4 Easy Steps to Rewire Your Brain

Jason Abell
Jason Abell

Jason comes to Rewire from a background in mortgage banking where he was nationally recognized for both his annual production and management skills. With demonstrated success in emotional intelligence-based leadership, Jason is regularly asked to speak on topics such as sales leadership, change, creating community, and life/work balance. Among the valuable experience and accomplishments that Jason brings to Rewire: He personally funded nearly $1 Billion in residential home loans during his mortgage banking career and had branch annual fundings in excess of $500 Million. Along with his wife, Amy, he founded Sadie’s Gift, a non-profit organization that has raised over $500,000 for the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, MD. He is the author of Start Now: The Young Adult’s Passport to Success and Well Being (A book he wrote while still in college).

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We all have things in our head that we want to do for the first time. We want to start really getting healthy for the first time or commit to reading a book a month or start making more sales calls. We have clients right now who want to start a marketing database or desire to get 8 hours of sleep a night, deepen certain relationships, or maybe even go skydiving for the first time. Logically, we know that we should begin some of these things, and there is even a part of us that desires to start some of these things but yet, simply put, we don’t.

Why is this and what do we do about it?

The “why” part of the question above includes a pretty complex answer which I will attempt to simplify here. Much of the answer has to do with what Rewire calls the “Lizard Brain,” which you can read all about here. Most of the time, it’s just plain easier not to start these activities than to start them; easier to not do something than it is to do something. Our brains consciously and (more often) unconsciously continue to scan the environment and seek “easy.” If we have food, water, clothing, some sex every now and again, and a roof over our heads, our brains are saying to ourselves “You’re all good. Don’t do anything new. Conserve your energy and resources.”

Your brain is telling you those things because your brain thinks its main job is to keep you safe and ready in case of an emergency. But we’ve all heard the adage: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” And maybe we even roll our eyes a bit at that one.

But here’s the deal: your brain is like, “Heck yeah! Continue to do what you’ve always done! You’re alive and safe. Keep up the good work. What the heck else do you want?” I have over-simplified the why here, but suffice it to say that your brain’s set point does not want you to do anything new or different which makes it difficult to do really anything for the first time.

Now, on to what we can do about all of this. Time for a little Rewiring…

Below are 4 easy steps to rewiring your brain in order to be able to do something for the first time:

  1. REST. Before beginning anything, take a breath, relax, and get plenty of sleep the night before you start. Much has been researched and written on the value of sleep and rest and you can find some of these articles here.
  2. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WILL BE DOING. The people around you (your family, friends, co-workers, and the like) want you to succeed. If you tell them about your plans, they will invariably ask you about it, encourage you, and help you in any way that they can. If you are reading this and thinking to yourself that your friends would not do this for you, then it’s probably time to find some new friends!
  3. START SMALL. Whatever it is that you are doing for the first time, please know that it does not need to be perfect, but it does need to be. If you want to start marketing to a database of 3,500 people for the first time, why not start with marketing to a database of 10 first? If you want to start reading a book a month and you read no books right now, how about starting with a goal of reading 1 book? Remember that eating an elephant can indeed be done, but certainly not in one sitting. Start small, very small, and work your way up from there.
  4. START NOW. There is a big difference between being and doing, and there are certainly times where we recommend practicing just being, but when it comes to this topic of doing something that you’re desiring to do for the first time, then go ahead and do it. You might mess up a little. So what? Be the person that starts now and does it anyway. Don’t be the person that wants to but doesn’t. The world is already full of them and really does not need any more.

So when you want to try something for the fist time, get some rest, tell those close to you your plans, don’t bite off more than you can chew initially, and start.

Please know that these steps are only “easy” in that they are simple. I mean, “Boom!” there they are, right above. And they will indeed work if you just follow the steps. Here’s the thing though: THE STEPS ABOVE ARE HARD TO DO! Not because any of the steps are particularly hard in-and-of themselves, but rather because your brain will fight you every step of the way without you even knowing it. It will find excuses for you so you do not need to take part in a step or two. It will tell you that one or two of the steps are actually too difficult to complete. Maybe this is the first time in your life that you fight a little with your brain and work through the steps anyway. Please go for it and let us know how it goes.

*This post appeared first on Rewire.

For Carey students: Jason’s presentation “Thriving Through Change” for our MotivateU week has been recorded and will be available within 24 hours on the Career Navigator and the MotivateU app. Download the app in the Apple App Store and in Google Play. The session touches on CDO core competencies (adaptability, EQ, and self-understanding). Jason starts by describing the Lizard Brain and gives examples of how it functions. Then he works through the 6 Rewire antidotes to keep our Lizard Brains at bay. It is interactive, fun, and can be put to use immediately.

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