Neuroscience Super Power #1: ‘What have I got to be thankful for?’
The really good news is that the pleasure centers of our minds light up whenever we seek out the things around us that we are grateful for. And the even better news is that it is not necessary to have all those good things to hand. It is enough for us to just ask the question, “what have I got to be thankful for?” So try this thought experiment. Every morning for the next 21 days, consciously ask yourself this question. Write down the first three things that come to mind.
You are the writer, director, and producer of your own biopic. So make it a feel-good movie, full of the good things around you. Your amazing brain will do the rest because neuroscience teaches us that only good, positive neurotransmitters flood our brains when we are grateful, and even when we simply search for gratifying things.
Neuroscience Super Power #2: The name is the game!
A moderate amount of stress at appropriate times, especially in business, can help keep you sharp and focused. It can bring the achievement of your goals closer. But neuroscientific measurement and scans of our brains tell us that a constant low level of unspecified anxiety is really bad.
The good news is that neuroscience also gives us the remedy in the simple mind ritual of “labelling.” Give your anxiety a name. Put a label on it and picture it in a tangible form. By doing this, you will reduce the negative emotions associated with it. So, for example, you may be concerned about your over-dependence upon one or two large customers. Say to yourself, “I’m afraid company ‘x’ may find a cheaper supplier. Or company ‘y’ may be going out of business.” Try it!
Neuroscience Super Power #3: It’s make your mind up time!
Procrastination and dithering are very bad for both your well-being and your business. It is always better, by far, to make that decision. But I know what you’re thinking: “easier said than done,” right? But neuroscience can help here again, because the pleasure centers of our brains light up like Christmas trees whenever we make a decision.
Regardless of the quality of the decision, it is much better for you and your business to make a decision right now, rather than wait for the 100% right time. The very act of making a decision gives your “happiness advantage” a big boost. Hear and see more about Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage” at this TED talk link.
Yes, neuroscience recommends making a “good enough” decision. And don’t sweat making the perfect decision. Perfectionism gives you brain ache. It overwhelms you with emotions and makes you feel out of control.
Beware the pitfall of micro-management too. You cannot and should not make EVERY decision in your business. Your people know best when it comes to their own jobs. See our white paper on “Thriving in a Matrix World.”
Neuroscience Super Power #4: Get in touch with others! Literally. Oxytocin is a powerful brain happiness chemical that is released whenever we get in physical touch with others. Give and receive as many handshakes, reassuring pats, and any other appropriate physical gestures as you can. Rejection and shunning, neuroscience tells us, activate the brain’s pain centers.
It’s that simple. These four rituals or habits can put your business mind in the way of the happiness advantage, a prerequisite to business success. You can read more about neuroscience and business at this link from Ladders writer Eric Barker.
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