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Bring Your Vision to Life

March 23rd, 2016

Hello, Trailblazer!

I may have overdone it with the digital devices. In fact, my family may be planning an intervention. They’ve moved from being interested in my new-fangled devices to being concerned about old-fangled me.

Sounds reasonable so far
Of course I work from a computer. That’s expected and not a problem. I use a smartphone, as well, an Apple iPhone. Still pretty expected. Then there’s the iPad I carry occasionally when I’m mobile and the phone just isn’t big enough. It comes in handy, but it’s not completely necessary.

A year ago Christmas I asked for and received a Fitbit fitness tracker. This year I received gift certificates and cash for Christmas and birthday gifts so I bought an Apple Watch. I figured I could wear the watch or the Fitbit and either would track my activities. Problem is the Fitbit will talk to my phone and the watch will talk to my phone, but the Fitbit refuses to hear anything the watch says, even things it says to the phone.

So I wear a Fitbit tracker and my Apple Watch.

Getting complicated
The tracker kept disappearing from my Fitbit account so I’ve spent a lot of time reintroducing them repeatedly and searching for answers. The watch has plenty of features that still surprise me, and many things I think it’s supposed to do that I can’t figure out. When it needs to be updated, the phone has to be nearby to hold its hand. The computer programs and operating system have to be updated from time to time, too, which means the iPad and iPhone have to be updated so they can interact well, and so on.

Distracted by smart devices
I spend a lot of time keeping my digital devices updated and putting the right info into the apps. And I spend a lot of time figuring out how to make things work, fix problems, and use new features.

So much time, in fact, that it can distract me from keeping my primary smart device in good working order, updated, and running the right apps.

Your Most Important Smart Device

Many people reliant on technology call their smartphones their “brains.” Thing is, your smartphone or tablet, or even smart watch, can supplement your brain. But they can’t replace it. Your brain is your most important “smart” device, and it’s important to keep it in good working order, updated, and running the right apps.

Brains and computers and smart devices
Using a computer as an analogy, your brain is like the hardware. It’s the processor (routing messages along neurons), the RAM (short-term memory), and the hard drive (long-term memory). Your mind – including thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, feelings, and the structure for making memory meaningful – is like the programs that run on the computer. Your mind compares what’s happening to what has happened before to define, assess, predict, adjust, and respond in all sorts of other ways.

We know that computers and computer-derived smart devices are designed to do some of the remembering and thinking for us. We know they need to be cared for to work well. But we don’t always give the same consideration to caring for our brains and the minds we have programmed into them.

Keep It In Good Working Order
With computers and smart devices, we know they need to stay plugged into a power source or, if portable, be plugged in on a regular basis to recharge. We also know they need to be turned off for a while and restarted. This allows the hardware to rest and to clear the data from the processor and RAM (short-term memory) so it can begin fresh.

Our brains require care. They need sleep to clear out short-term memory and rest the mental processes. They also need sleep because it is during sleep that the Glympathic System clears out the by-products of brain activity and rebalances brain chemistry. Plus, go without sleep for too long and you risk becoming psychotic. Really! That’s what happens when the brain can’t rebalance its chemistry and clear out residue.

Brains use up a lot of energy, too – at least for those of us who think regularly! Thinking works best, that is, more accurately and more creatively and more efficiently, when your brain has plenty of energy. Concentration, difficult problem-solving, and emotional regulation (not “losing it” in a challenging situation) all improve when we have a healthy glucose level in the bloodstream. This means we can plan our demanding brain time for when we are rested and well fed, and we should avoid demanding brain time when hungry or tired. A change of scenery or a walk in nature can restore the mind a bit, and a protein snack can help keep glucose levels stable. Regular physical activity helps keep freshly oxygenated blood flowing, which benefits the brain.

Keep It Updated
Your mind is the operating system of your brain. Your thoughts and beliefs create the framework by which you define, assess, evaluate, predict, choose, and so forth. If your operating system is outdated, your thought processes will be less accurate and less effective.

To keep your operating system updated, regularly look for bugs and flaws in the current system. What thought processes cause you to shut down? What expectations keep leading you to make choices that don’t pan out? Is there a virus in the system? That could be a knee-jerk response that says “This will never work” or “Other people wouldn’t do it this way.” Those kinds of automatic evaluations can bring creative thinking to a halt or sap the determination to take desired action.

When you notice a bug, a flaw, or a virus in your operating system, update the software. Your brain is adaptive so you can replace the automatic processes of your mind that are ineffective with ones that are more effective. “This will never work” can be replaced with “How can I find out how well this will work?” “Other people wouldn’t do it this way” can be replaced with “I’m looking for something that hasn’t been tried before” or “I need a way that suits these priorities, not the priorities of other people.”

Run the Right Apps
There is a meme on social media about the rapid advances in technology. It asks, if a person from the 1950s could travel to the modern day, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to that person? The comical answer is: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at videos of cats and get in arguments with strangers.

When your brain is in good working order and your mind stays updated, you can still waste that ability focusing on unhelpful or unimportant things. To benefit from a smart device we need to know which apps support us doing what matters and which ones are distractions. It’s true for our minds, too. We need to know which endeavors and avenues of thought move us toward what we desire and which take us off track.

What Sorts of Apps?
Games can be fun, but they can be distractions. The real-life version of Angry Birds could be workplace drama with lots of gossip. The real-life version of Candy Crush could be a fixation on order and control with a little competition and comparison thrown in. The real-life version of Solitaire could be binge-watching shows from a streaming service. All these are possible ways to waste the powerful, amazing miracle that is the human mind.

Instead, choose apps that resonate with your heart and help you express your best self. Connect with people who share your values and interests and challenge you to improve. Implement planning skills that start with your clear values and priorities and lead to goals with action steps that honor them. Regularly monitor your physical, mental, and spiritual health and do what is necessary to keep them at their peak.

Perhaps The Most Powerful App
And use your well-cared-for, well maintained, updated mind to run one of the most powerful apps of all. It’s Intention. From your strengths, values, beliefs, and priorities, generate a clear vision of how you want the world to be. Choose how you want to show up in the world to bring that vision to life. Then craft a focused intention to show up that way and realize your vision.

When you clearly see your core self, you will clearly see what matters to you. Living in alignment with what matters to you will bring you meaning, fulfillment, contentment, and well-being.

Discover what matters to you and set your intention to live like you mean it. That is a great use for the powerful, amazing miracle that is your mind.

Apply it: Take good care of your brain by taking good care of your physical wellness. Take good care of your mind by challenging the outdated automatic thoughts in your operating system. Use your mind well by choosing wisely where you focus your attention, through intention.

May you be well, clear-minded, and intentional on your trail.

Take Care,

Stephen Coxsey, MA, PCC
Professional Certified Coach (ICF)
Self Development and Leadership Development

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About Steve Coxsey

Steve collaborates with his clients to design and implement a customized plan for success, well-being, and fulfillment for themselves and the people they lead. They thrive on a personally meaningful path and promote a culture of thriving wherever they are in charge.

Steve is a supportive ally to his clients. They are typically people in charge who have to juggle competing responsibilities in a variety of roles. They have a compelling vision of what they would like to create or accomplish and are committed to turning it into reality. To make that happen, they develop the agilities of leadership to be able to empower and direct themselves, craft meaningful work, and inspire others.

Would you like that to be you?

Are you ready for a creative, dynamic, collaborative partnership focused on turning your vision into results?

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