I stopped reading momentarily, struck by the truth of his words.
When I read this blog post by Seth Godin, I realized how many times I recognize the pattern of not-doing-as-well-as-I-want.
Missing the cutoff for the leaderboard. Not finishing the exensive goals I set for myself this month. Looking at the email and seeing it is nowhere near “Inbox Zero”.
But his post made me think… do I acknowledge the patterns when things-are-going-great? And do I acknowledge them with the same emotional emphasis or familiarity?
The short answer is, No.
Which of the two patterns is more familiar to you?
I believe the imbalance is heavily influenced by the engineering mindset. It’s hard to set aside years of schooling and working in the industry, which trained me to be aware of all the flaws so I could fix or prevent them. And that something going right is what is SUPPOSED to happen, it is the “normal,” so don’t make a big deal about it until you’re done.
This is where visualization comes handy.
Our technically-trained mindset of “don’t make mistakes” can be realigned to “I’m comfortable with things running smoothly” through visualizing things-going-right. The former mindset is restrictive and punishing — the teacher who is just itching to find an error in the student’s homework– while the latter is more attractive to building a team of entrepreneurs — who are certainly going to make mistakes as they learn to run their businesses.
Here’s the science behind my observations.
The more our minds dwell on something, the more our brains become accustomed to and comfortable with it, and the pattern can be more quickly accessed and more comfortably expected. Whatever we focus on, our mind seeks to identify more examples and create more similar situations. (This is a combination of myelinization of the brain’s neurons and the Reticular Activating System working together to reinforce thought patterns, and by extention reinforcing the personal expectations.)
Visualization of things-going-right is a useful tool to reinforce the positive train of thought.
Just remember to follow it by actions that support your goals, or you risk frustrating yourself.
–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™
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