Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Search Results for: “games

Why Do Personal Games Work?

Danzo08 ico_ol_3So, building on the shift I identified in my randomness post, I’ve been thinking a lot about lightness of touch. I’m contrasting this against the heavy-handed ‘mental edict’ approach of thinking that I can affect change in my consistent, persistent behaviours by instructing myself to do so.

It really brought me back to what my coach, Alison Down, highlighted when we first started to work together. That I had to start feeling instead of thinking. That I had to trust my gut rather than analysing and planning.

Even before starting to read Fooled by Randomness I had started to question what was obvious to me as an internal lack of commitment to top-down (brain-first) change. I recognised the cycle that I tend to enter of creating a structure to achieve what I want. I then try and apply the new routine. And then it fails. Invariably however I have noticed that some elements of the desired change have stuck. This tends to be the reason why I have continued trying:

  1. Because some things do stick
  2. I learn a lot during the analysis and creation of the structure to achieve what I want

Also invariably, I endeavour to create tools as part of this top-down process. Checklists or time tables to ensure my compliance.

What I’m now starting to question is whether these are something that I should avoid dismissing as being part of a top-down approach that will invariably fail. Jim Estill’s CEO blog post led me to NSC Blog by Nathan Collier and a post on Making it a Game. Both of which talk about how the simple things are the things which can harness change, or help you to make a change. They reminded me of Allen’s point at the start of Getting Things Done about the way in which we leave things by the front door to remember them the next day. The point being that the mind seems to work in simple ways.

So what does this mean for me? Well I’m going to see how relaxing the pressure on myself to change/ improve has an impact. How the use of games or scores/ scorecards can simply prompt me to incrementally achieve. Watch this space….  

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Nudge Yourself To Change

Back to the game playing idea, I read an interesting article in the Times loosely based around Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s book Nudge.

Thaler and Sunstein ‘demonstrate how thoughtful “choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice’. They suggest how accepting our ‘peopleness’ and suggesting rather than telling will lead to greater success in change.

They show that by knowing how people think, ‘we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society’

Read more…

Plasticity, Mind Power and the Human Brain

My approach to learning and development has materially changed over the last three years. I used to view myself on a gradual decline since the peak of degrees and professional qualification learning in my early 20’s. I accepted the ‘more brain cells die than grow when you’ve hit adulthood’ type of argument. I also used to think of new behaviours/ skills and knowledge as being left-brain learned and retained in memory. That the majority of permanent, hard-wired change had taken place during early development.

Plasticity has changed all that. It is defined by the excellent Franklin Institute resource on The Human Brain as ‘the tendency of the brain to shape itself according to experience… plasticity is the basic mental drive that networks your brain, giving you cognition and memory – fluidity, versatility, and adaptability’. Many neuroscientists now believe that the brain changes at a structural level when you learn new skills or have experiences that are sufficiently new that they need you to store the memory differently. Effectively, the density of the connections and pathways in your brain increases; your brain isn’t slowly dieing if you keep it stimulated.

Can you apply the theory of plasticity to changing behaviours, habits and ways of thinking? So, harness the power of your mind and its plastic properties to be a ‘different you’? I think the answer is yes, as long as the fundamentals of focus, consistency, persistency and action are applied. What do I mean? Read more…

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