How Are You Programming Your Mind?

Calm balanced businessman sitting outdoors on bench in Yoga lotus pose meditating, with office building and blue sky in backgroundMeditation is one way, but there are others.

By Bill Reeb

Your mind is the most powerful resource available to you. It is easy to think of it as a supercomputer, running your physical being: constantly compiling data, processing complex transactions, creating internally revealed reports and so on.

MORE: Have Your Beliefs Stopped Serving You? | Your Obligation to Yourself | Work Smarter, Not Harder | Why We Risk Change | Learn to Embrace Failure | What Would Make You Happy? | Do You Have a Goal or Just a Speed?
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We know through research that most of us barely tap into our brain’s full capability, so it is also not hard to get complacent and deem the brain to be some magical organ that we just hope keeps running properly. As well, it is easy for us to get comfortable interacting with our minds as if we were only data entry operators rather than the brain’s lead programmer.
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Have Your Beliefs Stopped Serving You?

Trapeze artist about to grab partner's handsYou may have to let go to get unstuck.

By Bill Reeb

If you have identified a desire, created a plan and are working your plan to your satisfaction, you are in what I refer to as the “Try (Work)-Evaluate” loop that continues until you accomplish whatever you want to achieve. As long as you recognize the early warning signals and respond to them in a timely way, you will remain unstuck, continuing to work better and achieve more.

MORE: Your Obligation to Yourself | How to Stay in the Present | Stop Ignoring Opportunities Right in Front of You | Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Appreciate the Joy That Comes From Work | COVID-19 Crisis Requires New Mindsets
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However, most of us are not that fortunate. We start getting stuck and rather than respond to the early warning signals, we either ignore them, hoping they will go away, or try to power through them.
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Your Obligation to Yourself

Businessman looking at calendar on tabletStart getting better, working better, right now.

By Bill Reeb

Whatever you decide you want to improve or accomplish takes effort. Relationships take effort. Your job takes effort. Having fun takes effort.

MORE: How to Stay in the Present | Don’t Use Only Your Strengths | Are You Your Biggest Obstacle? | Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Appreciate the Joy That Comes From Work | Covid Crisis Requires New Mindsets | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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Know that whatever is important to you could easily start to wither away if you don’t give it the right amount of attention.
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How to Stay in the Present

business meeting of a woman and two menThis goes for both your business and personal lives.

By Bill Reeb

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming and realized a significant amount of time has passed while you were on autopilot and you can’t remember any details in between?

MORE: Don’t Use Only Your Strengths | Work Smarter, Not Harder | Why We Risk Change | Learn to Embrace Failure | What Would Make You Happy? | Do You Have a Goal or Just a Speed?
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In the beginning, when I was driving back and forth between Austin and Arlington when Michaelle was earning her Ph.D., I found that there were times when my mind would get immersed in a topic and when I came back to the present, I might have driven between 50 and 100 miles. I couldn’t remember passing through cities. I did make the drive often, so the road was familiar, but what a scary thought that I was driving a death machine at 70 miles an hour on a crowded freeway and had no recollection of my navigation for such a long distance.
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Don’t Use Only Your Strengths

Sometimes it’s better to focus on technique.

By Bill Reeb

“Invest in loss” is a technique that helps us expand our knowledge and ability by setting our ego aside so that we can learn how to work better and get better. With invest-in-loss, the focus is on improving; whether you win or lose, whether you look bad or like a pro, whether you are embarrassed or held up as an example, the key is to improve.

MORE: Work Smarter, Not Harder | Stop Ignoring Opportunities Right in Front of You | What a Pro Knows | Don’t Let Opportunities Become Detours | What Are You Giving Priority?
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Don’t confuse investing in loss with “give up and don’t care.” These two phrases have nothing in common. While investing in loss still means you are trying, you are not restricting yourself to those approaches that give you the best chance of “winning.”
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Work Smarter, not Harder

Climber standing atop mountain with another in distanceThe key? Constantly build on the basics.

By Bill Reeb

Always keeping the basics top-of-mind can help you work better. This technique is about making sure you are always building on a strong foundation – strong enough for where you are now, but also strong enough to support where you plan to be.

MORE: Stop Ignoring Opportunities Right in Front of You | Are You Your Biggest Obstacle? | Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Appreciate the Joy That Comes From Work | COVID-19 Crisis Requires New Mindsets | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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If your foundation isn’t built for the load you will eventually put to bear on it, then though you might make great progress doing the work in the short term, your gains will all crumble underneath you in the long term.
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Stop Ignoring Opportunities Right in Front of You

Extended hands on black backgroundHow “take what’s given” works in business.

By Bill Reeb

In the practice of martial arts, the concept of “take what’s given” is drilled in to teach us to respond to what our opponent is offering rather than either following some mental plan we have conjured up or over-relying on our strengths.

MORE: Are You Your Biggest Obstacle? | Why We Risk Change | Learn to Embrace Failure | What Would Make You Happy? | Do You Have a Goal or Just a Speed? | Learn More By Letting Go
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When you have an unfamiliar opponent, both a mental plan and leveraging strengths require information you don’t have to dependably work. In other words, those two options presume superiority – that I know my strengths are greater, or that my plan has all the necessary contingencies to appropriately react to the actions and reactions of my opponent. How could you have this level of knowledge or insight about an unknown opponent?
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Are You Your Biggest Obstacle?

Young man facing image of himselfSelf-reflection is useful. Self-criticism, less so.

By Bill Reeb

A couple of years ago, when I was consulting onsite with the executive team, one of the managers pulled me aside and asked me for some personal advice. She said, “I am thinking about asking to go part time because the stress of this job is really getting to me. What do you think they will say?”

MORE: Why We Risk Change | Work ‘Better,’ Not ‘Harder’ | What a Pro Knows | Don’t Let Opportunities Become Detours | COVID Crisis Requires New Mindsets | What Are You Giving Priority? | Don’t Let Others Block Your Path
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I told her that I thought they would be willing to do whatever she wanted. But then I added, “What are the owners or your direct boss doing to create this stress?” Here was the conversation that followed:
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Why We Risk Change

Two men training in tae kwon do at gymFrom martial arts to business: 5 steps of evolution.

By Bill Reeb

John, my instructor, teaches us that there is a hierarchy to learning martial arts.

MORE: Work ‘Better,’ Not ‘Harder’ | Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Appreciate the Joy That Comes From Work | Covid Crisis Requires New Mindsets | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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First you learn techniques, like punching and kicking. As you gain confidence in your technique, you can jump to a higher level and incorporate interval into your self-defense toolkit.
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