Success and Your Brain: 4 Keys to Better Thinking

Success in business has a lot to do with your brain, but not in the way you may think.

Contrary to popular belief, high achievement has very little to do with IQ, or your financial resources, knowing the right people or even luck. I see this in many professions. Success comes in different shapes and sizes. It probably has more to do with attitude and ability to bounce back.

History is full of examples: Auguste Rodin, the great French sculptor, came from a poor family and was rejected from art school three times. Despite these setbacks, he bounced back using each failure and disappointment to fuel his talents and passions. It was his ability to keep on trying that enabled his eventual success.

Resilience and motivation are two critical abilities that highly successful people strengthen through repeated practice. In their book The Winner’s Brain, authors Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske write about the brains of successful people.

Their brains “light up” differently and work more efficiently than others because they’ve developed resilience and the ability to tap into focused motivation. I wrote about this last week, here: Resilience Training for Executives, Teams and US Army Soldiers. And here: Executive Resilience: How Do You React to Failure?

What else do you think you’ll need to build up resilience and motivation? Research shows several things. Here are the four strengths of what can be called “winners’ brains:”

  • Focus: Winners’ brains are adept at tuning out distractions and choosing the best way to focus on a task to achieve a desired outcome.
  • Energy: Winners’ brains learn how to maintain a bottomless supply of effort.
  • Persistence: Winners’ brains have learned to persist longer than average ones.
  • Practice: Winners’ brains adapt in exceptional ways over time, harnessing neuroplasticity to create new strengths through deliberate practice.

These are four things anyone can work on to make your brain more resilient to the ups and downs of business. These issues come up frequently when I’m discussing barriers to success with clients. It’s one of the things coaching is good for: working on identifying the barriers and finding new ways to practice strengths.

Can you think of a time in your life when you used your resilience to focus, persevere and achieve success? How have you used your inner drive and motivation to find the energy you needed just at the right time? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment.

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