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The Sweetest Comeback Ever: What We Can Learn From A CupCake

The Sweetest Comeback Ever: What We Can Learn From A CupCake

Americans went into mourning last November when Hostess closed its doors and Twinkies, Ding Dongs and CupCakes disappeared from shelves nationwide. Those of us who grew up on the tasty treats were elated this year when C. Dean Metropoulous & Co., of Pabst Blue Ribbon comeback fame, and Apollo Global Management brought the iconic snacks back to life. Today’s Twinkies are a bit smaller in size, but production and sales have never been sweeter. Talk about tenacity!

Despite the stir this comeback has created (for good and bad), we have to ask ourselves if there is anything we can learn from this wise, old sweet treat about perseverance? So, pull up a chair, get a cup of coffee and a Twinkie, and let’s explore what tenacity and Twinkies have in common.

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The first thing is loss. Hostess saw the collapse of a company, thus the death of the Twinkie. Most of us have experienced times in our lives when we’ve felt that everything around us was collapsing. We feel totally out of control. We feel like we’ve lost our way. But are there some things we can do when the unexpected twists and turns in life throw us off balance? Absolutely! It’s what separates success from failure: it’s called perseverance. Here’s what we need to think about:

Identify your goal

Resurrection of the Twinkie was the goal. So the companies who brought Twinkies back had to come up with a new marketing strategy to make this work. They already had tons of publicity and a strong outcry from people all over the country who didn’t want to see Hostess go under, so the timing was perfect. Identifying your main goal is the first step in making something happen, then break that down into bite-sized pieces of sub-goals to clarify your vision. The main goal is broad. Sub-categories under that are more specific and provide direction.

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Brainstorm possibilities

Brainstorming possibilities requires that we identify the problem and develop solutions. What needed to happen to make the Twinkie’s comeback the sweetest ever? Perseverance requires we use those possibilities to craft a plan and keep working it until you see results.

Be willing to recognize blind spots

Sometimes we get stuck in ruts. This happens when we aren’t flexible and open to new ideas. To recognize our blind spots we have to be teachable. We also need an accountability partner to tell us what we may not want to hear about our blind spots or weaknesses.

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Use failure as a springboard

Never give up. If you have a dream, keep fighting, keep pressing on, and keep persevering. Success takes time. There are so many famous people who failed miserably before they ever reached the top. The key is to keep trying!

Watch self-talk

People who persevere think and say positive things. It doesn’t mean they don’t feel negative emotions — they have just conditioned themselves to not dwell on the problems, and to focus on solutions. A steady diet of negative self-talk will kill your ability to persevere. Don’t let it happen!

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Prepare

Take action. Do the necessary work on the front end of things so you’ll be prepared to set yourself up for success. That could mean learning all you can about a product, a service, a skill set, the market, demand, and anything else you have to do to take the necessary first steps to action.

Take the necessary first steps

Perseverance means you may need to take necessary first steps more than once. The old adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” may mean that you have to re-think, re-define and re-establish first steps. The key is not to give up. Keep learning — keep pushing forward. Most people give up right before a big breakthrough is about to happen.

Americans love a good comeback story, so whether you like Twinkies and Ding Dongs doesn’t really matter, what matters is you learn something from their story. We like to see the underdog win; it may even motivate us to buy a box. The next time you’re tempted to give up, or feel depressed that things aren’t working out the way you planned, go to the store and buy a box of Twinkies. Even if you don’t eat them, let them motivate you!

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Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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