Dealing with Our Wandering Minds
“Your brain has a mind of its own,” says Dan Rockwell in Leadership Freak.
It wanders when you want to focus, forgets things you need to remember, has thoughts you’d rather not recall, can’t stop thinking of something you’d rather forget, and worries what others are thinking. “I tell my brain to stay open,” says Rockwell, “but I ignore myself.” His advice:
• Accept reality. “Forget the idea that there are two voices in your head. There’s a rowdy crowd in your head.” Kids, neighbors, spouse, teachers, parents, your boss, co-workers, the dog.
• Stop berating yourself. A flitting mind is simply reality. “The more you beat yourself down,” says Rockwell, “the more you think about beating yourself down.”
• Aspire without self-accusation. If time management is your issue, name it and work on improving without wallowing.
• Talk to yourself. If your inner critic says, You’re an idiot, say, There’s my inner critic. Do you have anything useful to add?
• Understand others. “We’re all in the same boat, even people we admire,” says Rockwell. “You don’t have to beat people down. They do it to themselves. Challenge and affirm. Correct with optimism.”
“Your Brain Has a Mind of Its Own: Brain Management Strategies” by Dan Rockwell in Leadership Freak, January 7, 2022; Rockwell can be reached at email@example.com.