Monday, July 26, 2021
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The Mind Switch: Change your life in 10 seconds

Hello again, this week I am going to give you a mind hack that can drastically change the quality of life you are presently living (of course for the better).

I impart training to people all over the world and one of the most frequent things I am asked by my workshop and seminar participants is a quick way to change their negative thinking patterns to positive ones. We live in an age of instant gratification and everyone wants a quick fix for everything. So here’s something that can change your life literally in ten seconds. Are you ready?

Understanding the science behind this first shall make it easy for you to implement it. Most of us don’t even realize the kind of tricks our minds play on us. We are not even aware why we hesitate, start doubting ourselves and get stuck analysing things to death. Switching gears in your mind or changing your life in 10 seconds is exactly what my forthcoming book, “The Mind Switch “is all about. We need to realise that all it takes is less than 10 seconds for worry to hijack our minds, fear can take over and the smallest moves that you really want to make can seem terrifying. In the same way, the opposite is also true. In less than 10 seconds, you can take control back. Do you ever realise how often you hesitate and stop yourself all day long? There is a neurological reason why change is so hard, your brain is designed to stop you from changing. Let me explain. Change requires you to do things that are uncertain, scary or new, your brain is designed to protect you from doing things that are uncertain, scary or new. And the best way to stop or protect you is by making you overthink.

For the last 20 years, I have studied the human mind, met researchers, doctors, neuro surgeons, thinkers, psychologists and tried to understand the science behind what makes humans behave in a certain way. I have understood that the moment you want to change, break a habit, or do something hard or scary and you hesitate, your brain goes to work to prevent you. Psychologists have come up with a lot of fancy names for this kind of thinking or behaviour. Some call it Cognitive Biases, the paradox of choice, the psychological immune system, in fact there are a hundred different names for this. What you need to know is one simple fact, there is a system in your head that is stopping you every step of the way and the 10 second technique or the Mind Switch is the only tool you need to beat it. So what is this technique? It’s simple, whenever you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within ten seconds or your brain will kill that idea. Because when you physically move your brain starts to build new habits.

There are two ways to explain to you how this tool works, first the simple one and then I will try to explain it scientifically. At its most basic level the ten second technique is a tool that helps you take action. It gets you out of your head and that’s the secret. You have to stop thinking and take action before the system in your head has a chance to stop you. Now let me explain you the science behind this. Modern principles of psychology support the 10 second technique and I could go on and on about it. But here I will present the five most important ones.

1) Locus of control: This is the foundational principle in psychology. Psychologists figured out that there are two kinds of people a) people who believe they are in control of their lives and b) people who believe life is just happening to them and they are just a victim of whatever happens. The latter are happier, more successful and more productive. So the big question is how do you create an internal Locus of control in yourself? The answer is simple it’s called a bias towards action.

2) Bias towards action: This is another psychological principle which means you are the kind of person who loves taking action instead of a bias towards thinking. You do this by applying the 10 second technique. It is a tool that will teach you how to take action, over time of using the 10 second rule not only will you learn how to take action; you also become the kind of person that operates with a bias towards taking action. When you take action on your instincts, on your desires, on your commitments, guess what you get, you build an internal locus of control. You prove it to yourself that you are in control . Scientist earlier thought that our brains stopped growing at the age of 25. What we now know for a fact is that our brains never stop growing. We have the ability to learn new things throughout our lives. This is called behavioural flexibility and what is noticed in experiments is that the more and more you follow the 10 second rule to take action, whether its speaking in front of a crowd or pushing yourself to exercise repeatedly, you are actually creating new habits. If you read my column on habits, you know what I am talking about. This leads you to become an entirely different person because you have formed new neural pathways through this behaviour. Everytime you apply this rule, you activate the prefrontal cortex of your brain and shift your behaviour, you are not only creating behaviour change but lasting behaviour change. The next principle is

3) Do good be good principle: Which means you cannot think your way to being happier, you actually got to do something, now this philosophy dates back to Aristotle and is based on the belief that you can’t think your way to being more positive. You should do things by taking action and then your mind will follow. So what is the 10 second rule? It is a tool that will help you stop thinking and start doing.

Remember, you cannot change the trigger or control your urges but you can always choose how you behave. If you want to break a habit replace it with new behaviour. Here let me introduce you to a new concept called a starting ritual, which is a repeated behaviour that you adopt in order to trigger new habits. The 10 second rule is a brilliant method to start a new ritual. It will interrupt the old behaviour pattern and will trigger a new one which brings me to the final idea called Activation energy. This is a term borrowed from chemistry, which means in order to start a chemical reaction a lot of energy is needed at the beginning than to keep it going. Try and think about it, how hard it is to just get started, to visit the gym, to sacrifice a certain kind of food or to get out of bed. This is where activation energy comes into play; you need it to start the chain. That activation energy is inside you and it causes the initial starting processing once you start there is a chain reaction which allows you to keep on going. The 10 second rule creates the activation energy required to begin the starting ritual. Just by simply counting down from 10 to one, you start a process of changing and you push yourself in a new direction.

Until next time ,

Stay Positive, Stay Abundant

Umesh Pherwani

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