BrainDance.com® Newsletter, October, 1996

"If you can't, then you must, and if you must, then you can. (be intelligent about what he is trying to say)" -- Anthony Robbins

Summary of this issue

  1. Mobilizing Untapped Brain Power
  2. Elaboration on applying NLP distinctions
  3. Developing a personalized shorthand
  4. Nutrition notes from Brenda Davis seminar
  5. Alternative reading strategies
  6. Breath in your successes
  7. Cool self-development articles

Mobilizing Untapped Brain Power  
It is often said that most people are using less than 10% of their brain. If you think this applies to you, try using 100% just for a moment to see what difference it makes. Seriously, what exactly are people referring to when they make this claim?

Take a moment and think about how your life would be different if you suddenly doubled the percentage of brain power you are using. Would you read twice as fast and remember twice as much? Would you get your work done twice as fast, come up with more creative ideas, learn software faster? Would you use this increased brain power to research new ways of increasing your energy in healthy ways, and then use this extra energy to serve others in ways you have always dreamed of but never quite found the time or the energy needed to take action? Would your writing be more creative, your art more expressive, your software development more elegant? Would you be more attentive to your child's development, more in tune with your audience when giving presentations, a better listener during conversations? Would your business strategies be more effective, your concentration more focused, or your imagination more versatile? How would you know if you were suddenly using twice as much of your brain power?

Consider this: are you going to use more of your brain if you take on a simple project or a difficult project? Which project will require you to process more information? Which project is likely to require more energy? Probably the difficult one. When you take on a more complex project, you have a choice: you can do the same things you have always done, but just do it longer--that's working harder; or you can use the project as an opportunity to sharpen your mental tool set--to refine the strategies you use to complete the project--that's working smarter.

The percentage of brain power that you are using is very much influenced by the nature of the projects you select, by the actions you decide to take, by the degree to which you are willing to put yourself on the line.

"You are much bigger, brighter, stronger, healthier--you've got more energy and more power than you are ever going to discover until you have to." --Anthony Robbins

I believe that the process of mobilizing untapped brain power begins when you give yourself a reason to do so. Most people have incredible potential. The challenge is to bridge the gap between what you can do and what you will do. I have two suggestions to help you get started: one is to use an idea collection sheet to begin identifying things that you deeply care about, and the other is to begin researching ways of increasing your energy levels. I'll start with energy.

Energy  
Football coach Vince Lombardi was quoted as saying that "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." I believe that the opposite is also true: doing things which increase your energy level also make you more inclined to take action towards your dreams. The great thing about health and energy research is that once you discover new ways to take better care of yourself, you get to benefit from them for the rest of your life. Doing things that increase your natural energy levels usually comes with the side benefit of increasing your mental clarity. Thinking quicker and more clearly often translates into more effective communication with others and more intelligent decisions. It is often difficult to appreciate the degree to which your mental clarity can be improved until you have something to contrast with your current levels of mental clarity. I honestly don't know how much clearer my thinking can become.

There are dozens of distinctions available in literature for increasing your energy level. The best place to start is Chapter 11 of Anthony Robbins' book, Unlimited Power. For an elaboration on the issues Tony discusses, refer to Fit for Life, by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. Having sold over 3 million copies, Fit for Life is probably the all-time best-selling book on nutrition. Another excellent idea is to obtain a copy of The Juiceman Audio Cassette Series, by Jay Kordich. You can order these for $49.95 by calling (800) 800-8455. As mentioned in a previous newsletter, The New Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey is a great book on how to use aerobic exercise effectively (Click here for info on his video series at the PBS website). Chapter 8 of Brain Dancing contains suggestions on how to make juicing practical for busy people.

The quickest way to change your energy level is to change how you are breathing. Try a complete breath by putting your hand on your belly and inhaling in a way that causes your belly to extend outward. This directs the air to your lower lungs, getting more oxygen into the bloodstream and thus to your brain. When your lower lungs are full, lift your shoulders a little and continue inhaling in order to fill your upper lungs. Hold for 5 seconds and then exhale slowly through the mouth. Yoga teachers recommend inhaling through the nose. An interesting side benefit of doing five of these complete breaths twice a day is that it helps activate your lymphatic system, which is responsible for carrying away waste matter released by the cells. See Chapter 11 of Unlimited Power for more information.

Detecting your mission  
To quote Peter Senge: "First and foremost the bedrock of what draws us into action is that we deeply care."
"We all have moments when we are aware of the relationship between the intimate and the infinite--where we choose to live by our own inner promptings rather than by external expectations. Each of us has chances--we all have moments where we are connected to the great powers at work in our hearts and in our lives." -- from my notes at a recent John Robbins lecture

The key is to have a strategy for capturing those moments as they occur at various times. After doing this for a while, you will have accumulated various loose strands of your mission into a single pile, and will be in a better position to weave them into a complete tapestry.

I recommend using an idea collection sheet to gather ideas from the various mental compartments related to your mission. My experience suggests that our thinking is compartmentalized. Doing different activities uses different parts of the brain and gives us access to different thoughts and memories. Anytime something catches your attention, when you see a problem you want to help solve, when you see someone you want to help, jot it down somewhere so you can add it to your idea collection sheet. Then once a week or monthly, review your sheet for patterns and attempt to identify activities that you can begin doing in these areas. When it comes to formulating a mission statement, Stephen Covey states, "These are things you have to 'detect' more than invent." If you believe in the power of prayer, you might want to try this one from Ben Franklin's autobiography: "Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interests; strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me."

I recently received an email from Darren Downey suggesting that we ask ourselves, "Is what I am doing now helping me to become everything I am capable of becoming?" If it is not, he suggests that we "must be true to ourselves, look at our situation and keep adjusting it until it is harmonious with who we want to be and where we want to go in our lives."

Elaboration on Applying NLP Distinctions

When I wrote about my NLP application to my first radio interview in the last issue, I didn't know how interested people would be in the details. Click here for an elaboration of this material. I must preface this discussion with an admission that I don't consider myself an advanced practitioner of NLP, yet.

Nutrition Notes From a Brenda Davis Seminar

Brenda Davis is an amazing resource for nutritional information! I highly recommend that you get a copy of her internationally best selling book, Becoming Vegetarian, co-authored with Vesanto Melina and Victoria Harrison. These excerpts from a recent seminar in Seattle apply to non-vegetarians as well.

Alternative reading strategies  
If you have any great books sitting around unread, you might try the "just one distinction" reading strategy. This is where you pick up a book with the intention of identifying a single useful idea in one to five minutes. One advantage to this technique is that as you flip through the pages, your subconscious will pick up several ideas for later use. This strategy gives you a practical choice between all or nothing when it comes to highly useful books that tend to sit around unread.

Another technique is to "scan" a book while looking only for metaphors, beliefs, or principles. Pick just one for each pass through the book. Having such a focus creates structure that helps you move through the book quickly. Your peripheral awareness will often notice other ideas in the book, and they may pop into consciousness at unexpectedly appropriate times. When you do find time to read the book more thoroughly, these early passes can help this type of reading to go more quickly as well.

Your objective when reading a self-development book is not to look at every word. It is to extract the useful ideas relevant to your situation as efficiently as possible. Usefulness depends upon context, and my experience as an author tells me that it is difficult to define a context that applies to a broad group of circumstances. Be a speed understander as opposed to a speed reader.

Reading is 90% mental and only 10% eye movement. Most people can look at the words in an advanced mathematics book all day long and not understand what is being said. That's because they don't have the necessary mental infrastructure (terminology and concepts) required to understand the material. To a lesser extent, self-development reading also requires varying degrees of mental infrastructure. Use layered reading strategies, periodic reviews and Mind Mapping note taking strategies to help create this mental infrastructure.

Have you done a library review lately? Stephen Covey tells of reviewing 200 years of self-development literature in preparing to write his 7 Habits book. That's a fair amount of literature when you think about it. I figured he must have used a special type of reading style while doing this, so I walked up to my personal library one day and did a literature review of every book in my library. I set a 2 hour time-limit. During this time I wanted to flip through every page of as many books as I could. The highlighted text sure came in handy. I have several hundred books, I think it took more like three hours, my mind was gasping for relief, and it was very beneficial.

Breath in Your Successes  
John Gray used to mention in his seminars how he receives good things into his life. When he receives applause in a seminar or a complement from a reader, he takes a deep breath to let the good feelings sink in. This way the rewards of your efforts won't bounce off without you getting a chance to enjoy them and use them to propel you onwards to even more successes.

Cool self-development articles

  1. Dr. NakaMats interview: Read Charles Thompson's interview with one of the greatest inventors of our time.
  2. Introducing Change (link no longer available), Warren Bennis,November 1994
  3. Marilyn Ferguson on Holophonics (link no longer available), a 3D sound imaging technology based on new insight into the physiology of hearing.
"Lord, help my words be gracious and tender today, because I may have to eat them tomorrow." --Walt Evans

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