away from a huge goal. It was a goal that I had spent the last three years on — putting all of my spare time, energy, creativity, and confidence into this venture taught me a great deal. But when the time came, I was ultimately able to cut my losses and step away from that venture confidently. I know from experience that setting high goals isn’t about achieving them, it’s about the person you become in the process, and this was certainly no exception.
In business, there’s a principle called “sunk-cost bias.” This refers to our tendency to continually invest in a project even when it’s doomed to failure. This bias explains why people continue to put down money in the casino, even after they’ve spent more than they can afford. By defining the following parameters around failure, you can set up safeguards to protect yourself and those you love.
Write down the specific conditions in which you will quit:
I made the following commitment to myself and my spouse: If I reach this specific date____ and without having made $_____, then I will quit.
Because I set up those parameters, I was able to step back without regrets. Having that specific date and money amount in mind also gave me the courage and stamina to push myself to the end. To try new approaches and get outside of my comfort level.
Write specific if/then conditions in which you will redirect your efforts.
These if/then conditions will protect you against your natural tendencies and inclinations. They can be as simple as “If I find myself getting sucked into social media, I will stop what I’m doing and do ten push-ups” or “If I’m craving a cookie at work, then I will eat a salad first and see if the craving goes away.”
If/then conditions will make the difference between you being distracted and focussed, sluggish and alert, disconnected, and passionate.