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Part 2: The Brain- Body Solution

             -Do Be Do Be Do

“The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”
Viktor E. Frankl

“The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.”
Viktor Frankl


Are these the only ways?

With human endeavors, the paths are as varied as the richness of human experience. Perhaps, we can explore another path. This is the helicopter tactic, what I call the out of body approach.

Imagine you are 10,000 feet looking down. At yourself. Reflect deeply on his guy. The values, the beliefs, the character traits. Happy times and the sad. What are his predominant thoughts? What are his life’s works? What does he engage in at play? Write down the insights and revelations.

Write broad categories of the interest he is most likely to be passionate about. Volunteering, creating, innovating, playing, communicating, selling, teaching and so forth. It is best to work this out with close friends or family members. Once you nail a category, you would then explore the specific opportunities. You are the best person to feel if the opportunity fits.

It’s so much effort. Would I be wasting my time?

Anything action that you take towards achieving a desired outcome, whether a physical action or a thought is never wasted. It will grow your speed and power towards that achievement. Neuroscientists have discovered that the massive action you take on a focus through doing and thinking, the concept of deep practice and deep thinking, will strengthen your neural connections along the pathway of the brain regions associated with your deep desires. Depending on your effort, you could speed up your thinking response by 100 times and the processing power by up to 3000 times, making you so much more effective in finding and achieving what you desire.
Fundamentally, to get out of the stuck, you must do. It is the brain-body connection. The more you do, the more and faster you will discover what elevates you.

Okay. What if I think I have my passion but still face inertia?

People in all fields face inertia, more so at an inflection point in their career or life.

Writers, experiencing writer’s block are recommended to do free writing. Setting a duration which they will have to write on pieces of paper, anything. Anything that comes to mind. The famous Julia Cameron morning pages. Write every morning, whatever that comes to mind, in long form on three pages of full size paper. Writing to discover.

Innovative entrepreneurs get out of their rut by taking existing innovations apart and fix them in a new way. Or they improve a function. They might even take the best of two ideas and merge them into a new product. New does not have to be really new. NIH (Not Invented Here) paradigm is dead. Large consumer product corporations often unabashedly ask their R&D to copy and make better existing products. I read that one of the corporate strategies of a popular consumer maker is to get 40% of new ideas outside their company.

For artists, sometimes, they are asked to steal. Steal ideas, add your original twist and make it your own. When I wanted to draw after laying off for a long time, I could not get the strokes right. They were clumsy and not flowing. Luckily, I did not lose it all. I persisted with my effort. Sometime, copying others. I copied Manga comics. I copied cartoonists. I copied You Tube artists. I feel that I am slowly getting back my kungfu in sketching. The other thing that neuroscientists found is that, if you don’t use it you lose it. You will lose the neural connection over time, through weakening, if unused.

Dire consequences may befall. Scientists also found that being stuck will lead to boredom and depression. It will accelerate the onset of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Another way to stimulate your brain is to be curious. Albert Einstein, arguably one of the greatest scientists ever claimed, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” To be curious, pick something and ask ‘why?’ “Why is the sky blue.” Spend time finding out. My joy is looking at graphic designs and try to figure out its’ correlations to the brand, asking, “what can I see?” One of my favorites is the Fedex logo. I think the designer is a genius with simplicity. 

Other suggestions include strategies that reduce stress, which may be one of the causes. These include visiting different places, talking with different people, simplifying your environment and, simply, taking a break. Take long walks. Be with nature. Meditate.

Do you have a favorite way to get out of stuck?

Other than the timeline exercise, I think stuck time is a time for you to prepare. Prepare for what? Make a positive, life enhancing choice and focus on the preparation. For me, I have decided to write a book. I just made the decision. No pressure. I started work on what I wanted to write and I am doing the research. I have decided on the title and have designed the book cover. I have framed a few copies and placed them at my favorite places in the house. My visual boards. Getting stuck is prep time.

To force deep thinking, I write notes from the books I read. I have three folders. Notes. Contemplation. Action plans. I will review the notes and contemplate on each idea. Challenge it or extrapolate more ideas which are beneficial. Once I achieve clarity, I proceed to application, developing action plans. The action plans will force deep practice.

Ask Viktor Frankl's two catalyst questions, "what meaning can I give to my life?' and "what does life expect of me?"

Trust your inner self. You will lead you out of the muck. Just keep taking actions. The solution cannot be processed like a continuum. Sometimes, you have to take a break. Don’t set expectations, stressed yourself for a quick fix. It doesn’t work that way. Make this your mantra; “results take time and effort.” Let the momentum you have created in your brain stir, simmer and percolate. One day, at the most unlikely time such as when you are in the midst of a serious business in the washroom or when you are on the way to a dinner, you will get the ‘Aha! moment.’ You will be shown the way out of your predicament.

This is a summary of an explanation by neuroscientist Dr. Mark Beeman on how we come to the final idea, by way of other activities. I can’t remember where I steal this passage from, my apologies to the original writer, but I am stealing it with pride.

“A series of studies have used the electroencephalography (EEG) and the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the neural correlates of the ‘Aha! Moment’ and its antecedents. Although the experience of insight is sudden and can seem disconnected from the immediately preceding thought, these studies show that insight is the culmination of a series of brain states and the processes operating at a different time scales.”

Great stuff! I am going to do something with this information.

Please do. It’s all about doing.
What about you? Do you have anything to add?


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