If there is one single catalyst that brings tremendous changes to this planet, it’s the human brain. Our brain is very powerful…not even the latest supercomputers can rival its performance. It’s fascinating how this roughly three-pound mass inside the skull can process facts, store memories, dictate how your body moves, and make decisions. Even scientists are astounded at how our brain works and how it empowers a person to be successful.
The brain adapts to our environment and situations constantly, even throughout adulthood, which up to about a decade ago, was not known to brain scientists. We call this ability neuroplasticity.
From the moment our mind starts to develop until the day we die, the connections between brain cells reorganize in response to our changing needs. In other words, the neuroplastic brain absorbs various stimuli, processes them, and tells the body how to respond accordingly.
Many scientific studies have confirmed that our repeated thoughts or actions reinforce neural pathways. So essentially, your thoughts can change how your brain works. If this is the case, how can you take advantage of neuroplasticity to make you a better entrepreneur?
Based on my own experience, here are the five steps on how an entrepreneur can take advantage of neuroplasticity:
1. Get enough sleep
Sleeping is the best way to relax and recharge your brain after a day’s work. It resets your brain connections that are important for memory and learning. Sleep deprivation limits the brain’s performance and impairs your memory. It makes you prone to committing errors, which is what you want to avoid when making business decisions.
Make sure to sleep seven to nine hours every day. As an entrepreneur, I know that it’s hard to do this sometimes. But if you are disciplined, priority-driven, and focused on your goals, getting the recommended amount of sleep is necessary to have a clear state of mind.
2. Be active
If you always sit down at work, get up. Your brain is more productive when you’re standing. Take time to exercise. Exercising increases oxygen supply to your brain, which helps it perform better. You need a healthy mind and body to get more work done.
3. Continue learning
You need to feed your brain with new information as often as you can. You can learn a new language, read a new book, or play a new sport. Strengthen your skills as an entrepreneur by taking an online course. Do whatever sounds fun to you. If you exercise, try new workouts. Learning something new bolsters brain performance and keeps it neuroplastic.
“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln
4. Reduce stress
As an entrepreneur, you will always encounter unfavorable situations that can really stress you out. Learn how to control and block the negative thoughts to reduce stress. The best way to do this is through daily meditation. It can be done anywhere, so there is no excuse.
I started meditating last year for ten minutes a day, and within two weeks, I noticed a difference. If you have a smartphone, there are tons of apps that will guide you through your first few lessons for free.
Stress is an absolute killer on your brain and diminishes your brain’s neuroplasticity. We are more stressed and distracted now than before. Meditation tremendously helps to regain your focus on more important things. If meditation is not your thing, other ways to destress include disconnecting from gadgets. You need some time away from work, and closer to your friends and family.
5. Goal setting
Find your purpose on why you do what you do. What makes you happy when you accomplish the tasks? What keeps you going? If your brain is motivated and alert, then you go through life more focused. An alert and focused mind is very neuroplastic.
“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
How I Put These Tips Into Practice
I’m actually hooked on a type of meditation called Creative Visualization, which I highly recommend every entrepreneur do daily. As a competitive tennis player, I want to tell you how creative visualization helped this year’s US Open tennis champion Bianca Andreescu. This 19-year old Canadian made history by becoming the first player to win the US Open on her main-draw debut. She never played in the main draw before. In fact, the year before that, she tried to qualify and lost in the qualifying rounds.
People started asking how she went from zero to hero in just a year and beat the best women’s tennis player in history in the finals, Serena Williams. Her answer was creative visualization. She said she practices it daily. Her answer proves that creative visualization is directly tied to neuroplasticity.
I learned specific techniques on how to make creative visualizations effective. I did it three times a day, seven minutes per session, or 21 minutes a day. I pictured myself playing better tennis, hitting a hard serve right in the corner, holding a trophy over my head, and all those visuals that come with playing a great match.
After three weeks of doing this, I had my first match. I play in a competitive league but, to be honest, I have more losses than wins. I played someone who had a good record. When I first hit the ball, I knew something was different. My strokes were cleaner, and I never lost focus. I won the game in a double bagel, 6-0,6-0.
My opponent couldn’t believe it. He complained to the team captain that I was in the wrong league, he thought I was some kind of ringer.
I’ve been playing great tennis ever since, and there is no reason why you can’t improve your entrepreneur skills too. You just need to believe that it will work and understand that it isn’t an overnight process. You must develop the right attitude, follow the tips above, and repeat the process religiously. If you do this, there is no doubt that you can be a future super entrepreneur.