Category Archives: Mental Optimization

Rediscovering that Ancient Territory: Your Own Mind — Revisited

Originally posted February 10, 2015

All of us are naturally curious about our own selves. When someone who knew us when, someone older, tells us a story about something we did when we were too young to remember it, we are raptly attentive.

Looking inward at oneself is the first step toward clarity.

If it were not for the culturally ubiquitous time pressure, we would have the same curiosity if offered a searchlight method to see more deeply into our own mind than ever before. Here we offer just such a searchlight.

This posting is a brief exploration into the architecture of inner experience and offers tools to look into your inner Self, through observation and experience. Why bother? Because in order to get into the two higher, most effective states of consciousness — the Observer State, where we can really see what is going on inside ourselves rather than being puppeteered by software in our heads, and the Flow state (Zone), where we are spontaneously doing everything just right — we need to become experts in the empirical study of our own minds and inner life.

What Is the Architecture of Our Inner Life?

Carl Jung defined the four functions of consciousness as perception, feelings, intellect and intuition — the latter referred to in day-to-day life as “hunches”. These are four kinds of events that can go on in consciousness.

Within consciousness, what we experience first is something inside that motivates us and moves us toward or away from something. Those are feelings. Instincts — hardwired genetic carryovers inherited before birth — are partly responsible for some or all of our feelings. The rest arise from motivations we accumulated during our lives, stuff we learned or decided to want or not want as a result of our experiences since birth.

So what are these things you call your thoughts, your feelings, your hunches, your perceptions? Consider, or reconsider, all of the experiences you have had of your own mind, your own inner life.

When I watch what goes on inside of me, it often starts with a feeling that is also somehow an image at the same time. Another part of me then takes that feeling/image and interprets it as a conscious thought — putting names, categorizations, and other specific recognizable details onto the original amorphous feeling/image.

I think that’s what a thought is. An interpreted feeling/image. Diverging from Jung, I posit that thoughts and feelings are the same thing, at different stages of development.

Thoughts add details to feelings/images, turning them into specifications, bringing out additional information that had somehow been packed into the feeling/image.

Possibly feelings are the most substantial and primary actor, coming out of our most intimate connection with our self, and arising to be transmuted into intuitions and/or thoughts and/or emotions and/or images/visions.

Perceptions coming in from the “outside” accompanied by an equal stream of feelings from “inside” suggests that feelings are another sense, like seeing and hearing. In which case, we simply perceive, and the rest of the functions are what evolves from our perceptions. In other words, feelings are inner perceptions, and what we call sense perceptions are outer perceptions. Inner and outer perceptions are the raw stuff of experience, and as we turn them over in our minds, those perceptions turn into thoughts and/or intuitions.

I suggest that perceptions evolve into what Jung classified as thoughts (intellect) and/or hunches (intuition). Outer perceptions — the five physical senses — are what Jung called “perceptions” — and the inner perceptions are what Jung called “feelings”. In my own experience, the raw stuff of my inner life is comprised of feeling/image arisings that I then articulate internally as thoughts, with either words or not, or observe as hunches, without inner words.

Intellect and intuition have always been seen as similar functions. Intellect reaches new conclusions step by effortful step. Intuition gets there in one leap, involuntarily, all by itself. Sometimes when the intuition or hunch is particularly credible and important and came out of nowhere, we call it inspiration, suggesting help from some outside invisible source.

The Searchlight to Our Inner Self

We need maps to study consciousness. We also need meditation to concentrate on seeing what really goes on inside by understanding the basic building blocks of all inner experience — thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and perceptions.

Try this. Find five minutes when you can’t be interrupted and there is nothing dragging you away like a deadline. You might not find time to try this until the weekend, so leave yourself a note somewhere you’ll see it Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sit with your eyes closed and back straight, with your head drawn up toward the ceiling. First, still the mind by experiencing your breath going in and out, without trying to control the breath in any way. After a half-dozen breath cycles or whenever you feel as if your mind is relatively still, begin the exercise.

Now simply watch for what happens at the very beginning of a thought or feeling. A thought or a feeling is going to arise. You are in a state of concentrated sharp attention and the game is to see that arising as quickly as possible, identify what it is, and be able to remember the experience of it as accurately as possible.

This is not as easy as it sounds because we tend to get so instantly caught up in the thought or feeling we forget that we are doing this exercise. That is, until through exercises like this, we find that we have gained true control of our minds in a gradual process that we get better and better at over time. By looking inside, we can begin to cut through dogma and other people’s beliefs, and see for ourselves who we are in our inner worlds.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com.

Originally posted 2015-02-10 12:51:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Power of Respect

Originally posted November 3, 2015

If you are a leader within your organization (and anyone can be a leader, at whatever level you’re at) the single best thing you can do to mentor, nurture and develop your team members, bringing out the best in each one of them, is to create a mood of mental optimization.

Mental optimization is a mode of consciousness that shapes our choices, our information processing priorities, indeed everything that we do.

Leaders lead by example.

In any situation, we can choose to quickly set aside anger or negativity and begin to define the problem, search for opportunities hidden or obvious, and refine solution-oriented, win-win action plans based on feedback along the way. This strategy turns challenges into wins by not wasting time with negativity or letting it interfere with our ability to find win-win solutions. Obviously, whatever the setting, we can’t come up with perfect win-win ideas if we want someone to lose because we are angry at them.

CHOOSE to let go of anger and negativity

Negativity is useless and obstructive.

If we model a positive attitude, everyone will more likely be in a mood of enjoying the game of making things better, each second, the way a hero/heroine does, without internal pettiness.

We all need to feel respected.

The thing that often causes people to quit their jobs ultimately comes down to respect. Either we didn’t feel enough of it, or our position somehow compromised our internal self-respect, or often both. People can be encouraged to stay with an organization if true respect is cultivated in the right ways, not out of misdirected fanning the flames of ego.

What is the right way to show respect?

  • No interrupting.
  • Provide just the right degree of autonomy i.e. don’t micro manage.
  • Don’t use lateral second-guessing as a method of quality control, which is a subtler form of micro managing.
  • Offer suggestions aimed at optimization goals held in common by those in the conversation, without putting down anyone else’s ideas.

Again, leading by example is vital. In meetings, make sure everyone is allowed to finish their thoughts — subtly, especially if it’s someone else’s meeting. Rare exceptions would be, for example, when someone is talking too much and slowing things down — be careful to use respect and ensure respect from the team to the person who is being longwinded, while keeping things moving. One elegant way to do this is to offer an offline meeting with that person at a later time, at which time you would show respect in offering constructive feedback. Your team member will appreciate the feedback if it’s done in the right way — the optimization focus with respect — not a put-down.

The optimization mood gives you permission — in fact mandates you — to tell team members the hard truth of what they need to improve on, but with respect so they can actually get it.

When all team members display a positive attitude and show respect across the board, all organizations will run enormously better. The list of benefits is endless.

Best to all,

Bill

I will be offering an ARF How Advertising Works free webinar on June 7 from 1 to 2 PM with Turner’s Adtech leader Larry Allen to ARF members. I will be deep diving into how Turner and RMT are already bringing creative into the Turner optimization of ROI for its advertisers. We’ll also be covering latest findings in the exciting work being done by Simmons, SMI and Spectrum in this new field of ROI total optimization. Hope you can be on the call!

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-03 10:41:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Solving Challenges with Just One Fresh Thought

Originally posted August 4, 2015latest Great Being post

Do you get frustrated when you look at a longstanding problem or challenge and feel that you just don’t know how to solve it?

Acceptance is a choice that leads to a path.

Is it possible that you do know how to solve it, but deep down inside you realize that the solution is likely to involve long, hard effort? Perhaps the situation seems so complicated that you’ve refused to even begin to think about how to untangle it. Are there complexities to the situation that have you considering easy solutions or quick fixes instead of dealing with those complexities?

How can you find your way out of this loop and move forward?

What works for me is to reconsider the situation and have “just one fresh thought on the matter” each time I’m considering what may seem a longstanding challenge. Instead of pressing for an ultimate solution immediately, I begin to consider and pursue step-by-step progress. The part of my mind that insists on easy solutions usually sees this as a reasonable compromise.

Accepting this creative compromise also refocuses the energy that was being expressed as frustration so that it now manifests instead as progress. I’ve found I begin to actually make progress the longer I restrain from lurching for a final solution while adding relevant observations, and that the probability for right decisions is noticeably higher. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-04 11:22:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Role of Feelings in Decision Making

Originally posted July 14, 2015latest Great Being post

Negative feelings not only bring us down, medical evidence shows they also weaken our immune system, making us more prone to disease, and they distract our cognitive concentration, thereby reducing our effectiveness.

Bad feelings can also serve a positive function — as an alarm system to quickly get us to pay attention to a problem. Ironically, if bad feelings continue unabated while we are grappling with a problem on a rational level, it will take longer to solve the problem because we are stuck in a cycle of negativity. Most of us have experienced this cycle.

Are you more driven by thoughts or feelings

Are we generally more driven by our feelings than by our thoughts? Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-07-14 10:41:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Trying to Move a Boulder?

Originally posted June 9, 2015latest Great Being post

Feeling blocked? Have you run up against a challenge that is worrying you and bringing you down? Here’s another of the tools I keep handy when I run up against a boulder that frustrates me, casting a dim light or even fog over the achievability of my goals and priorities. I find these tools can also be used proactively even during times of smooth sailing to notch my game up a bit.

Relax and Breathe

Imagine that you can feel the muscles in your head relaxing while you go blank and stop gnawing whatever bone has your mind obsessed at the moment. Don’t let yourself revive that conversation in your head for a while. Let it go, for now, and steer yourself into thinking or feeling about some different subject, for at least several minutes. If timing permits, it’s ideal to do this for up to three days.

Step away. Get out in nature alone, even when it’s cold or cloudy. Sit in it, hear it, smell it and see it. Pay attention to nature all around you, up and down, above and below you. (This works in the streets of big cities too although not as powerfully, so nearby parks are a plus, the less city-like the better.) This makes room for the inner messages that come from our feelings and intuitions, and the outer messages we get from our five senses.

Like trying to remember a word that’s on the tip of your tongue, you have to stop trying to remember it. You are going into the wrong file drawers in your mind, which blocks you from relaxing into the right file drawer where suddenly the word just pops into your mind in the midst of some completely different conversation.

Turning away from a problem allows the subconscious mind with its far greater resources to approach the problem from new directions. If we persist in trying the ingrained approach we are stuck in and can’t see beyond, it will just take longer to get to a solution, making us miserable and less effective in everything else we do in the meantime.

Try this approach next time you have a boulder to move. It works for me.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-06-09 12:17:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

How a Subtle Shift Can Be Useful

Originally posted May 5, 2015latest Great Being post

The peachy-purple-gold sunset reflects with pink iridescence on the wet sand where the sea recedes from its last sally onto the beach. Soundlessly a squadron of hunting pelicans glides past my writing hand. These two-day escapes to the seashore reinvigorate my excitement at life.

beautiful sunset on the beach

Simply clearing the decks of our mind and its latest obsessions, stepping back as the Observer and seeing the richness there is to be observed around us, we can attain peace anywhere.

When I was very young, somehow I became inspired by the notion that a slight shift in the way I look at things could have enormous effect. Now decades later, the number of times I have applied this principle must be in the millions, firmly installing it in my neurons, making it second nature for me to shift my point of view.

What I’ve learned

The thinking part of the mind and the feeling part both represent potential obstacles of different kinds.

The feelings do not want nor seek solutions. Specialized in expressing themselves, the feelings therefore wish to simply find more and better, increasingly dramatic, ways of expressing whatever they are feeling at the moment, kind of an inertial momentum (i.e. an object in motion tends to remain in motion kind of thing).

Reasoning with the feelings, using thinking to change unwanted feelings, is not inherently a strong strategy. Telling oneself to feel joy, and that happiness is a choice, so go ahead and make that choice, be strong, be positive — this sometimes worked for me, because I liked the idea of being indomitable and of not allowing anything to have power over me or my mood. At other times some part of me is clearly relishing wallowing in sulking, rage, guilt, anxiety, or whatever, as if a part of me is coming from a separate reality and visiting here on a trip specifically for the experience of such an operatic-size dramatic expression of emotion.

The strategy that works best for me is more intuitive, neither straight thinking nor straight feeling. It is through the intuition that we can make a creative and altogether indiscernible slight shift in the way we look at things, which will both fill us with the happy anticipation of effecting positive change, and enlighten us with light cast in from a new angle to reveal amazing insights.

Engaging the intuition this way has first a positive impact on hope and secondly a positive impact on curiosity. I find myself looking around in my mind for the perspective that will create the shift. I start from the assumption that my thinking mind accepts: there will always be an angle on the situation that will bring relief. So far, that prediction has always come true.

Finding that mental switch inside that leads to this subtle shift in feelings may not be so easy the first time you try it. Keep practicing.

Wishing you all a strong and agile new mind muscle, giving you the ability to seek and grasp the hidden gearshift to indomitable happiness.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers called “In Terms of ROI“. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-05-05 07:50:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter