Your Brain has a Mind of Its Own: Brain Management Strategies
You have thoughts you would rather not think.
Your mind wanders like a cat looking for mice.
You know you know something but can’t remember it. You tell yourself to forget a bad experience and you can’t stop thinking about it. Then you kick yourself for doing it.
Your brain has a mind of its own:
You tell yourself, “Don’t worry about what others think.” What do you do? Wonder what people think of you.
I tell my brain to stay open, but I ignore myself.
Brain management strategies:
#1. Accept reality.
Forget the idea that there are two voices in your head. There’s a rowdy crowd in your head. Your boss, co-workers, customers, kids, neighbors, spouse, teachers, parents, and the dog all live inside your head.
#2. Stop beating yourself down.
I have the attention span of a chipmunk on steroids. It does no good to beat myself down for it. It’s the truth. Matters get worse when I beat myself down.
#3. Aspire without self-accusation.
Aspiration is an acknowledgement that you aren’t there yet.
Self-accusation is slop to pigs. The more you beat yourself down, the more you think about beating yourself down.
Accept, for example, that you don’t manage time well, AND aspire to make improvements. Don’t wallow in slop.
#4. Talk to yourself.
When your inner critic yells, “You’re an idiot,” say, “There’s my inner critic.” Then ask, “Anything else?” Or say, “Do you have anything useful to add?”
Lighten up. We’re all in the same boat, even people you admire.
#5. Understand others.
I met a guy from California who said he didn’t have a loud inner critic. I think he was smoking a joint. Everyone else beats themself down.
You don’t have to beat people down. They do it to themselves.
Challenge and affirm.
Correct with optimism.
What strategies help you manage a brain that has a mind of its own?
“Anything else?” hahaa thst made me laugh! I’ll add these to my own list which includes: 1. Observe the unhelpful thought rather than respond to it, and say “Oh look, there’s that thought again, interesting, move on.” 2. Respond to a new challenge I’ve no experience of with “how exciting, here’s an opportunity to learn,” 3.Openly revel in others’ abilities to bring alternate thinking & ideas and celebrate that no-one has it all – what a feeling of relief!
Thanks for prompting me this morn 🙂
Thanks Cazzaroonie. There’s power in noticing and naming. “Oh look, there’s that thought again.” It’s the self-accusation that makes matters worse. Cheers.
PS Glad you can see the humor. It’s helpful to lighten up.
If naming is important..Dan is my eguru and invisible coach for long….close to a decade perhaps.
There is a hindu mythology story of Eklavya – given the distance and negligible connect – i feel as ur Eklavya Dan…but thank you for everything you do. I am something today (quite a bit so to say) and a lot of it is due to you Dan 🙌🏻🤗
A book recommended by a mentor years ago, “The Happiness Trap,” helped change my inner life for the better. I practice “thanking” the inner mumbler for it’s input when it gets loud enough to distract me. Practicing genuine gratitude toward the mumbler helps me do the same with the folks around me. Sharing as many jokes as I can seems to quiet the mumbler and spread some fun too! Thanks Dan
Thanks Scott. The term mumbles is colorful. I like it. Perhaps the most important thing is just to accept it and adopt an approach that works for you.
I LOVE this! My brain is all of these things and I’m fortunate to have a team that accepts me the way I am. I’m often “running 90 miles an hour” in my thoughts and they are patient with me. Happy New Year
Thanks Marci. I was just thinking about the way people contribute to the quality of life we enjoy. We’re social creatures.
Well, we are patient because Marcie is FANTASTIC to work for and with! Great article as I, too, have a brain like a bag of cats. Turning to acknowledgement and/or aspiration thinking as opposed to self-flagellation really helps.
Hey Rob…it’s cool that you dropped in today. Oooo, “bag of cats.” You gotta love that one!
Dear Dan, Your mind is in rare form today, for sure. What a treat to read, without smoking a joint! You are absolutely correct about calling to task one’s inner critic. I agree that it’s the only way to put a stop to its insidious leaching of self-confidence! I plan to use your key phrases (Anything else?) to attend to my own mind when it starts to tear me down internally. Thanks for making my day! Diane M
Thanks Cedar, I’m glad I included that phrase. I must admit that it’s a little weird. Cheers
This is so very true! I always make a joke that “my brain” does its own thing most of the time. And yes, I speak of it in third person.😂 I have realized, in some ways, this is just my way of trying to “control” my wandering mind. 😉 I love your point of accepting reality and then also speaking directly to your inner critic. I think too often, ignoring these two things are the very things that kill our creativity and ability to move forward. Great read! Thank you!
Thanks Wheat. It’s so strange that our brain seems to be part of us and yet also seems to have its own life. Bizarre. I’m trying to figure out how many personalities I have.
😂 Of course, you might not want to say that too loud, or someone might try to have you committed. 🤣
Mum’s the word!
I love this post and will be saving it. It hits home in several ways. On a related note, I often have songs playing in my head, sometimes songs that I don’t even like. I jokingly wonder if the songs are a mechanism meant to drown out the voices. 🙂
Thanks for bringing up music, John. It’s useful to me. If I need to concentrate deeply, I need quiet. But if its quick responses to email or jotting notes, music is beneficial. Best
This is one of your tweetable best, Dan!
My brain is “A bucket of nuthatches.” I talk about “the troops” in there. Lots of grumbling, but we’ve been through a lot together.
PSA: Folks, if there’s so much going on in there that it is interfering with your ability to function, you might have developed a mental illness. There’s no shame in it. Look at me! Talk to your doctor or a trustworthy friend. Get some help. We need you!
Pingback: Marshall Memo 918 – Dashboard – The Principal Center
Catching up on the latest posts and this one really resonated with me. Coincidentally it aligns to an older book I have been reading about playing tennis and named “The Inner Game of Tennis” by W. Timothy Gallwey. It was suggested by none other than an endontist who said it had changed his professional life. Thanks for putting out these blog posts. I read them almost every day and have started sharing them with my college age kids on Instagram (they say email is for the old people :).
These are 👍 . I thought beating my stupidity will help me to wake up, but it’s worsening.