#018 – Does Your Brain Need A Software Upgrade?

 

Bonus Resources

Get in touch with Tim – timborys.com

Order pillar 1 of The Fitness Curveball – thefitnesscurveball.com

 

Podcast Transcript

 

Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.

 

I want to start today’s episode with a question for you. When was the last time your computer updated its software? Now, if you’re running a PC probably happened today, maybe during your most important meeting of the day. If you’re on a Mac, it was probably much more smooth. Now I’m just joking. I’m a Mac person, but all jokes aside the fact is we update our computers regularly, but we rarely think about updating the software on our brain. Now you’re probably thinking, wait a minute, our brains don’t have software. In fact, it’s pretty equivalent that brains do.

The brain is it’s an amazing tool that controls every aspect of our body in life. Yet. Very few people are putting the time, energy and effort into growing and harnessing the potential of this vital organ between our ears. Outside of traditional education most people aren’t upgrading the software in their brain. And the fact is the brains integral to every part of our body. We know that. Yet it continually grows and develops or shrinks based on how we treat it, what we do, what we think, all the actions we take in life. These are happening at every age, regardless whether we’re 99 or nine or one, our brains are changing on a daily basis.

The cool part is that we can improve that. We just need to know what the right things to do are. We’re going to talk about some of that today. There are lots of things we can do to improve the software running on our brain. But the exciting part is that we can also improve our brains hardware. Now think of the hardware as our physical brain. This is the cells, hormones, neurotransmitters. The different neural connections that physically exist, where the neural impulses pass through our brain, our physical brain. The great thing is we can improve these aspects by challenging ourselves, learning new things and regularly doing physical activity.

Yeah, that’s true. Actually, we can actually improve both the software and the hardware of our brain by doing the right types of physical activity. Today I want to focus more on the software, running our brains, and this is essentially your mindset. Now I define mindset as the filter, through which we see the world.

And another episode, I talked a bit about the factors that create to impact your mindset on a daily basis. And these are your thoughts, your beliefs, your values, your goals, or the lack thereof goals that a lot of people have. The self-awareness you have the self-esteem your self worth, your self ideal, all these things combined to make your mindset.

Well, our current mindset is a combination of all these factors, including the actions and experiences we’ve had over our entire life. It’s constantly changing based on our current experiences and the ones we’re going to have in the future. Think of this as your own personal software program that we’ve built to manage our life experiences. Sometimes this system works phenomenally well yet other times it can cause us some major problems. It can be something that holds us back or limits our growth and our ability to develop. But again, as I mentioned before, the great news is we’re in control of our mindset. We have complete control over what we decide to do.

We can’t change the past, but we can definitely choose to see things from a different perspective to see our experiences that we’ve had, the major life events, the challenges, the struggles, the adversity we faced, all of these things. We can choose to look at them from a new perspective. We can learn from it to improve our future, and we can decide to take a different path moving forward. This is really where long-term success, happiness and fulfillment come from. It’s the ability to cultivate this positive, proactive, growth based mindset in as many areas as possible. There’s so much scientific research, millions of personal success stories that show that regardless of our past challenges, we have the ability to create this type of mindset in our life.

In fact, a lot of times, people who have the most serious challenges in their life end up seeing the greatest success, because they’ve been able to use it and harness it to their advantage. You can think of it as being able to rewrite our own personal software code, to remove the bugs, upgrade your perspective and just get better results from everything you do in life. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds pretty cool.

Here are a few ways that you can do that. First step is to identify your limiting thoughts. Now, we’ve all got this monologue going on in our head each day. I read a stat somewhere. I don’t know the exact truth of it, but he said the brain has about 50,000 thoughts per day, but only about 10,000 of them are positive. That means we’ve got a whole heck of a lot of negative thoughts running through our brains. And a lot of those are directed inward at ourselves. So the first step is just to identify, be aware of when that monologue starts to turn negative and when it starts to be self-deprecating.

The next step is to conduct what I call a belief’s audit and a lot of those self-limiting thoughts come from our beliefs. And the great thing is a lot of the things that we believe, actually, aren’t true. Now to help you understand the belief side of things a bit more, helps to realize there are different types of beliefs out there. I tend to break them down into five category’s. The first, are core beliefs, and these are the deepest, fundamental convictions there that, you know, right versus wrong, good versus evil, those types of things. And these are often very deeply honed from our childhood and our experiences in life. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t changeable.

Then we have cultural beliefs. These are the beliefs that we grew up with. We were taught and modeled by our parents or family, neighbors, different community members, maybe it’s our church or influential people in institutions in our life. These are also very powerful and deeply ingrained. Some examples may be religion, tradition, family, different occupations or genetic traits, a trust of authority, maybe it’s government, police, doctors. We see lots of this coming out today. We also see it around culture, your own culture, yourself, the cultures of others, what capabilities are there and what are expectations around certain cultures? These are things that are really important, but a lot of the things that people believe just aren’t true. Yet they’ve colored our decisions, our thought processes and our actions for years, if not decades.

The next type of belief are the hand-me-down beliefs. These are beliefs that we’ve have been handed down to us from other people in our lives. Typically parents, grandparents, teachers. They happen during early childhood, they may not be as deep seeded as our core beliefs, but some examples are like rich people are greedy or politicians are crooks or art isn’t a real career like accounting or you’re too clumsy to be a dancer. Girls are bad at math, things like that, that we’ve been told time and time again in our life. You know, some people have, not everyone has other people are told different things, so they have different beliefs. But these again are things that we often need to question and challenge. And until we actually do that and do our beliefs audit, we’re not able to really move forward and make those changes that are necessary to shift our mindset.

The next category of belief is the advertised belief. And these days we’re just inundated bombarded with ads everywhere. So media and marketing is a primary source of this belief and, you know, things like carbs make you fat, you can’t lose weight without doing cardio or all kinds of different marketing messages that get put out there from companies. If we hear things enough, we often start to believe them, despite a lack of actual research or evidence. And this is becoming even more prevalent with targeted online algorithms and advertising. It’s something that people have a hard time getting outside perspectives. So knowing that in it’s own can help us really start to question some of the things we see and actually look up research, seek out dissenting opinions, seek out alternative research so we can see what else is being said about a particular topic.

The last category we’ll talk about is biological beliefs. And this is a bit of a tricky one. Our biology is extremely powerful. Our mind and our body are inextricably linked and often when we have experiences of physical experiences, we’ll tie a belief or a mental or neural connection with that physical impact. The opposite is also true. We can have a neural or psychological or an experiential thing that creates a physical response. Pavlov’s dogs are a perfect example. They were trained to when they hear a bell that they would get food and that created the link between hearing a bell and starting to salivate in expectation of food.

So we often have these biological beliefs that if certain thing happens, we have to respond in a certain way and that is really important. We see this a lot in emotion and our physiological responses to situations we face in life. Part of a beliefs audit is looking at all five of these categories and starting to identify some of the maybe less effective beliefs that we have and how we can start to shift them and our mindset to be more positive, proactive in helping us perform better in life.

So there are seven questions that to ask yourself about your beliefs. One is what experience is a particular belief based on?

The second is when did you start believing it?

Third is, does the reality of a particular situation, conflict with, or challenge your belief?

Fourth is do any beliefs hold you back from starting trying harder achieving your goals?

Fifth is, have your beliefs followed certain themes or patterns throughout your life?

Number six, is, are your beliefs serving a purpose?

The last one is, are you willing to change beliefs if they become obstacles to your goals?

Being able to answer these questions is extremely important, and it’s just a little bit of a framework to help you start to evaluate what beliefs you have, are they effective? Are they working in your life? And if they’re not, are you willing and able to change them if they’re holding you back? Now, we’ve talked a fair bit about beliefs, but they’re fundamental to shifting your mindset because so many people don’t take the time to really turn that spotlight inward and think about what is it I actually believe and is it helping me improve?

The next step in rewriting that software in your brain is to discover your core values. We all have core values, and these are a bit different than core beliefs. The values are things that we actually actively make decisions by on a day-to-day basis, or ideally we should. But a lot of people haven’t taken the time to really discover their core values. Now, core values aren’t something you come up with on the spur of the moment. You already have your core values. That’s why I use the word discover. They tend to be a combination of all our experiences up through late adolescence, early adulthood, and after that, they don’t really change that much.

Now, just because you aren’t aware of what your core values are, doesn’t mean they’re not there. They’re the things guiding your decisions each each day throughout your life. And when we’re aware of them, we can start to harness them more in our life to make decisions that are going to be better for our growth and development. Now there’s not really a right or wrong for core values. Everyone’s core values are unique and are the things that are most important to them in their life, the things that they consider non-negotiable. The interesting thing is when we look at where areas of conflict in life come up, they’re usually around our core values.

There is a great definition of stress is that stress grows based on how far we are from our ideal. So, if we’re not living in harmony with our core values, we’re going to have more conflict in our life. We’re going to have more stress and things might not be going the way we want. When we are aware of our core values, we can start to make more proactive decisions to lead us in a direction that’s more effective for our goals and our performance.

That brings me to setting effective goals. And a lot of people set goals in their life, but they are really just dreams or wishes. They’re not actually formal goals. So people start to feel like they’re spinning their wheels. Now, a lot of people listening to this are corporate professionals and are used to setting goals, they know the goal setting process, but they do it at work, not necessarily in their personal life. And it’s important to have both. We have objectives, goals, and wishes and dreams that we want to fulfill in every area of our life. And until we define those and really hone them down to something that’s directly important to us that ideally fits with our core values and has strong emotion behind it to help propel us to towards our ideal life.

The last step I want to talk about today in terms of updating the software in our brain is to practice thinking and acting from a growth mindset. Now, I won’t go too much into the differences between growth and fixed mindset today, but I’ll summarize it. A fixed mindset person believes that intelligence and ability is pretty much set in stone. After a certain point, you can’t really improve that much. Whereas a growth mindset person believes growth and learning and development are just part of the process of life. Everyone can learn and grow in every area. For most people this is a pretty straightforward concept. However, the impact it has on our life can be tremendous.

Now we all have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset in certain areas of our life. We might be growth mindset oriented at work. We believe that we have unlimited potential for growth, yet in relationships we might think oh, I’m just doomed to failure. And I always suck at relationships.

The simple fact is that we have the ability to shift our mindset from fixed to growth in any area of life. Part of the process of doing that is reminding ourselves that learning, growth, and development is possible and actually necessary in every area of life. And the great news is that anyone can make this transformation.

Everyone from kids to seniors, corporate executives, students, and parents. The first step is to make the decision that you’re ready to change. First, decide you want to experience the benefits that making the shift from fixed mindset to growth mindset can have. And those are a lot. Research shows that greater comfort with taking risks, striving, and stretching for more goals, having higher motivation, you actually build brain development across all kinds of different tasks, lower stress levels, less anxiety and depression, better relationships at work, higher performance levels.

These are all associated with a growth mindset. And once you’ve decided that you’re willing to change, we next have to decide that we’re willing to put in our best effort towards that change. Now, here are a few ways you can make that happen. First you can try and figure it out on your own. You can find and follow a proven plan.

You can get personalized, help and accountability from an expert to help implement that proven plan. Now, all three of these options are viable. They can work. The speed and the results from the last two are almost always better than trying to figure it out on your own. The good news is there are tons of resources at your fingertips. You can just Google growth mindset and you’ll find lots of different options, or pillar one of my book, The Fitness Curveball is focused on transforming your mindset. In the book I’m walking you step-by-step through the transformation process. If you want to pick up your copy, go to thefitnesscurveball.com.

Or timborys.com/curveball. You can pick up your copy there, or you can find them on Amazon, like so many other things in life these days. If you want more help to personally accelerate and facilitate that transformation process, my team and I are happy to work with you to make it happen. If you’re a corporate leader and feel that mindset training would benefit the health and performance of your team, reach out through timborys.com. I’d love to chat about the best ways to work with you and your team.

 

Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

So please keep us posted on your progress. To stay up to date with new episode releases, make sure to subscribe to a mailing list by emailing podcast@freshgroup.ca and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, thank you everyone for tuning in. And once again, I’m Tim Borys with FRESH! Wellness Group.

We’ll see you on the next episode.

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