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Vision 30

Career Coaching for Young Professionals

Prime Your Mind

 

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You might say I am on a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell kick.  In the past week I’ve finished two out of his three books.

Yesterday I started listening to his third book: Blink

In Blink, Gladwell talks about the significance of a concept called Priming.  Check out these two excerpts:

“Two Dutch researchers did a study in which they had groups of students answer forty-two fairly demanding questions from the board game Trivial Pursuit.  Half were asked to take five minutes beforehand to think about what it would mean to be a professor and write down everything that came to mind.  Those students got 55.6 percent of the questions right.  The other half of the students were asked to first sit and think about soccer hooligans.  They ended up getting 42.6 percent of the Trivial Pursuit questions right.  The “professor” group didn’t know more than the “soccer hooligan” group.  They weren’t smarter or more focused or more serious.  They were simply in a “smart” frame of mind, and clearly, associating themselves with the idea of something smart, like a professor, made it a lot easier – in that stressful instant after a trivia question was asked—to blurt out the right answer.  The difference between 55.6 and 42.6 percent, it should be pointed out, is enormous.  That can be the difference between passing and failing.”

“The psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson created an even more extreme version of this test, using black college students and twenty questions taken from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the standardized test used for entry into graduate school.  When the students were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire, that simple aft was sufficient to prime them with all the negative stereotypes associated with African-Americans and academic achievement—the number of items they got right was cut in half.”

In both situations the results were impacted by things that influenced the thoughts or mindset of the individuals.  They didn’t even know it.

Isn’t this kind of scary?

What this tells me is MINDSET IMPACTS RESULTS, and we can do things that impact our mindset.  We can prime our mind!

Prime Your Mind - Vision30This message probably isn’t anything new to you.  Between playing sports and my educational and professional experiences, this has been something that has been pounded in my head.  Perhaps you can relate.  The challenge I have is, if this message is so often communicated, why isn’t it used more?

Consider Gallup polls that show that 70% of our US workforce are disengaged in their positions.

Let’s think about this for a moment.  What is the mindset of someone who is disengaged?  If “mindset impacts results“, what kind of results are these employees getting for the organizations they work for?  How does this impact the rest of their lives?

What are these people doing to Prime their Minds?

Prime Your Mind

Think about the power you have to impact the results you are getting.  Consider all the things you can do to prime your mind and set you up for success?  What if you were intentional about the things you surround yourself with and pay attention to?

How would that impact each day?

How would that impact your life?

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How primed will you be by 30?

 

Fix Your Broken Windows

 

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Within the past day or two, I’ve finished the audiobook: Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.  Tipping Point is a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does.  If you haven’t read this book, I highly encourage you do, as well as his other two books: Outliers and Blink.

In Tipping Point, Gladwell talks about the “Broken Window Theory” as he shares a story about why the crime rate in New York City dramatically changed in the mid 1990′s.

There was a major crime problem on the subways in New York City.  The subway cars were covered in graffiti, they were dirty, and everyday commuters Fix Your Broken Windows - Vision30were getting hassled on a regular basis by panhandlers, bums, and homeless people.  Long story short, over the course of 6-10 years, they removed all the graffiti from cars, put the resources in place to ensure the cars stayed clean, and they stopped the harassment by the panhandlers, bums, and homeless people.  They quickly started to see the crime rate decline.  Gladwell’s explanation is the “Broken Window Theory

Broken Window Theory

Wikipedia states:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

What this says to me is an environment creates a culture that influences attitudes and behaviors and continues to attract like attitudes and behaviors.  Because it appeared that no one cared for or respected the subway cars it attracted careless and disrespectful attitudes and behaviors.  When they intentionally changed the environment the culture started to change.  As the culture changed, so did the attitudes and behaviors it allowed and attracted.

Environment & Culture

Think for a moment about your personal environment and culture.  They can be the ones you live in or the ones that live in you!

  • Do you have any “Broken Windows”?
  • What kind of attitudes and behaviors are they inspiring?
  • What kind of attitudes and behaviors are they attracting?
  • What do you need to do to fix them?

Personal Leadership is knowing our external and internal environment and understanding how that affects our personal culture.  We must know when we have “Broken Windows” and we must fix them.

We know what will happen if we don’t!

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What attitudes and behaviors will you attract by 30?