Do you or does someone in your family (any age) struggle to revise in preparation for a test?
Whether it’s an academic exam or professional standards test, or some other measurement of knowledge and skill, here are a few things you should know about revision:
- Revising is not learning something new. It is the process of checking in with knowledge and information already installed inside the brain.
- By bringing information to the surface of awareness, it can be examined more closely, modified, and re-packaged for (short-term) easy recall.
- Stress states divert energy away from the brain and prepare the body to fight or flight. That massively disadvantages the brain’s ability to focus and sets up scattered attention. Strands of important information get attached to ‘unrelated’ information.
- Thrive states assist the brain’s ability to focus, embed knowledge in simple units of information that connect to other ‘related’ units of information.
- Brains quickly associate the activity of revising with associated states of brain chemistry.
- Your thoughts ‘about’ revising, can either help or hinder the quality of processes involved in revising.
- Thinking drives emotions (chemical signals) which motivate people to avoid something or move towards it. This movement generates behaviour.
Which of these statements are most true for you?
Being motivated by others is an important driver.
Self-generated desire is a powerful force.
Performance guarantees future success or failure.
Performance provides useful feedback to build upon.
The performance of others is an important benchmark.
Personal previous performance builds powerful feedback loops.
Getting clear about your personal thoughts, beliefs, and motivations will help you steer more elegant behaviours through times of revision. There are no right or wrong answers here as the world is full of examples of people who have both succeeded and failed tests and exams, yet gone on to live successful, happy, fulfilling lives.
The question on my mind is how can you help yourself or another person, learn how they are currently handling their magnificent learning machines? While making adjustments that enable greater flow towards a more desired future.
Speaking metaphorically and following the Star Wars (films) reference/ambiguity “May the 4th go with you…” Would you say your inner light-saber generally shines light and bright, or dull and dim?
And thinking about your shiniest days at work, do you know the critical factors that influence these? For example:
- Which thoughts are in your mind while you are a beacon of light at work?
- What emotions maintain your best flow state?
- How do others perceive your most vibrant behaviours?
Why should you care about this?
Well as you surely know, people talk avidly about the things that deplete them. Indeed, many an evening’s meal can centre around bitching and moaning about matters of work. And you know people get hooked into the dramas of (tradable) tales, bonding through intense emotions. That’s how, as social animals, we roll. But do remember you can choose to bond over positive emotions too!
That’s not to say it’s not helpful to express your frustrations of the day, just don’t stay there! Don’t train your brain to feel comfortable in that stress zone, it prepares your auto pilot to seek more of the same.
Be proactive about engaging emotional states that serve your growth. Look for the positives in your life and design more positive spirals. The message in the Star Wars films is about igniting inner power and using it to grow a better world. Make your contribution count for good.
Balance time spent expressing pissy niggles, with time spent expressing excitement, wonderment, and gratitude.
Pattern on purpose – your brain likes patterns, why not choose to practise the upward spiral? Deliberately run a sequence of emotions from grotty to glowing e.g., feeling ‘argh, pah, meh, mmm, ahh’.
Emotions are contagious – beware of passively absorbing other people’s S**t. Instead, proactively share your best positivity.
Experiment with your personal power to calibrate how your vibrancy influences professional effectiveness and note how those around you respond to your glow-state.
Curate your own shiny audit of the subtle qualities of your peak performance state? And practise. Build a shinier auto-pilot.
Mike explained that he had been getting angry with people at work.
As manager of a production team, he needed his people to follow instruction and deliver results. But it seemed people were not always doing what he asked of them, and his frustration was increasingly turning to anger.
I was called in by his manager who was all out of ideas for ‘managing Mike’s angry outbursts’.
I asked Mike for a recent example of getting angry with his team. He told me how he’d asked a member of staff to tidy up a workstation (ahead of an external inspection). He had said “please can you tidy up that station?” the staff member had said “yes”.
Mike returned the next day to see a station that – to him – looked no different. He had become furious.
Mike and I went through an NLP exercise to elicit his ‘core values’. These reveal things (often beneath the conscious radar) that are deeply important and drive auto-pilot behaviours.
Mike’s list included:
- Needing to feel understood
- Feeling connected to important people in his life
- Responsibility and trust that he got from work
Mike soon became aware that the drivers for his recent outburst of anger had come from this list. And by getting angry at someone else, he had disowned his role in the communication, and disempowered himself.
We discussed the limitations of that stress-inducing strategy as he discovered how, inside his mind, he had had a clear picture of the outcome he had wanted for that workstation. Using a time distortion NLP technique, he could access precisely what “tidy up the station” looked and sounded like – to him. And that inner goal made him feel he was doing a good job. Unfortunately, those distinctions had not been accurately transferred to anyone else through the words “please can you tidy up that station?”
We went on to develop some new strategies for Mike to experiment with and test – in the field – new ways of helping people to better understand him.
Mike’s coaching aims began with:
- Taking responsibility for transferring his inner-world goal to someone else.
- Learning which thoughts, words and actions increased his abilities to do this.
- Applying his mechanical application of continuous improvement (running a production line) – to himself.
Metaphor for Mike – Life is like a game of chess!
What if Mike thought of his management skills as being like those of the queen in a game of chess? The power player who gets to creatively, flow around all other players. Or did he want to return to managing his team like a pawn, limited moves with limited results?
Metaphor is based on one of essential epistemological presuppositions of NLP The Law of Requisite Variety which states that the part of the system (System’s Theory) with the most flexibility will be the catalytic element within the system – like the queen on a chess board.
Do you know Alexa, the virtual AI assistant (small electronic hub that talks to you) bringing lightning-fast connection between you and the internet? The protocol for this type of interaction is simple – YOU have to speak AI language, articulating precisely what you want, then you get instant results.
“Alexa, what is the time?”
“Alexa, play relaxing music”
“Alexa, what is the weather forecast for London, tomorrow?”
Does this level of word precision sound familiar?
Reminds me of our NLP work where we look at structures of communication and learn to use precise communication to get precise results. That clears up misunderstanding when ‘meaning’ can get distorted, confusing the message.
So, what happens when someone doesn’t speak AI and tries to communicate on their terms …
Angry Ally got mad with Alexa who repeated “I’m sorry, I don’t understand that.” Ally blamed Alexa’s lousy programming for not delivering the result he wanted, and the AI was swiftly dispatched to the bin.
Nice Nanna’s attempts of asking “Alexa please, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like you to play X” left her feeling depressed and useless because the receiver got confused with all those words and zoned out. Even “please would you stop playing that now, Alexa” got no result.
Because AI speaks in code and signals, following a programme and there are no routes for making assumptions or ‘trying’ to deliver.
Smart Sam was curious about which verbal requests worked best and soon found the precise results he wanted. By adapting to the receiver’s programme, he soon got to discover more benefits of this new relationship. That put him in firmly in charge.
Unfortunately, Ally refused to adapt and remained in battle mode on a mission to prove he was right, while Nanna felt a failure by the thought that she was wrong. Both stuck to their own kind of music, both making their own misery by rubbishing another or pitying self.
You see, when the language of engagement is precise, look out for lightning-fast results. Learn how to tune in to the language codes of your friends and colleagues and make life smoother, easier, and happier. Wait – you did know that we all speak through different codes, didn’t you? Of course, you know your kind of language for sure, but there’s always room for improvement …
Intern Jonty’s first day in Happy Brain HQ had gone well. He had quickly proven himself bright, communicative, polite, and capable of learning fast. And as he put his coat on to leave, he said to me “I hope I haven’t been too much of a drain on you today…”
“Woah, Jonty” I said, never missing an opportunity to shine a light on someone’s chance to feel happier, “what picture have you just painted inside my mind?”
“Huh?” His face was blank because of course, he knew nothing about NLP and how our thoughts are perceived as pictures and sounds. Nor did he know how words influence those pictures and sounds and therefore trigger feelings.
“Jonty, you’ve just asked me to consider whether or not you have drained me today … look, how did you feel when you said that?”
“Well, a little nervous to be honest.”
“And when you say to me ‘I hope I’ve been helpful today’ how does this feel?”
“Oh, quite good actually” he replied standing more upright.
“And by using these words, you see yourself having been useful?”
“Now isn’t that a nicer self-image? And don’t you now feel more motivated to come back?”
“Well for me too! Now I can go home thinking about you being helpful, which you were, and that helps me look forward to working with you again.”
Do you know how influencing your words can be?
Learn more about the power of words in our upcoming Happy Brain and NLP workshops and trainings – 2022 schedule being finalised (contact us if you’re interested).
Have you ever found yourself saying to a colleague, something like ‘please read this report’ when what you really want to say is, ‘just read the (damn) report!’
You added the ‘please’ because you’re trying to find that balance between politeness and authority, but it still sounds like a request when you’d rather it was an instruction.
Adding the word please certainly keeps you in the polite zone, but it may not succinctly influence the receiver or truly enhance the effectiveness of your communication.
So how can you remain polite while sounding more authoritative?
Here are three quick wins for maximising face-to-face influence:
- Breathing from the diaphragm instantly makes you sound more confident by lower your vocal pitch.
- Ensure each message ends in a commanding downward inflection
- Use clear, illustrative gestures that mimic the request
Combine these to stack the odds of your influence, in your favour. And add this gem which quite literally has you minding your Ps and Qs by replacing ‘could you please read this report’ with ‘could you read this report (pause) thank you’.
By adding a ‘thank you’ at the end of that request, you’ve already got them thinking about having completed the polite request! Saying ‘thank you’ is a mind trick that suggests to the listening ear, completion is a certainty.
Top tip! It’s a playground out there, have fun experimenting with these skills for more effective communication!