“I am overwhelmed and stressed out just trying to keep up with things,” is a phrase that I am hearing over and over. With a few questions, I often find out that keeping up with things includes texts, emails, social media postings, and work-related communications. The constant phone chirps, dings, and bells create distractions and interruptions that rob us of the focus required to accomplish certain tasks or projects, and the ability to do them well. Highly successful people, whether in business, sports, leadership or other walks of life, have tapped into their genius that allows them to focus without the distractions, and function at a higher level of mastery. Achieving self-reliance requires a strategy for us to tap into our genius to govern all of the input that modern life throws at us.
Here is the good news. Science has found that there is a genius within each of us. Yet, only five percent have accessed this genius because few take the time and effort to develop the neuro pathways found in the brain, or the habits required to perform at higher levels of mastery. This mastery can be found in physical skills, mental problem-solving abilities, leadership, creative endeavors, or any number of other life skills that lead to success in achieving one’s goals. So, the question begs to be asked: How does one access this genius that allows us to be productive and successful in a chosen field, or in becoming self-reliant?
Again, science has found the answer. It lies within one’s ability to focus without interruption or distraction long enough to develop our neocortex which allows us to perform at higher levels of mastery. Scientists have discovered that when a person starts operating or thought processing in an alpha brain wave state instead of a beta state, our performance is enhanced, and achieving one’s goals not only becomes possible, but highly probable. Processing in an alpha state is like turning on an amplifier to provide more power for our thought process and productivity.
Another difference between the two states of mind, or our thinking habits, is brain chemistry. An alpha state produces dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, or the feel-good hormones found in runners high. This state is very energizing and satisfying and is experienced whenever we accomplish something that’s important to us. Whereas, when we are operating in a beta state of consciousness, cortisol, or the fear hormone, and adrenaline are more readily produced. These last two chemicals create stress, anxiety, and confusion, causing a person to be in a constant or near-constant state of fight or flight, which is extremely damaging to one’s health.
Thankfully, science tells us how to unlock the genius within us to make changes in our thinking habits that lead to a higher mastery in achieving our goals. There are three phases required to change a habit. The first is the destruction of the old habit by instituting the new habit. The second is the confusion that comes from changing one habit for another. This is the part where we have to continually remember what it is that we are striving to do. The third is the creation of a new neuro pathway that is sufficiently strong enough that the habit no longer requires any will power to maintain it. It is now a reflex that produces positive results and chemistry that makes life so much sweeter. This process requires approximately 21 days for each phase for a total of 63 days, an investment that is paying big dividends in my life.
In conclusion, we can achieve self-reliance with just a little help from our brain! Seeking a higher level of mastery in our thought processes opens a pathway to obtaining a happier, healthier, and more productive, self-reliant lifestyle. With new thinking habits we can start removing the distractions and interruptions that keep us from focusing on what it is that we really want. In the weeks to come we will explore this neuroplasticity, or the rewiring of our brains, allowing us to function at a higher level of mastery.
Philip J. Gleason