In this training
We’re going to learn what optimism really means and what the world’s leading researchers teach about the science of optimal human performance. We’re going to learn what science reveals about how the brain responds when under pressure.
- Optimism is the belief that good things will happen
- A Dynamic person uses “fact checking” to assess their predominant thinking about a given challenge
- The Zen Meditation Study
I am really excited to start you on this journey and I hope to add a lot of value to your life as a whole.
Nutrition is remarkable in its ability to have people with completely opposite views saying they have science to support completely opposite views.
Frustrating isn’t it? What are we suppose to believe?
Welcome to Dynamism Biohack, my name is Dr. Matt Hammett Wellness & Nutrition Expert, Lifestyle Trainer and Movement Enthusiast. In each week I’m going share with you how to make the right nutritious choices despite conflicting expert opinions where I help you to discover how to unlock your inner aborigine or your inner greatness. Thank you for spending this time with me today, so let’s get into the training.
OPTIMISM IS THE BELIEF THAT GOOD THINGS will happen. Negative events are only temporary and local. Most importantly, optimistic people understand that their behavior matters in the face of a challenge.
They are Dynamic people using their conscious choice. Pessimism is the belief that adverse events are permanent and pervasive. Pessimists believe that behaviors do not matter in creating a positive outcome. They are prone to use the cliché phrase, “it is genetic” in most situations. They have Caged people trapped behind the bars of their making.
Choice optimism, however, is rational optimism; it is taking a realistic assessment of the present moment while maintaining a positive outlook and the belief that we can triumph over any challenge.
And that leads us to Dynamism Biohack: The Moment You Own It.
An example of this comes from my life while I was in post-graduate school. I became friends with an exchange student from South Korea, who was shy and nervous around girls. He had little self-confidence and one day I asked him why. After he had pointed to a few pimples on his face, his answer was that he was ugly.
Now, my friend was a vegetarian with lean muscle; I am certain he was not ugly. For him, he was so focused on the negativity of his Caged version of himself that he energetically radiated negativity; thus, low energy to most people who met him. One day he commented about a girl he liked, but she always seemed nervous, moving away so quickly that my friend took it personally. I gave him a quick lesson in rational optimism and suggested that maybe she, too, was nervous. I suggested, “Change the approach and view yourself as a handsome, lean man who is expressing interest in making a new friend.”
I then told him to act it out in front of a mirror, or even videotape himself acting as he was rehearsing for a play, paying attention to the descriptions in the muscles of his face, the wrinkles, the brightness of his eyes, the various expressions he wanted to display, etc. Long story short, he got the girl! It is always fantastic what a dose of choice optimism can do in the face of any challenge.
In the above example with my South Korean friend, I illustrated a story about choice optimism. I asked him a question that turned everything around. Did you catch that? I used what psychologist call, “fact checking.”
To cultivate rational optimism, a Dynamic person uses “fact checking” to assess their predominant thinking about a given challenge. Michelle Gielan walks us through an example of “fact checking” in her book, Broadcasting Happiness.
As a journalist and a broadcaster for CBS, fact checking was something important while developing a story. Her intake on this concept comes from her career at CBS. She teaches us “not to ignore any negative thoughts or challenges, but hold them up to some fact checking.”6 Just as I did with my South Korean friend, she suggests walking through a process, which includes isolating a stressful thought, listing the facts known, then listing what she calls “fuelling facts” that illuminate a new story. The idea of “fuelling facts” is simply a reinterpretation that provides fuel and igniting personal power, rather than fleeting to a diminishing power.
In the case of my South Korean friend, he acknowledged that he is “holding is head low,” and I gave him instructions both in how to move his body and focus his thoughts. A bit of rehearsal and a video camera later, my depressed low self-esteem friend became Will Smith, the relationship expert.
By adding fuel facts to the story, but not ignoring reality, I created a choice optimism experience for my friend in which the challenges fuelled his growth and made him stronger.
Nassim Taleb tells us that the “wind extinguishes a candle and fuels a fire.” Interestingly enough, I was totally unaware of positive psychology at the time; I only was providing social support for my friend and wanted to see him succeed and become happier in life. I think that is the gist of our story in the Cope driver.
That is, we innately know what to do as humans. When we are involved with one another in a community, we help each other, and we grow together. In fact, we cannot be healthy as a human without each other. How about you?
THE MOMENT YOU OWN IT
Novel research performed “in my backyard” at the famed University of Chicago by Professor Sian Beilock, one of the world’s leading researchers studying the science of optimal human performance, reveals the science about how the brain responds when under pressure.
Her lab is so cool; it is called the Human Performance Lab. She is famous for studying professional athletes and others who seem to choke under pressure. I thought her research could help us along our journey together, because being a father of four, I am aware of how easy it is to choke under the pressure of, well, being a dad.
For example, research shows that when they ice a kicker during a football game, it increases the likelihood of choking. It is our perception of the stress we are dealing with, which causes us to choke under pressure. There is a real science behind what is going on when we worry, and how it affects us differently, whether we are at home dealing with what food to make, at the grocery store choosing foods to buy, or under the stress of an exam at school.
Let me give you an example of choking under pressure. While taking an exam, you will need all the cognitive resources; you need an active working memory. When you worry, you take those resources away and have a hard time solving complex problems.
The result: you choke.
The same phenomenon happens with athletes. When we allow worry to “seep into our brains, we tend to bring too much thought into what should be a thoughtless activity. Rather than let our bodies do what we have trained them to do, we attempt to control our behaviors, and our once fluid, expert motions become rigid”.
The great news is that by training our minds not to focus on negative thoughts, we can mold and carve new neural pathways to discard the negative thoughts under pressure. As a result, we do not choke under pressure.
The Zen meditation study was a scientific study which proved that intense meditation strategy reduces the elaborative thinking and clears our mind from distractions. Discarding these thoughts is not the same as ignoring them, or suppressing them; that uses working memory. To discard them, you acknowledge them, name them, and let go of them.
A great exercise is to write them down in your journal and then not attach any more brainpower to it. The act of physically writing helps the brain let go, once you finish the sentence. Try it!
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