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10 Ways to Become Unstoppable

10 Ways to Become Unstoppable

Our highest potentiality is fulfilled when we realize that we create our own destiny.  We cannot expect to achieve our goals through others, instead we achieve our goals through our own actions.  In the phenomenal book The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, the protagonist Howard Roark is confronted by Ellsworth Toohey, “Mr. Roark, we’re alone here.  Why don’t you tell me what you think of me?  In any words you wish.  No one will hear us.” for which Roark replied, “But I don’t think of you.”

This is the perfect response in dealing with people who add no value to your life.  Once we can grasp this we can achieve greatness – greatness through our own efforts and creation without guilt.  We can do this by the construction of a framework that makes us unstoppable.  Here are 10 ways to become unstoppable.

1. Be Your Own Creator

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quantum physics has demonstrated that we have very little understanding of our world.  It has also provided us a beautiful playground for our mind.  In an experiment that still baffles us today – The Double Slit Experiment – we have found that electrons exist in a state of pure potential when they are not being observed.  The act of simply observing is the same as creating.  Through our observations and expectations, we literally create our own reality.

2. No Fear

“In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made up of.” – Howard Schultz

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The moment you quit worrying about what other people think of you is the moment you truly realize what freedom feels like.  Elite performers will meet resistance at every turn.  People will become jealous and will attack top performers.  However, these people play at a lower level and will never confront you, they will always go behind your back.  Just remember that these people bring no value to your life and if they are jealous of you then you must be doing something right.

3. Be Crazy and Different

“Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.” – Niels Bohr

It takes a vast amount of courage to act on crazy and different ideas.  However, the people who move the world forward are those who act on their crazy ideas.  Like flashes of lighting swirling around the sky, bold and crazy ideas will make their way into your mind.  Just make sure you are crazy enough to act on them before they disappear.

4. Put a Dent in the Universe

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe.  Otherwise why else even be here?” – Steve Jobs

Top performers truly dream big.  If you desire to put a dent in the universe, just as Steve Jobs did, then act as if it were impossible to fail.  Quit discussing and just do.  Set a goal that is so unbelievably extraordinary that you can’t achieve it until you develop into the person who can.  Remember, if you can dream it, you can be the first to achieve it.

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5. Visualization

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

I came across an intriguing idea regarding visualization in Psycho – Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.  The idea was to create a mind movie where the brain thinks and creates in terms of images.  Maltz instructs us that the brain and nervous system are obeying servants of pictures placed in our mind.  The key in using the mind movie is to dive deep into the movie and visualize the small details to make it as real as possible.

6. Exercise and Neurogenesis

“Exercise is Miracle-Gro for the brain.” – Dr. John Ratey

In the best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey discusses the correlation between exercise and intellect.  He found that aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of a magical substance.

This substance is Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a nerve growth factor that impacts the development, function and growth of our brain cells.  BDNF is the most powerful and active substance stimulating Neurogenesis.  By simply exercising, we can literally grow our brain cells and increase our intellect.

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7. Read

“We become the books we read.” – Matthew Kelly

BDNF is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses through axon and dendrite sprouting.  Continuing our discussion from exercise and neurogenesis; since running increases BDNF production, which increase neuron growth, we must use our brain in order to keep the wiring strong.

Read at every available opportunity – while exercising and driving (audio-books), to your children, and while waiting in line.  Never miss an opportunity to read.  Reading allows doors to open in your mind; doors that were always present, but previously closed.

8. Focus and Intensity

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Grant Cardone wrote in his awesome book The 10X Rule that we must take massive action to succeed in life.  He commented, “Assume that every project you attempt will take more time, money, energy, effort and people than you can imagine.  Multiply every expectation by 10, and you will probably be safe.”  Cardone’s bottom line is that once you define what you want, put the intensity and hyper-focus into it and define what 10X activity means then you will achieve your goal.

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9. Map Your Mind

“A bad system will beat a good person every time.” – W.Edwards Demming

As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, I understand the significant benefits of simply mapping out a process.  I also understand the benefits of using a powerful technique in generating unique and creative ideas for sorting your thoughts.

Mind mapping is an impressive tool that allows you to map connections in your mind, brainstorm new ideas, and uncover new relationships between ideas.  Simply start by exploring an idea or concept then create branches and sub-branches around the main idea.

10. Discover Your Purpose

“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” – Pema Chodron

In order for us to use each of these powerful hacks to become unstoppable, we must first have a solid foundation.  We must discover what drives us, we must discover what our purpose is.  In my life, my beautiful wife and daughter provide my purpose, they provide meaning in a world of chaos.

When my daughter was born, she motivated me to create my own life, to become fearless, to be crazy and different, to put a dent in the universe, to visualize success, to keep my mind and body in peak condition, to adopt a hyper-focus mindset and even to map out my life.  But the greatest thing my daughter provided me was the ability to love my wife more than I ever have.  This provided me a lifetime of motivation and fuel to become unstoppable.

Featured photo credit: Image by Warner Bros. via warnerbros.com

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

How to Tap into Your Right Brain’s Potential

You may have heard someone say they are “totally right brained” or that they’re “a left brained person.”

There is a pervasive myth that’s been making its rounds for over a century: people have two hemispheres of their brains, and if they have a dominant left brain, they’re more analytical; and if they have a dominant right brain, they are more creative.

Before we go debunking this theory and then giving some tips for how people can access their creative brain centers, let’s first take a look at where the left brain/right brain lateralization theory comes from.

The Left Brain/Right Brain Lateralization Theory

In the 1800s, scientists discovered that when patients injured one side of their brains, certain skills were lost.[1] Scientists linked those different skills to one side of the brain or the other. Thus began the left brain/right brain myth that continues to this day.

Then, in the 1960s and 70s, Roger W. Sperry led 16 operations that cut the corpus callosum (the largest region that connects both brain hemispheres together) in order to try to treat patients’ epilepsy. Sperry wrote about the differences in the two hemispheres as a result of those surgeries.[2]

Sperry’s work was popularized in 1973 with a New York Times article about his lateralization theory—that people were either right brained (read: logical) or left brained (read: creative). From here, Sperry won the Nobel Prize for his work and numerous other publications spread the right brain/left brain myth.

Debunking the Right Brain/Left Brain Myth

If anything, the lateralization theory of the brain is a gross exaggeration. It is true that people have two hemispheres of their brains. It is also true that there are differences in the composition of those two hemispheres.

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However, the hemispheres are actually much more interconnected than Sperry’s work initially made it seem.

In a 2013 study,[3] scientists scanned over 1000 people’s brains, checking for lateralization. They confirmed that certain brain functions occur predominately in one hemisphere or the other but that, in reality, the brain is actually much more interconnected and complex than the right brain/left brain lateralization theory makes it seem.[4][5]

A New Metaphor for Right Brain/Left Brain

How do we get past this right brain/left brain myth?

First, let’s look at what contemporary cognitive science says about brain regions, and creative and logical modes of thinking.

My background is as an improviser and improv researcher. I wrote Theatrical Improvisation, Consciousness, and Cognition and think looking at improvisation and the brain can shed light on a new model for talking about unlocking the brain’s creative potential.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans have shown that while trained improvisers improvise (musically on a keyboard, rapping, and comedic improvisation) an interesting shift happens in their brain activity. [6]

A region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases in activity and creative language centers such as the medial prefrontal cortex increase in activity. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is linked with conscious thoughts—that inner voice that tells you not to say something or criticizes you when you do.

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The medial prefrontal cortex is among the brain regions linked with creativity. So, instead of thinking about right brain and left brain, perhaps it’s more current and correct to think about more specific brain regions instead of hemispheres. Perhaps, it’s more useful to think about which activities and strategies will allow us to inhibit our dorsolateral prefrontal cortexes and allow our medial prefrontal cortexes to flourish.

How to Enhance Your “Right Brain” — Creativity

Whether we’re talking about right brain versus left brain, creative versus logical, or medial prefrontal cortex versus dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, we still know enough to talk about strategies to tap into your creative brain’s full potential.

So, now that we’ve dispelled the right brain/left brain myth and looked at a more contemporary, cognitive neuroscience theory of brain regions and creativity centers, let’s look at how to tap into the potential of your creative brain.

1. Performing Arts

One way to tap into your creative brain centers is to participate in the performing arts. Whether you improvise, act, or dance, the performing arts allow you an embodied experience that will help you snap out of your habitual, logical thoughts.

Another benefit of the performing arts is that it changes your attention. Attention and creativity are inextricably linked. When we improvise, act, or dance, we have to focus intently on our fellow performers. This means we are forced to focus less on our conscious, logical thoughts. This frees us up for more creative thinking and expression.[7]

One of the conclusions of my research on improvisation is that focusing intensely on fellow improvisers and the task at hand makes it more likely that we experience a flow state. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi,[8] a Professor of Psychology and Management defines flow as an optimal psychological state when our skills match the difficulty of the task at hand. Our perception of time is altered as we get into the zone and become more present and in the moment during our chosen activity.[9]

A flow state is a creative state. It’s the opposite of crunching numbers and forcing ourselves to work out a problem with the conscious regions of our brain. So, get up, improvise, act, or dance to access your creativity.

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2. Visual Art

Art teacher Betty Edwards[10] wrote a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Here again, we see that a shift in our attention can lead us to an increase in our creative thinking.

Edwards’ book gives art students tricks to shift the way they see the world. For example, one exercise encourages students to literally flip whatever it is they’re drawing upside down before they draw it. This forces budding artists to literally see the object in a new way. This shift allows them to focus more on the individual components and patterns of the object, which allows them to draw it better.

Shifting how we see things is another way we can access our creative brain centers. Take an art class to shut off your conscious, critical thoughts and start seeing things from a new, more creative perspective.

3. Zone Out

If there’s one thing creativity doesn’t like, it’s being coerced.

I think we’ve all felt that awful feeling of trying to force ourselves to be creative. When we force it, we’re really trying to force our logical brain regions to be creative. It’s like asking your gardener to perform your appendix surgery. It’s just not what she does.

Instead, stop forcing it. Take a break. Take a long walk or a relaxing bath or shower. Let your mind wander.

Whatever you do, stop forcing it. This break lets your creative centers rise to the surface of your attention and get heard.

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4. Practice Mindfulness

The final trick to start accessing your so-called right brain is to practice mindfulness.

Now, there’s a lot of different ways to go about mindfulness. You can take a more physical approach with a yoga class. Or you can try meditating to become more aware and in tune with your thoughts and feelings: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

You could also try to incorporate fun mindfulness exercises[11] into your everyday routine like forcing yourself to go on detours or pretending you’re a detective who needs to examine people and places closely.

Any way you do it, mindfulness exercises and training can help you become better versed in how your brain works and what your normal thought process is like on a day-to-day basis. If we’re ever going to reach our optimal creativity, we have to become an expert in how our individual brain functions. Mindfulness is one way to become your very own brain expert.

Mindfulness also has added benefits like calming us, slowing our breathing, and helping us become more observant, which are also great ways to start tapping into our creative potential.

Final Thoughts

So, it may not be correct to say that our right brain is our creative brain, but it is still a valid pursuit to try to optimize our creative brain centers.

The key to do so is to relax, become observant, shift your perspective, move your body, try something new, and, whatever you do, don’t force it.

Creativity can feel slippery. It can abandon us when we need it most, but by slowing down and looking at things from a new perspective, we can give ourselves a better chance of tapping into our ultimate creativity, even if that doesn’t exactly mean our “right brain.”

More Tips on Boosting Creativity

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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