- Do you want to learn how to change your mindset and achieve your goals? If so, you might be interested in the new book by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller, Mind Your Mindset: The Science That Shows Success Starts with Your Thinking.
- To learn more about the book and how it can help you improve your performance, productivity, and happiness, read the full article below. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the secrets and benefits of mindset!
In their latest how-to, authors Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller offer a new stance on the teachings of self-improvement: brain science. The authors explain how the brain sometimes leads to stasis and faulty thinking, causing people to make poor decisions that keep them from realizing their potential. Drawing upon research in neuroscience as well as their personal experiences with their clients, the authors provide actionable strategies on how to break mental logjams and rewire the brain for fresh thinking. Their clear explanations and personal examples keep the science accessible for all readers.
- When stories fail, a mental logjam follows.
- Fresh thinking starts with identifying your stories and creating new ones.
- Your mind’s Narrator rules your stories, for better or worse.
- Question seemingly objective truths to change unhelpful stories.
- Assumptions limit your thinking, so establish your story’s facts and get rid of the fiction.
- Trust your gut to commit to a course of change.
- Embrace uncertainty to change your response to challenges.
- Exchange your limited mind-set for a possibility mind-set.
- Learn from others.
- To find answers and solutions, stop thinking and rest.
When stories fail, a mental logjam follows.
When struggling to overcome life’s toughest challenges, such as financial setbacks or family crises, people’s minds often hit a brick wall. Problem-solving strategies that worked well in the past suddenly fail in the present, and long-held assumptions lead to a dead end. Personal growth stalls, and problems persist.
Neuroscience offers insight into why this happens: Your brain contains a network of neural connections that generates memories and makes predictions for the future based on the past. These memories and predictions inform your stories, or narratives. Subsequently, the stories, good and bad, determine which problem-solving strategies you deploy in a given situation.
“Storytelling is a function of how our brains conceive and represent reality, and our results depend to a large degree on how good our storytelling is.”
Usually, these strategies work as intended – preventing mishaps and resolving issues – but, occasionally, they mislead and stifle. This happens when circumstances change but the connections and strategies don’t. Instead of creating a new, adaptive narrative, the brain falls back on an unhelpful one – and a mental logjam ensues. To get unstuck, you must examine your stories and rethink your thinking.
Fresh thinking starts with identifying your stories and creating new ones.
Because the brain is hard-wired to favor certainty over uncertainty and repeat familiar behaviors, recognizing faulty reasoning is a challenge. To forge new neural connections and rewire your brain, you need to change your thinking.
“Rather than thinking about what we’re doing, we need to think about our thinking.”
Breaking a mental logjam to achieve positive results requires reflection and fresh perspectives. To accomplish this:
- Identify both the problem and the story that goes with it – For example, author Michael Hyatt’s problem was a missed team sales goal. His story was that circumstances beyond his control – interest rates, gas prices, buying trends, and so on – conspired to depress sales.
- Expose faulty storytelling by breaking down the narrative and separating facts from opinions and assumptions – Although Hyatt’s reasons for missing the team sales numbers were indeed factual, his assumption that he couldn’t do anything to minimize their impact was wrong.
- Recalibrate the narrative – For Hyatt, that meant looking inward at skills he controlled instead of outward at factors he couldn’t change. Once he changed his thinking, the process of creating new neural connections – and a new story – began.
Your mind’s Narrator rules your stories, for better or worse.
People use concepts to understand the world around them. Concepts include concrete things such as a cup’s shape or abstractions like love and justice. In the brain, concepts form when synapses – connections between brain cells – link neurons together in distinct patterns. Sometimes, concepts string together to reveal cause-and-effect relationships – when X does Y, A turns into B, for example. Based on these, the brain “writes” stories. The Narrator then interprets the stories’ data and relays it as coherent thought.
“In essence, your thoughts are the story the Narrator is telling you about your circumstances. And the Narrator never rests.”
Narrators make sense of the world, and, usually, they provide helpful guidance (once bitten, twice shy, for example). Occasionally, however, the storytelling is faulty or outdated, and the Narrator becomes a hindrance to growth.
Question seemingly objective truths to change unhelpful stories.
In the brain, the hippocampus works with the neocortex to produce and activate two types of memories: episodic and semantic. Episodic memories are recordings of personal experiences; semantic memories are recordings of facts, events and data acquired through observation.
By definition, episodic memories are subjective, while semantic memories are objective. Over time and with reinforcement, however, the mind will turn some subjective memories into objective ones.
“The more we replay episodic memory in our minds, the more objective it can feel.”
For the Narrator, these warped subjective memories become objective broad truths, with the power to influence decision-making. Trouble arises when the Narrator makes decisions about complex situations inspired by incorrect assumptions or flawed readings of other people’s thinking.
For example, for years, author Megan Hyatt Miller dreaded and avoided public speaking because her Narrator, fueled by painful high school memories, had convinced her that she was terrible at it. The more her Narrator fed her fears, the more she restrained herself from speaking in public.
Assumptions limit your thinking, so establish your story’s facts and get rid of the fiction.
When Hyatt Miller’s executive job required her to make presentations, she realized she had to change her Narrator’s story. Her transformation began when she sought guidance from her friend Michele Cushatt, a public speaking coach. Cushatt had been a sought-after motivational speaker until surgery for tongue cancer damaged her voice. Instead of giving up when her world fell apart, Cushatt examined her story in light of her new reality. Inspired by Cushatt’s subsequent course correction, Hyatt Miller committed to “interrogating” her Narrator and changing her story.
The first step in interrogation is to establish the facts of the story. Ask yourself which concepts are verifiably true and which ones exist only in your imagination. Is your story based on facts, or on assumptions about the facts? Does the story involve biases? Do you associate emotions with the facts? If so, consider them separately. Finally, ask: Which facts are relevant and which are irrelevant?
“We never know everything about any concept or problem, and sometimes that gap in understanding is enormous.”
Once you’ve assembled the facts, beware of using them to make hasty conclusions. They might lead you to incorrect cause-and-effect interpretations. Just because you’ve established some new facts doesn’t necessarily mean you know the whole picture. Be mindful of metaphors, which can cause you to make jumps in your thought processes. While they are occasionally helpful shortcuts, metaphors often limit perspective.
Trust your gut to commit to a course of change.
Sometimes, flipping the Narrator’s script requires intuitive – rather than analytical – thinking that will challenge an existing narrative. Author Hyatt, for instance, had a gut feeling that hosting his own trade show made better business sense than sending his team to the usual out-of-town show. Initially, Hyatt’s Narrator argued against the change, but after researching the relevant facts, Hyatt rolled the dice and played host. The new event was a money-saving success; his intuition paid off.
“Intuition can be valuable for interrogating stories, because it gives you a bottom-line assessment of the problem or question.”
Intuition is a prediction that happens unconsciously; however, it is based on the neural connections of lived experiences. When people face a problem, the subconscious mind races to find the neural connections that will provide answers. Conscious thought offers the Narrator data and careful reasoning, but subconscious thought triggers the Narrator to make a decision.
Storytelling requires both conscious and unconscious thought, and you need a balance of the two for change. The more experiences the Narrator has to draw on within the problem’s context (a particular profession or expertise, for example), the more reliable the unconscious thought, or intuition, will be.
Embrace uncertainty to change your response to challenges.
Interrogation often leads to resistance. The mind is hard-wired to maintain the status quo. In the brain, familiarity soothes, while uncertainty causes painful anxiety. Avoiding change to evade anxiety is a natural human response.
Verbalizing the anxiety and imagining a worst-case scenario are two strategies you can use to help overcome this avoidance response. For Hyatt Miller, questioning her long-held belief that she was a bad public speaker was terrifying, because, for years, she had been turning down speaking gigs based on that assumption. But once she accepted that her story was off base, a world of possibilities opened up.
“It is possible to abandon ideas that seem central to our most important stories without blowing up our entire worldview.”
Resistance to change also comes from a fear that as soon as you pull apart one deeply rooted story, other stories will collapse, too, just like when you pull out bricks from a wall. However, take comfort in knowing that stories are more like webs. They can withstand the removal of a strand or two. When you embrace change, stronger concepts, or strands, replace old, harmful concepts.
Exchange your limited mind-set for a possibility mind-set.
Creating new stories for positive change starts with building new neural connections and a mind-set open to possibilities. Instead of excuses for inaction – the hallmark of the limited mind-set – the possibility mind-set focuses on positive thinking. For example, in a possibility mind-set, the excuse, “I don’t have enough time” turns into, “Constraints liberate more than they limit.” In this scenario, the mind reconfigures the concept of time from negative to positive, and the language used to describe it is also positive.
“Sometimes the way to spark a breakthrough is to dial your thinking all the way up to ‘crazy,’ then pull it back a notch.”
The following strategies can help you achieve a possibility mind-set and forge new neural connections:
- Push back against the conventional – Think outside the box by drawing upon creativity and boldness. Propose novel and seemingly ridiculous ideas while brainstorming to spark innovation and encourage openness.
- Practice “divergent thinking” – To view a problem through a new lens, recast your story to harmonize it with contradictory ideas.
- Adopt a beginner’s mind-set – Enable a re-examination of familiar concepts and processes by considering them through a novice’s eyes.
Learn from others.
To change your stories and achieve positive results, seek help from experts, including coaches and teachers, as well as from books and other media. Author Hyatt Miller worked hard to rewrite her public-speaking story, by writing and reading aloud affirmations every day. But she understood that to make a great keynote speech – the final step in the process – she needed help from others. So, over many months, she built a team of experts, including Cushatt, to instruct and support her.
“The starting point is to ask, ‘Who might have a different perspective on this problem than I do?’ ”
Outside input is vital for self-improvement. Feedback from others not only speeds up learning, it also reinforces it in the brain. Calling upon diverse experts and collaborators, especially those from different cultures, will provide you with added perspectives, and expose any biases and faulty assumptions you hold. External input will often trigger questions that open up new avenues for you to explore.
To find answers and solutions, stop thinking and rest.
Rest, exercise and sleep are critical activities that aid learning, creativity and problem-solving.
In the brain, neural connections consist of two networks: the executive network and the default network. The executive network controls conscious thought, while the default network operates largely in the subconscious. Critical analysis happens in the executive network, while the default network is responsible for creativity.
When the two networks work together to solve a problem, a synergistic interaction occurs and “aha” moments happen. The creative default network kicks in when the executive network powers down. To achieve the desired synergistic interactions, allow yourself periods of rest or mental breaks.
“To get more creative with a problem, think about it and then stop for a bit.”
Similarly, studies show that exercise improves cognitive function, producing chemicals that enhance the brain’s ability to learn, recall information and solve problems. You can also strengthen your learning and recollection abilities by getting a good night’s sleep because, in dreamland, the default network is at its busiest.
About the Authors
Michael Hyatt is the founder and CEO of Full Focus, a performance coaching company. His daughter Megan Hyatt Miller is a Full Focus executive, business podcast host and author.
Non-fiction, Self-help, Personal development, Psychology, Motivation, Productivity, Performance, Leadership, Business, Success
The book is a self-help guide that teaches readers how to change their mindset and achieve their goals. The authors argue that the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world shape our reality and influence our behavior. They explain how to identify and challenge the limiting beliefs that hold us back and how to replace them with empowering beliefs that propel us forward. The book covers the following topics:
- The concept and importance of mindset, and how it affects our perception, motivation, and performance.
- The four types of mindset: fixed, growth, scarcity, and abundance, and how they impact our success and happiness.
- The three steps to change our mindset: awareness, analysis, and action.
- The tools and techniques to cultivate a positive mindset, such as affirmations, visualization, gratitude, and feedback.
- The benefits and challenges of changing our mindset, and how to overcome the obstacles and maintain the progress.
The book is a practical and inspiring resource for anyone who wants to learn how to master their mindset and transform their life. The authors, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller, are experts on personal development and leadership, and they share their insights and experience in a clear and engaging way. The book is well-researched and evidence-based, but also personal and relatable. The book offers a wealth of tips, examples, and exercises that can help readers apply the concepts and principles of mindset to their own life and work. The book is not only informative, but also motivating and empowering. The book shows readers how to take control of their thoughts, emotions, and actions, and how to achieve their full potential.