Creativity
Bob Eckert : Brain Tuning

Creating Growth Through Innovation

Brain Tuning

How to create your own reality towards innovation and success.

By Bob Eckert | Updated 4/15/16

Get this: we create our personal reality. Now hang on… we're not saying that when a comet falls on your head, you caused that to happen. (We were watching, we saw it, and yup, a comet landed on your cranium and you did nothing to cause that.) But you… you have the option to make of that event anything you want. You could decide that you're having a very bad hair day…

OR: That you now have the opportunity to wear that wig you've been fantasizing about…

OR: You could decide that this is a great opportunity to get on all the morning talk shows, which might lead you to be involved with the next SURVIVOR series…

OR: You could decide that you are the unluckiest person on the planet…

OR: That you have been chosen by the universe to receive a message: "DUCK!"

The point is this: when you choose to become a victim of circumstance… you lose your power.

As soon as someone or something other that yourself is running the show in your head, you've lost your ability to do anything about it.

So take back control! Get out of the twilight zone! Stop waiting for the things outside of yourself to change! Change the only thing you ever really can — YOU

Yes, you!

Your thinking. Your perspective. Your opinions.

When you find a way of viewing the situation so that you are in the driver's seat — you can steer to a place where you can do something.

  • Lead your boss.
  • Be the spouse you want to have.
  • Set the new standard of excellence on the team.
  • Create the reality you want.

It's all in how you focus your attention!

A lot of what we are suggesting be done to build innovation teams requires that team members master the skill of turning their attention and thinking in directions that serve them.

The word "mind" is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "to pay attention to."

…We are thinking beings. We have minds and we can choose what we pay attention to. Folks, we're talking about mental hygiene skill here.

How to Brain Tune

Certain patterns of thinking move us forward toward innovation and success. Others hold us in place and increase the likelihood of failure. If we are going to defer judgment, for instance, we need to have the ability to notice when the judge has slithered into our thinking (drat that gator brain), and then change our thought pattern to one that is more productive. Just as an Olympic athlete sets aside thoughts of imperfect performance and replaces those thoughts with visualizations of perfection, so too, must we quiet the judge when needed. We need to train ourselves so that our first reaction to newness is to look for possibility, not threat.

The skill set needed is what we call "focusing your concentration." Essentially, in all of our exploration of this area of innovation and growth we have found only one pattern of mental training that works. While it takes many forms, the primary technique is to take time to attempt a simplification of your thinking. Here's how to do it:

1. Sit with good, open posture in a chair. Legs uncrossed, arms uncrossed.

2. Set a timer for five minutes.

3. Focus your thoughts on something simple, such as:

  • A simple, boring visual stimuli (e.g. a doorknob, a spot on the wall paper, an electrical outlet, your mother-in-law, etc.)
  • A simple, boring sound (e.g. a fan, repetitive 'New Age' music, street traffic, running water, your mother-in-law, etc.)
  • A few words.
  • A simple repetitive phrase/prayer/poem.
  • A simple physical sensation (e.g. your feet touching the floor, your hands on the arm of the chair, the breath entering and exiting your nose, etc.)

If you have a tendency to fall asleep, open your eyes and stare at a candle.

Whenever you notice your mind wandering from the focus, bring yourself back to the focus.

Don't beat yourself up for your mind wondering; just bring yourself back. Practice mental discipline…

Simple? No. Important? Very!

  • It is the practice of bringing yourself back that is the root skill for deferred judgment.
  • It is the practice of focusing which is the root skill for effective listening.
  • It is the practice of managing your thinking that is the root skill for stress management.

So… this focused concentration skill helps you develop into an individual who controls stress, listens well, and can defer judgment like a pro.

Enough reason right there.

But wait, there's more… this is the most effective tool we have to INCREASE neurons in the pre-frontal cortex of our brain — the place that some neurobiologists consider to be the headquarters of our consciousness. The place (neuronally speaking) where "you" are located. So this skill set is exactly what needs to be developed in order to have the good mental hygiene that allows for a better "you". Less forgetfulness, less confusion in old age, more of what we value most about you right now… your thoughts, your experiences, and your wisdom.

Because honestly, we do value you… and we know your mother-in-law and she says some pretty nice things about you, too. •

Next: How to Prevail Over Creativity-Sucking Conflict

© 2004 Bob Eckert. All rights reserved.

Bob EckertBob Eckert is a Senior Founding Partner at New & Improved, LLC. His work focuses on developing innovative organizations and innovation leaders via training, coaching and facilitation. More »
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