Did you ever read Sherlock Holms as a kid? Maybe you like movies, and saw him on the big screen. Sherlock the high functioning sociopath performing mental miracles of observation. He is always talking down to Watson, who it seems has missed details obvious to the master sleuth. I used to feel like Watson in school, with all the other kids picking up the ‘obvious’ details I had missed or not understood yet. It took me far longer than most, but one day in college I had my eureka moment, and felt like a Sherlock among Watsons. Can you hone your mind to be as sharp as Sherlock?
Yes! Your brain can change, even today, building new pathways to unlock rarely used sections of your mind.
Neruoplacticity is defined as “The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience” Thanks Google Cards!
What this means for me, is that if I know something I want to make happen, by following habit forming principles like ‘The X Effect’ I am not just becoming more productive now, but am actually changing the way my brain works, and priming it for learning, and increasing my capacity to learn even more!
How do you increase your ability to learn?
I think back to learning how to Juggle. There was a maximum amount I could learn in one day, but day after day my mind was increasing the connections, opening up new pathways to help me accomplish this task.
So consistent, daily practice at a skill leads to modifying your mind.
But we were talking about Sherlock a bit ago, how can we become like him? Although his power was observation, you may have a different aim. Perhaps you want to change careers, or get a remote job. Or you just want to get better at what you are currently doing. Modifying your mind begins with clear goals. That is beyond the scope of this post, but I have a few of those exercises to share with you in future posts, so subscribe on the right to stay updated.
Lets assume you have a clear goal identified.
Once you have a clearly articulated goal, you can train your brain to solve the problems preventing you from knocking out that goal. Let me share one of my goals, and how I modified my mind through consistent action to get closer to it.
Back in 2013-2014 I wrote out my 5 year, 1 year, 6 month goals. You can read more about that exercise in a blog post coming soon. But in that exercise, of those three time frames you pick the one that most resonates with you in that moment. Whatever is top of mind really tugging on your heart strings.
Again and again I wrote the desire to be a self published author. Because I know about S.M.A.R.T. goals, I always listed specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound points with each goal.
So the goal went something like this:
- Published on Amazon Kindle a 120pg ebook that makes a passive income of $500 a month by May 2015
If I had read back then “How to write a non-fiction eBook in 21 days” I might have hit it way back in the day. Since I only just read the advice last month, the self published ebook is still a work in progress.
The superpower I am building is not observation like Sherlock, but writing ability. As the title of an audio book says You Are A Writer (so start acting like one). I am listening to that book till I live each and every word. How else am I becoming a writer, other than reading and listening to books about the process? By writing EVERY SINGLE DAY! I have failed at times making this a daily habit, but the more I do it, the more a habit of writing becomes ingrained. I was still not satisfied, so I started working part time with an successful eBook author, and consulting him on marketing strategy. Although he is already amazing, a fresh perspective will make him even better, and help me learn things from the inside.
If we were to distill the above anecdote from my life into a list of strategies, we would have:
- Take daily action towards your goal
- Educate yourself to be who you want to become
- Get around the people you want to emulate
Broken out likes this, many goals suddenly become quite realistic and achievable. Ask yourself this question, “What is one thing I could do every day, which would get me close to my goal at the end of a year?” It is not quite as easy as just one thing, but as you do that one thing, often called a Keystone Habit, you will discover other problems and unique solutions to making that goal happen.
All of this gets me SO EXCITED. But why?
I am not limited by the brain I have today. Sure there are limits, but I am nowhere near my full potential, and hope I have lit a fire under your desire to grow. Don’t settle for what you are doing today. I believe God has put us here for great work, and I hope you discover and go after yours!