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Prime Your Brain for a Permanent Performance Gain (in a Few Minutes) - Steve Pavlina

Dressing for Success

Some people recommend wearing nice clothes to prime thoughts like success, wealth, and professionalism. 

Interestingly, wearing nice clothes also primes the thoughts of other people to respond to you in a certain way.

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Prime Your Brain for a Permanent Performance Gain (in a Few Minutes) - Steve Pavlina

Prime Your Brain for a Permanent Performance Gain (in a Few Minutes) - Steve Pavlina

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2014/03/prime-your-brain-for-a-permanent-performance-gain-in-a-few-minutes/

stevepavlina.com

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Key Ideas

The Priming Effect

Your mind is able to fill in missing details by matching them to existing information. It also cross-references and bounces between linked associations. This priming effect even works when you are not consciously aware of it.  For instance, you can break an object or obscure part of it, and your brain can still recognize the object.

Be aware that seemingly subtle influences matter. If your senses perceive it, your mind is processing it. A slight change in input can have a notable influence on the outcome.

Conscious Priming

Being aware of the priming effect presents us with huge benefits for personal growth. By actively guiding your priming influences, you can create a permanent and lasting improvement in your life.

For instance, writing words on a board like flow, focus, success, complete will prime you to ensure that your work meets that criteria.

Think Improvement, Not Perfection

With the knowledge of how priming is influencing you, don't nitpick every detail of your environment. Pace yourself and tackle the most frequent influences first. 

For instance, prime the place where you spend most of your time. Clear out clutter or put up pictures you enjoy to ensure your office is relaxing and pleasurable.

Prime Your Mind For Quality

  • Get some quality pens.
  • Get a quality timer to prime your thoughts for efficiency, speed and professionalism.
  • Invest in a quality mug that primes you with desirable thoughts.
  • Buy a quality toothbrush. 
  • Buy food of the best quality.

Dressing for Success

Some people recommend wearing nice clothes to prime thoughts like success, wealth, and professionalism. 

Interestingly, wearing nice clothes also primes the thoughts of other people to respond to you in a certain way.

Daily Affirmations

Daily affirmations work to an extent but lose their influence as soon as you stop doing them. Daily affirmations of one kind can be undone if your next step is in the opposite direction.
For instance, telling yourself that you are attracting financial abundance, but then you re-prime your mind with thoughts of scarcity or laziness by checking an overfull email inbox on an old and slow computer.

Using the Best Tools

Your brain is constantly being affected by your environment. Start feeding your mind new input that is in line with your desires.

Remove those influences that pull you down. Don't worry about what you can't do for now. Think of how you can improve, not if you can attain perfection.

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Wanting to control everything

By procrastinating, you hold the most control over whatever task you’re working on. However, this also means, obviously, that that particular task isn’t being done.

Seeing a task as one big project

Almost everything we do can be broken down into little manageable parts.

Take, for instance, the laundry. If the laundry seems like a daunting task to you, break it down into steps. Collect all your dirty clothes. Separate colors and whites. Put your clothes on a wash cycle. Put them in the dryer. Fold them.

Being a perfectionist

It can be tempting to put things off or delay completing tasks simply because you’re worried about the outcome being less than perfect.

Just remember that it’s okay if things don’t turn out exactly how you had them in your head.

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The human brain vs. the computer
The human brain vs. the computer

When we contemplate which has more problem-solving power, the brain or the computer, we might think that the modern computer would come out on top. Indeed, computers have been built and programmed ...

Advantages of computers

Comparing the computer and the brain has been instructive to both computer engineers and neuroscientists.

  • Computers are faster with basic operations, at a speed of 10 billion operations per second, while the brain can perform at about a thousand basic operations per second.
  • The computer has considerable advantages in the precision of basic operations. A 32-bit computer has a precision of 1 in 4,2 billion, while the brain has a precision of 1 in 100 at best.
Serial and parallel processing

The brain is not slow nor imprecise in performing calculations.

For example, a professional tennis player can follow the trajectory of a tennis ball after it is served at speed as high as 160 miles per hour, move to the best spot, position his arm, and swing the racket to return the ball within a few hundred milliseconds. It can accomplish all these tasks with power consumption about tenfold less than a personal computer.

This is all possible because the brain employs serial and parallel processing, while computer tasks are mainly performed in serial steps.

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Priming the Environment
Whenever you organize a space for its intended purpose, you are priming it to make the next action easy. This is one of the most practical and simple ways to improve your habits.
Ideas to prime your environment
  • To draw more: Put your pencils, pens, notebooks, and drawing tools on top of your desk, within easy reach.
  • To exercise more: Set out your workout clothes, shoes, gym bag, and water bottle ahead of time.
  • To improve your diet: Chop up a ton of fruits and vegetables on weekends and pack them in containers, so you have easy access to healthy, ready-to-eat options during the week.
Make bad behaviors difficult

If you watch too much television, unplug it after each use. Only plug it back in if you can say out loud the name of the show you want to watch. (Which prevents you from turning on Netflix and “just finding something” to watch.) This setup creates just enough friction to prevent mindless viewing.

Train yourself to think

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Mentally edit out fuzzy buzzwords

While most business buzzwords are simply annoying (like saying "utilize" rather than "use"), some are so fuzzy and vague that they automatically lead to confused thinking.

Mentally editing out the fuzzy, vague buzzwords when you are talking, speaking, listening, or reading gradually clears your mind of the confusion they create, thereby making you smarter.

Simplify your business writing

If you find yourself writing or reading long, complex sentences at work, edit and reedit them so that they express the gist in fewer words. 

Do this repeatedly and over time you'll automatically accustom your brain to shorter, clearer wordings.

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Reduce the stress of clutter
  • Apply constraints and stick to them: to tabs open in your browser, notebooks, magazines etc.
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Find places that inspire you

You might not be in a position to choose your workspace, but there are quick fixes: look for a spot with natural light from a window or skylight, take a walk outside when you feel stuck, or simply explore a new location. 

A new environment can quite literally lead to new ideas.

Task association

It's when your brain knows that when you’re in a certain place, you’re taking a certain action.

Take advantage of the way different locations affect you. Our brains love habits, and if we can associate certain qualities with different places, it can help us get into a better working flow. 

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Morning pages

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Prime your brain the night before
  • Identify your most challenging assignment
  • Get through the tough assignment. Start working on the project at the end of the workday. But don't finish.
  • Sleep. Let the brain do his thing.
  • Wake up and dump your thoughts onto paper.
Stick to it

Writing morning pages is supposed to be simple.

To make sure you stick to your writing ritual, wake up and don’t do anything else. Grab a notebook and write the pages.

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