BrainDance.com Newsletter, February 1999

"I discovered that an expert in a field is not someone who knows a great deal about almost every aspect of that field. Instead, an expert in a field is a person who understands the fundamentals of that field very, very well."
- Dan Appleman , Developing COM/ActiveX Components with Visual Basic 6.

Summary of this issue:

  1. Useful MetaQuestions
  2. Update to Eat Right For Your Blood Type Article
  3. Concentration of Power
  4. State Management at Your Desk
  5. Notes From Discussions with a Yoga Master
  6. High-Level Bookstore Scan
  7. Cool Links

Useful MetaQuestions
Take any area of your life that you want to change/improve and ask a question in the following format: How will I know when I have " (1) ". Or you can rephrase it slightly as follows:

   I will know I have achieved " (1) " when " (2) "

Where (1) is the outcome you are trying to achieve and (2) is the evidence procedure you will use to recognize that the outcome has actually been achieved. For example:

I will know my life is well organized when I:

  1. schedule each week in advance and follow the schedule for the most part.
  2. have built a support system that I interact with on a regular basis.
  3. devote adequate time and energy every week to each major area of life (spiritual, social/emotional, mental, and physical).
  4. am in touch with my true feelings (self-honesty), which forms the basis for being honest with others.
  5. ...
  6. ...
Example2:

I will know that I am working near 100% of my productive ability when I:

  1. am able to concentrate deeply on the current task at hand and still remember to take care of myself.
  2. can type anything with lightening fast accuracy.
  3. have committed to memory the syntax of frequently used statements in each key language that I work with.
  4. have organized my notes on each key language into concise reference sheets.
  5. have formed a clear vision for each application I am working with and my job as a whole.
  6. interact with others effectively in each context the job calls for.
  7. speak with a well-modulated voice consistently throughout each day.
  8. eat a breakfast and lunch conducive to optimum mental clarity and energy on a consistent basis.
  9. perform cardiovascular building exercises 4-5 times per week.
  10. maintain flexibility and smooth energy flow within my body through daily stretching routines.
  11. form a mental outline or Mind Map of each day the day before and give each block of time/activity enough mental focus to prime my subconscious for effective action.
Writing the list of evidence procedures helps clarify your vision, and it serves as a feedback mechanism as you go.

"Desire is possibility seeking expression." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Update to Eat Right for Your Blood Type
This article is a continuation of one started in the August, 1998 edition of this newsletter. Upon reading the book, "Eat Right for your Type" in June 1998, I began experimenting with different foods to see if I could determine my blood type empirically. After 3 months of experiments, I concluded I must be type O even though both my parents are type A. I ordered the home blood test and am indeed type O. Since shifting to a predominantly type O diet, mainly by eliminating wheat, corn, potatoes and all dairy (actually, cheese was the only dairy product I hadn't already eliminated). Within two weeks, my waste returned to the size 34 I've been most of my adult life (from size 36, which it had been for several months). The most significant change however was intestinal. I've had recurrent digestive problems and loose stools for two years. The best way to describe it was that my intestines felt irritated, especially after eating certain foods. For various reasons, I was having a difficult time narrowing down exactly which foods were causing the problems. At times it seemed that all foods had the same effect. Surprisingly, both problems went away within days of switching to the type O diet.

The reason this is significant is that I am fairly knowledgeable regarding nutrition and have been experimenting with various nutritional approaches over the years. It wasn't organic that made the difference, it wasn't food combining, it wasn't supplements, it wasn't juicing, it wasn't just avoiding dairy, or just avoiding wheat. The problem was that I had made certain foods staples in my diet that were incompatible with my blood type: primarily potatoes and corn. Additionally, I knew I was sensitive to wheat, but didn't realize the importance of eliminating it completely at least for a while. Eliminating it is difficult given that it is found in so many foods: goodbye pasta, hello pad thai (rice based). And then there was the thinking that organic wheat was probably okay: not so.

I've been following type O guidelines for three months now and my intestinal problems have not returned. I occasionally eat wheat/potato foods at social events and when presented with limited choices at the company cafeteria. These haven't bothered me much. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be rid of the intestinal discomfort and the perplexing challenge of figuring out which foods were causing the problems.

To be clear, I still juice five times a week as before, and take a few supplements (flax oil capsules, Schiff's Selene-E, Rainbow Light's food-based multivitamin, and an occasional extra gram of vitamin C). I still use organic as much as possible, eat fruit on an empty stomach, and combine my meals properly when I want to maximize personal energy levels. Adding meat back into my diet on a regular basis has been difficult Risks associated with the meat-oriented type O diet can be minimized in the following ways: -Choose fish whenever possible. -Minimize portion size (2-3 oz per serving) -Choose range-fed beef, turkey or chicken -Handle raw beef and poultry with extreme caution and make sure it is cooked thoroughly. -Don't leave cooked meat sitting out unrefrigerated for extended periods. - I have been searching for ways to optimize my nutritional habits for over 15 years, but it wasn't until I learned these blood type distinctions that I have felt the puzzle was largely complete.

"What if I celebrated each moment?" -- From Pam Murray's Destiny Cards
Concentration of Power
In his audiocassette series, The Insight System for Managing Your Time and Your Life Dr. Charles Hobbs introduced the idea of concentration of power. Power being the ability to act, to solve problems, in a given area of focus. A good question to ask is what areas of your profession would it be useful to build a concentration of power, and then identify specific things, no matter how small, that you can do each day to build your concentration of power in that area. Alternately, when you start to do something, ask yourself if the activity will increase your concentration of power or diffuse it. "We operate in an economy that rewards specialization," to quote Bill Gates. Daily increments added each day for prolonged periods compound like interest in a bank account. "People often overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade," to quote Anthony Robbins.

State Management at Your Desk
A key issue knowledge workers face every day is how to maintain a peak state while sitting at a desk doing thought intensive work. Consider the following quotes:

"Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not." – William James
"Fake it 'til you make it." – Anthony Robbins
The challenge is that mental work doesn't involve much physiology. I guess you could use aggressive typing as a metronome. I've seen others use a tapping foot, and Bill Gates is known to rock back and forth while engaged in intense thought. Others use caffeine to prop themselves up. Another choice is to use periodic movement, to alternate between periods of intense thought and gentle stretches and balancing movements. High energy in the morning starts the night before when you eat a healthy meal for dinner at least two hours before bedtime. Exercising several hours before bedtime can also help improve the quality of your sleep, which will impact your alertness the next morning. The ability to maintain peak alertness during knowledge work is something you build day by day.

A guy goes to the Drs. office with a piece of carrot in one ear, a radish in the other, an olive in one nostril, and a piece of celery in the other. "I don't feel so good," he says to the doctor. "Well," the doctor replied, "that's because you're not eating right."

Notes from discussions with Internationally renowned Yoga Trainer, Aadil Pakalva
If done properly, Yoga can be an effective way to exercise every muscle, tendon and organ in the body. Improves circulation, opens energy channels. Aadil is one of the top Yoga instructors in the world. Here are some gems from his lectures, classes and our conversations.

In one Yoga class, I was struggling to bring my palms together in what is basically prayer position except that your hands are behind your chest rather than in front (note that this was a stretching exercise, not a religious ceremony). This was proving quite difficult for me. My hands weren't anywhere near the correct position. Aadil stepped behind me, grabbed my hands, and told me to let my arms fall, completely relaxed. He wiggled my arms back and forth a couple times to make sure they were relaxed, and suddenly without any warning, lifted my hands all the way into prayer position without any discomfort on my part whatsoever. He quietly walked over to the next student while stood there absolutely stunned. What had seemed impossible just moments before was now a reality, and all I had to do was relax. It seems that I was trying so hard that different muscle groups were counteracting the efforts of the others.

Reflecting on this, it seems that there are many examples in life where we can move closer towards our goals if we would just relax a bit more and let them happen. Knowing when to strive and when to "let yourself" seems to require much wisdom. You can learn more about Aadil's yoga classes at the Yoga Centers Website

" People often don't think of such an intangible thing as willpower as being partly biochemical, but it is. So is creativity." - Dharma Singh Kalsa, M.D., from his book, Brain Longevity
Bookstore Scan
Next time you walk into a large bookstore, try taking a five-minute walk up and down every isle. If something looks interesting, just make a note of it and keep moving. Since books are often bought on impulse, make a promise to yourself not to purchase any of the books you stumble across that interest you until your next visit. Setting the time limit and buying restrictions makes it more ecological for you to expand your awareness of information resources in the bookstore.

"Nobody is defeated until he starts blaming somebody else." –Coach John Wooden
Cool Links
  1. Let's Talk Business Radio show archives. One of my favorite interviews is with Michael Gelb, the author of How to Think Like Leonard da Vinci: 7 Steps to Genius Every Day
  2. Motivational Speaker Anthony Robbins�s Good Morning America Chat Transcript on Health Issues. (Thanks to Kevin Dayton for suggesting this link.)
  3. Some information is useful for the emotional impact it has on you, to the extent it inspires you to take action you were either unwilling or unable to take prior to reading it. It is for this reason that I include the following links to poems by Edgar Guest. A Real Man , and A Heap O' Livin'
  4. The Memory Page .

"Make your goals big enough for God to fit into them." -Dr. Robert Schuller

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