Strategies for Optimal Thinking and Behavior
by John G. Johnson
You don’t have to look very far to find an infinite amount of hypnosis-based products promising all types of gains. I could have easily recommended several to Alan, and that would have been the end of it, much like the automatic behaviors we engage in, for example, shaking hands. One person first extends their hand. The other person - without thought - reciprocates. Both hands meet, resulting in a handshake.
Alan said something which made me curious. To be specific, it was a word he used- “smart!” What did Alan mean? What was his definition of that particular word?
I had options at this point: I could’ve asked Alan to clarify what he meant by the word, or to clarify what he meant by the statement. Or even to ask how does he know that a hypnosis product will give him what he wants?...
I did none of the above. Instead, I went in search of this word’s history. I discovered it (smart) comes from the Old-English term “smeart” which had several related meanings: sharp, precise, trim, quick wit, active, clever. This utterance got diluted over time, and lost some of its initial meaning. Today everyone uses this word (smart) in their own way.
It turned out what Alan really wanted was to be more precise in his thinking - at certain times - and on specific topics important to him, so that he felt more satisfied, more confident with actions he took afterwards. Put another way, tools for better decision-making were what he wanted.
If we want to be in a position where we are certain we’re making the best decision(s) possible, satisfied with the actions we’ve taken, have options to choose from, and feel good about the choices we’ve made, - the output, then it’s best to gather as much information possible about the subject we are focused on. This is the input phase. Tools to help you do that are abundant, with the most direct one being – questions! The quality of your answers rests on the quality of your questions.
The Meta Model or Journalistic Questions are great tools to help you to generate quality information-gathering questions. The more information you have, the better the processing strategies your mind will engage in. Think about it. The mind needs something to work on. The great writers, past and present (and future ones), understand that in order to write, to produce a meaningful piece of work, they must – read! Read to write. “Reading” doesn’t imply books only, but reading the world, the environment you live in and are surrounded by. This act of reading for the writer, this immersion, is really the information-gathering phase, or, as advertising executive, Tor Myhren, calls it “inspiration overload,” the step that gets his creative juices moving.
Another key driver for success is our state of mind. For if we are seeking to enhance the quality of our thoughts and behaviors we need to take this into account. There is a specific state for a specific activity! What states of mind do you think: endurance swimmer, Diana Nyad, the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, Bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, world-class public speakers, or even individuals who've changed the world, entertain, so they can perform at an optimal level? This then begs the question: “What states of mind must you activate if you want to produce the right thoughts and actions?”
Other strategies for input are:
- Having and experiencing multiple points of views on a single subject.
- Putting yourself in situations that cause you to grow, to learn. In other words, get out of your comfort zone.
- Exercise: The brain is a glutton for glucose and oxygen. Getting the body moving triggers all kinds of responses within the body and mind. Some of the greatest ideas individuals have had in their lives came to them while exercising.
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