Updated: Feb 17
If You Can Hack Your Brain...Game Over!!
Our brains have been programmed for survival and are not always the best at helping us get the things we really want. You combine that with the modern-day, instant gratification world we live in, it's no wonder why we struggle to achieve our long-term goals, the things that we truly care about in life.
But our brains are incredibly powerful as well and the modern age we live in can be a huge benefit. We just need to be aware of what we're dealing with and set up the right system for long-term success.
While it might sound ironic, if you can outsmart your brain, you can achieve your desired goals.
We've put together a few brain hacks to help you stay on track, the hacks that have been game changers for us.
So let's get to it!
#1. Lower Your Emotional Refractory Period
The emotional refractory period is the amount of time it takes you to go from being emotionally reactive to a situation, to going back to homeostasis, aka, cooling your jets and calming down.
We want to respond in business not react.
Being reactive takes a ton of our energy and is usually destructive if our brain doesn't know what's happening and how to deal with it.
The amygdala is responsible for processing fearful and threatening stimuli in our environment. When the amygdala perceives danger, it sends a signal to the hypothalamus to activate the sympathetic nervous system, aka our fight or flight response.
This is great if we're being attacked by a bear or saber tooth tiger, but not so great when we're dealing with Susie who said she didn't like our product because it didn't completely make her acne go away as fast as she thought it would. Or uncle Bob who said we shouldn't be in business or Damien who gave us a bad review on google for something that was actually "his fault."
We tend to focus on the one bad comment we got as opposed to the 100 amazing comments we also received.
The problem is that sometimes our brain doesn't know the difference between being attacked by a bear, (i.e. true danger) or a "threat" that isn't really a true threat at all.
If we perceive normal situations in business as a threat, we will begin to use our energy and resources to ensure survival. When you're being held at gunpoint, you're not thinking about how to improve your business or solve a customer service issue. It's not the time for that.
But some of us are responding to the problems and feedback we receive in our business as if we are being attacked by a bear. You are not. Your brain is misperceiving the situation causing it to feel so real and so dangerous that sometimes we actually believe the story that's being concocted in that very moment. And since we feel so uncomfortable, we convince ourselves to run away from our dreams. And when we finally come back down to a state of homeostasis, we look around and wonder, "Why in the world did I just walk away from my dream?"
Don't get hijacked.
Your goal is to become aware of this phenomenon, so you can recognize it and stop it in its tracks. You want to return to homeostasis as soon as possible, so you can make simple, logical decisions on how to improve and run your business.
Essentially, the entire point of a business is to solve a problem for a group of people. If you "freak out" when solving problems, then you are not going to be able to make rational decisions and you're going to want to quit.
Don't beat yourself up when this happens. That will only make it worse. Just recognize it and come back down to a calm, rational place. Remember, anger and reactivity make you stupid. Stupid people don't make a lot of money or have a lot of friends. They're too busy destroying all of that with their overreactions to outer stimuli. Ok, no one's stupid...but when your brain is hijacked, it's impossible to think straight.
Your goal is to shorten your emotional refractory period as much as possible. Then try to have it be almost immediate. This doesn't mean you don't take action, make changes, or that you avoid dealing with your problems. You face your fears and problems, you just don't let your hijacked brain make decisions you will regret.
If you can master this...then you're in for a very successful and happy life!
#2. Don't Be A "Yeah butter"
Don't get "Yeah butter" disease.
There are two kinds of people. One does what they say they're going to do and the other make up excuses why they can't.
What kind of person are you..?
Many years ago after speaking at our first business event, Tara and I had several people come up to us afterward to learn more about our "secrets." It was a very fascinating experience. One person would say..."I would have success in my business but there's just too much competition." Another would say, "The reason I am struggling is there aren't enough people in my industry, so I don't have many people to collaborate and work with." Then someone would say, "I don't have enough time" and someone else would say, "I don't have enough money" and someone would say, "My spouse doesn't support me" or "My spouse is too involved" or "I have young children" or "I don't have children, so I'm just not that motivated."
Then the unthinkable happened, someone came up and told me their business didn't work because they lived in New York and wished they were in California. And then I kid you not, this is where I almost lost it and swore I was hearing twilight zone music, someone came up and told us, "My problem is, I live in California. Only if I lived in New York. THEN all of my issues would be solved and I could be successful."
I was completely floored.
The one thing each and every one of these people had in common was that every time we helped them overcome their concern, the very next sentence that came out of their mouth was "Yeah but..." And then fill the rest in with any excuse you can think of.
When we got home, I was talking to one of my business friends about what happened and he said "Oh the 'yea butters' yep. No matter what you tell them, the very next word out of their mouth is 'yeah but'___ (fill in with excuse.)"
All butts stink. Some more than others.
Remember, there are 2 kinds of people in this world.
One, who will regardless of the circumstance, keep plowing forward, not make excuses, keep taking fast effective action, and create their destiny. To this group, there is no such thing as "can it work?" It's ALWAYS, how can it work? How do I do it better? How do I need to adapt and adjust to make it work? If XYZ person can do it, so can I. If them, why not me? Why not now?
The other group will ALWAYS figure out how to make things NOT work for them, no matter what you say to them or what you do for them. They will always find a way for it to not work or why it can't work. And they will always have stories to "prove" why it can't be done for them.
In our high school weight room, there was a slogan that said "Excuses are for losers, find a way to get the job done." Now that sign wouldn't fly in today's politically correct society and the truth is I don't think anyone is a loser. BUT awareness is HUGE and if you find yourself making excuses on a regular basis, you may want to reassess what you're programming, (aka your brain), is doing and get it under control. Because one thing I do know is, as long as a yeah butter stays a yeah butter, they will never succeed in business in the way they're hoping!
DON'T BE A YEAH BUTTER!!!
#3. Your Thoughts = Your Results
According to the National Science Foundation, we have 12,000-60,000 thoughts a day. On average, 95% of them are repetitive and 80% of them are negative.
Are you kidding me? That's wild, but it doesn't have to be you!
If your thoughts are negative towards your business, employees, financial situation, and or personal life, then you are going to feel pretty bad. And if you are feeling pretty bad, you're going to make decisions out of fear and scarcity. Not a great way to run a business.
Let's face it, you are an entrepreneur.
You are brave and you are bold.
But you are also living in a gap. A gap between what you believe you can achieve and what hasn't yet been achieved and there's tension pulling at you from both sides.
Do you reach for your dreams or do you retreat? Whichever side you go with, is based entirely on how you think about it.
What you are thinking affects how you feel.
And how you feel will greatly affect the choices you make.
And the choices you make determine the success of your business.
Anyone can change "who" they are and how they feel. It's extra hard at first, but if you stick with it long enough, you will become the person you imagine yourself to be.
THINK, ACT, BECOME!
Business is much easier when you're not fighting against yourself. Be your best friend, not your biggest enemy.
You can do this, we believe in you!
#4. Business Is Exponential, Not Linear
Business isn't linear.
Understanding this concept will be huge in your business journey!
Society has brainwashed, I mean, taught us to think linearly. Take a test, get a grade. Go to work, and get a paycheck based on the time you worked. Do these things and you'll pass your class and eventually graduate after doing exactly what everyone else tells you to do for years.
We have been conditioned to do something and then get something. Just like Pavlov's dog, the bell rings, we salivate, follow orders, and get a treat. Good boy, good girl!
Business is NOT like this! Business is not linear. Business is exponential! However, our outdated brains, while they like to think of what's possible, they really struggle not getting the regular dopamine feedback from immediate results.
But if you can reprogram your brain to understand that business is NOT linear, it's exponential, which is WAY WAY better, then you will keep going! You're the boss, you decide whether or not you keep going.
Every business we've ever started took several months before we made any money. Then there were a few months where we made only a little money and then the floodgates would open. It's crazy!
Now I am not saying this is guaranteed to happen for everyone. You have to actually do the things it takes to grow a business.
In the beginning, you basically have nothing built. So you figure out the thing. Build the thing. Then find people to buy your thing.
But before you do that, you have to figure out HOW to even get them to know you and the thing you're selling even exists in the first place! Then you have to figure out how to get more people to buy your thing. AND they have to like it so they keep buying and or telling others about it! However, once you do this, all these things start to come together.
Think of it as building a machine that will someday work for you. When you're building the machine, you're just working and not getting anything out of it. If you have a narrow mindset, you might feel like you're wasting your time. "I'm not getting paid for this," you might say to yourself. Let's say this machine takes you several months to build, with the wrong perspective that could be very frustrating.
But then, after several months of building this machine, it's ready to start working. This machine can do more than you and work longer hours. Now you're making twice as much money with less effort. You've put in the time and now you're reaping the rewards. Now build a couple more of those machines and then you're REALLY jammin'!
This is how business works! It's a lot more work up front, but the payoff is WAY more worth it!
When you really break it down, running a successful business isn't necessarily all that hard. It's really just about figuring out what you want to do. Coming up with a game plan. Executing on that plan and adjusting as you go.
So hack that brain and let's get going!
- Justin and Tara