Lazy Thinking or Lazer Thinking... a re-actional or intentional choice?
"When you are consistently stressed, anxious, frustrated or upset, your brain becomes too busy trying to control negative feelings — you spend a lot of mental energy and you become too distracted to perform well."
“Two systems in your brain are competing,” says Hans Hagemann, neuroscientist and co-author of The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance. “That leads to not being focused on anything anymore.” To regain cognitive control, Hagemann advises us to ‘label’ how we feel. This helps us to be more aware of our emotional states. Then we can tame them accordingly.
Over the course of my professional life (Sports, Training and Business), I have noticed that high performers do a good job shifting between two states of thinking, two mindsets, if you will. As Hans Hagemann suggests, if we can name these two types of thinking, we can more efficiently shift between them. I like to call one frame Lazy Thinking and the other Laser Thinking.
In my simple universe, Lazy thinking is allowing my thoughts to just appear out of thin air and influence my focus, behaviours and action. This is definitely a reactional mode. Laser Thinking is much the opposite. It reacts less and focuses more. Laser Thinking decides on the direction and funnels cognition around and toward that goal. Laser thinking has more of a Future-Positive focus towards desired goals and dreams.
Jenn and I average more than 100 Corporate Training Sessions per year. Most were live events prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic, and we will get back on that "in person" training soon. For now we are enjoying the Zoom Training process with our amazing clients. One of the few times that Jenn and I did not fly together to conduct an in-person training, I was flying from Vancouver, BC to Calgary, Alberta in Western Canada.
As per my normal routine, as the plane was climbing out of takeoff, I started getting organized because I had a bunch of work to get done on the flight. I pulled out my Bose earphones (don’t you love those ear phones - you never have to hear other conversations) and put them on the empty seat next to me. Then I placed my portable hard drive, with everything on it, beside my earphones.
Just before I could reach down to retrieve my computer, a bright young executive across the aisle began to talk to me. He was such an interesting guy that by the time we finished our conversation, the plane was starting its descent in to Calgary Airport. I never did get my computer out. The plane landed and since I have navigated Calgary Airport zillions of times, I hurried down to luggage, and then crossed the street to pick up my rental car when suddenly, it hit me.
I had left my earphones and portable hard drive - with everything on it - right on the seat next to me! Upset and on the verge of being angry (at myself), I ran back to Air Canada, filled out the missing items report, and then proceeded to drive downtown to the hotel. All the way, I was vacillating between anger and an “I am sure that someone took them" pity party. My Lazy, reactional thinking was dominating, and spat out catastrophic language like, "they're gone; you always do this, such an idiot Ryan!"
And then I remembered. I woke up. I became aware. I shifted mindsets! Remebering our Thinking Tendencies mental model, I started to laugh because I recognized how long I had been focused in what we call Future-Negative-Thinking, and I know how to Shift!
As French philosopher Michel de Montaigne poignantly observed:
"My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened."
Engaging my Laser Thinking focus, I re-engaged my conscious mind and re-focused on the future-positive actions that I knew I could make happen: a great workout that evening, a healthy dinner, early sleep, up at five, facilitate two great training sessions, and a second workout. My Laser Thinking focus fixated me on what I wanted to happen next, instead of languishing and ruminating on past personal issues.
At 5:30pm the next evening Air Canada left a message on my cell saying: “Mr. Walter, we have found both items and will deliver them to your hotel.”
REACTIONAL THINKING - I wasted time anxiously ruminating. Can my worrying change the outcome of whether $400 worth of technology can be found or not? This Past-Negative focus is Lazy Thinking at it's worst.
INTENTIONAL THINKING- I chose to Shift my focus onto the future that I want, the future that I can control, the future that I can accomplish, and the future that I can and will implement. This is the power of Future-Positive Laser Thinking.
Lazy or Laser?
Which one gives you your best opportunity to win your CUP in 2021?
Many of our corporate clients are engaging our services this summer and throughout the fall in order to energize their teams, focus their cultural mindset, and brainstorm processes around how to have their teams best COMMUNICATE during this new-normal.