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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who Owns Your Brain?



The title may seem like a silly question. Most people will say they own their brain. However, before you respond, I ask you to consider something. This question is analogous to food companies. Coca Cola, for example, says they want to own 20% of your stomach. To do that, they produce soft drinks, snacks and other foods for you to consume. Their goal is to entice you to fill 20% of your stomach with their products. The remaining 80% is filled with Pillsbury, Kellogg, McDonalds, Perdue, etc.

While you may not like this idea, when you think about it, consumers are loyal to certain foods and a percentage of their stomach is committed to a specific brand. In some cases, people are enticed by too many brands and they fill their bellies to 200%. That is considered over eating.

So what has that to do with your brain? There are many
sources competing for your attention. There is the Internet, TV, newspapers, significant others, children, co-workers, bosses, clients, neighbors, parents, etc. You get the picture. They are competing for a percentage of your brain. Because you want to show your loyalty to each segment, you give them a portion of your brain. In case some of you may think I am talking about the amount of time you allocate to people and situations, I am not. I am distinguishing between time allocated and how much and what your brain cells are exposed to. 

In time, you start to experience overwhelm. As a result, some of you fight, some take flight and others just freeze. Of the three responses, none are productive. Yet, those responses are no surprise. At some point, we experience information overload. Like your stomach, it is a matter of how much and what you put into your brain.

Some of the examples of information our brains experience come from the news which informs us of how many people died, our neighbors gossip to us, our friends tell us how miserable their job or marriage is. At some point, we want to shut everything out and vegetate. If we don’t, our brains are unsure how to organize, categorize and prioritize the plethora of information. Furthermore, when we hear these kinds of conversations, it shapes our view of the world and can make the world sound like an unfriendly place.

Instead, you can take a stand for your brain and choose what information your brain consumes. When your friends or colleagues speak to you about issues that have no relevance or benefit to you, ask them to stop talking. Let them know that there are many sources competing for a percentage of your brain and you have a right to choose what fills it. Let them know you want to discuss topics that are valuable to both of you. If there is a problem to discuss, that is fine. Just be ready to find the solution. Some may find this method harsh. Except, what could be harsher than an incursion of your brain cells with disempowering conversations?  

If you practice this, over time, you will find people respect your wishes. You will also find you have a clearer state of mind.

To take this process one step further, you can enhance the clarity of your mind by spending some time alone. Use that time to read a book that inspires you or maybe you just want to think or meditate. In other words, since there are so many sources competing to own a percentage of your brain, you have to take time to exercise and enjoy your brain. Otherwise, there will be zero percent left for you, which seems insane since it is your brain. Take time out and take ownership of your brain. Shut off the computer, television and radio and spend quality time with yourself and love ones.    

I would love to hear some of your success stories.

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know. 

4 comments:

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