My brain is the most important full-time employee that I have working for me.
Yet looking at my brain’s performance over time with my internal HR department, I have to say that his performance record is spotty to say the least. Although my brain is my most important employee, I really get frustrated and call his skills into question.
Don’t get me wrong. My brain is a good employee, often reliable and always earnest. If anything gets done in my world my brain does it, whether it’s paying the bills, completing projects, or deciding what to do next. He’s my go-to guy 24/7.
My brain is a top executive, the CEO of Jack Speer enterprises. He’s also the janitor that’s always cleaning up my messes I make. He’s my muscular body guard on all occasions, assessing threats that can suddenly appear. My brain is my chief strategist. He points me in directions that enable me achieve my goals.
But to be utterly honest, I’ve wanted to fire my brain many times for gross negligence, incompetence, and flat out just not being qualified for the job. How many times this year has my brain been absent from the job without an excuse?—quite a few. How often does it focus on the wrong job?—all too often. As my most important full time employee, my brain has come up with clever ideas in the past that have saved my company and career. But how do I keep him coming up with the big ideas?
Yet the truth be told, I’ll never fire my brain. He has the ultimate secure job. My brain is such a key employee that if he suddenly resigned, I’d frankly be out of business. I can’t do without the guy.
So as my brain’s best coach and biggest ally, here’s what I suggest that we do.
- Take your brain to its full potential. If you are already in your mid-thirties, you will probably never discover the most important theory of the 21st Century—apparently math is for the 20-something mind. But in almost all other cases, the mind continues to become more able as you get older because most important skills are based on the 10,000 hours of experience concept and in pattern recognition. Society tells older minds they’re not as capable because it’s more convenient to get them out of their way so someone else can take their place. Don’t let anyone sell you this bill of goods. Don’t let your brain loaf—make it work.
- Reduce the enormous amount of negative thinking that comes from the brain. The negative flow that gets into the way of productive thinking often keeps your brain way underemployed. From the inner resources of your brain come the best ideas that have taken you to the level of success that you enjoy today. At the same time, old regrets and memories, worries and fear take up an enormous amount of the brain space you have for effective thought and action. The best plan to defeat negativity is to develop a plan of action for the day and get moving. If your brain has an agenda and a plan of action, you will defeat negative thoughts and emotions by refocusing. You’ll find joy in what you’re doing.
- Create an atmosphere to tap creativity. Different personality types are creative in different ways and settings. The key to being creative is to disrupt your thinking—routine is the enemy of creativity. Disrupt the routine of your day by doing the hobby or activity you love that will take up your brain space and take you away. Give your brain some homework before you get out of your routine into your activity, What question do you want to answer? What problem do you want to solve? What new direction do you want to go in? During the time you think you’re playing or disengaged from work, your mind is giving you some of the best answers you’ll ever have. Disrupt the context of your life by seeking out creative friends, books, podcasts, and videos.
- Take care of the brain’s “office’—your body. The brain, as your most valuable employee, may need a better office. In the case of the brain, the body, where it resides, is its “office.” Aside from the miracle of Stephen Hawking, there are few productive brains that operate in a broken body, especially one wracked with neglect. Your consistent focus on eating good food and getting exercise will create an environment where your brain will be productive. Don’t leave your best employee in terrible office space.
Most of the time I realize that although my brain doesn’t make a perfect employee, he is by and far superior to anyone else I have working for me. My goal is to keep this, my best employee, in an environment that is healthy, safe, and with other brains around him to encourage him. How are you treating your most valuable employee?