Manage your brain, or it will manage you

In many of life’s most important situations, your brain wants something very different from what you want. This phenomenon is so common that we take it for granted, but it’s a huge impediment to daily and long-term success. You want to concentrate, but your brain craves distraction. You want to think strategically, but your brain can barely think clearly beyond the end of the week. You want to try new ways of getting to your goals, but your brain clings to your old habits and runs them on autopilot.

The ancient wiring of our brains thwarts us in dozens of ways like that, day in and day out.

Yet the amazing thing is that when you simply become aware of what your brain is doing, you can retake control so that your brain works with you and for you, instead of against you.

We’ll have many specific posts here on this topic in the future. For now, you might just start practicing a core skill. At four or five moments during your upcoming day, pause and observe yourself: notice whether you are fully at your best, or whether you are lost in the blur of everyday life, winging it, operating on autopilot, caught up with what matters least instead of what matters most. If you’re not at your best, re-take control from your brain and deliberately put your best self in charge. Sound simple? It is—and it can make a very big difference.

Robert Cooper