You can’t know what form of wealth you want until you know what you want.
Your brain is a whiz at certain things: recognizing simple patterns or generating emotional responses in nanoseconds but lags behind on other tasks: recognizing and evaluating long-term financial or business trends, recognizing when patterns are truly random, or focusing on many things at one time.
Psychologists and researchers have consistently proven that being positively energized (happy) leads to better performance, increased creativity, self-confidence, energy, and brainpower.
When your brain is feeling optimistic and energized, it will function far more effectively than when you are feeling negative or depressed.
Three of the more well-known neuromodulators are dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. Dopamine and serotonin, in particular, are known to be key neurotransmitters in the regulation of pleasure, happiness, rewarding situations, and mood. Acetylcholine in the brain has been shown to be important in shifting from sleep to wakefulness and helps in sustaining attention and forming memories, especially in the hippocampus.
What you think, do, and say matters—and that it affects who you become on the outside, on the inside, and in your brain.
If you routinely dwell on your past financial failures, unsuccessful ventures, lack of self-confidence, feelings of insecurity, and other negative patterns, the neurons involved in that particular mental activity will fire busily at the same time and automatically start wiring together as well. This process will add one more bit of neural structure to feeling uninspired, lazy, or inadequate.
Our anticipation circuitry forces us to pay attention to the possibility of incoming rewards, but also leads us to expect that our future will feel better than it actually does when it finally occurs, which creates an emotional vacuum and explains why money does not really buy happiness.
Your brain interprets the world through three basic patterns of thinking: automatic thoughts, assumptions, and core beliefs.
Mindfulness—focusing on what is happening in the present rather than what happened or might happen—is a useful tool for replacing negative automatic thoughts with more positive ones.
Core beliefs wire your brain to respond to new experiences in the same old way—and often it happens so quickly that you don’t question it—unless and until something goes terribly wrong in your life, or you have an experience that calls your core beliefs into question.
Optimists attribute good events to themselves in terms of permanence, citing their traits and abilities as the cause, and bad events as transient (using terms such as “sometime” or “lately” to describe negative events.)
Identifying problems, taking actions to correct them, and identifying the rewards that comes from the actions turns negatives into positives and engage your left prefrontal cortex (PFC), quieting the parts of your brain that heighten fear and negativity.
Loosen up on being judgmental—of yourself and others.
Success usually results from digging deep within yourself to identify what matters most to you, what you want to do with this precious life you have been given, and how much time and energy you are willing to invest to make your dreams come true.
Having a clear, well-defined intention adds tremendous heft to purpose, meaning, and motivation.
Emotions and motivation lead to intention and intention precedes action. Nothing happens without intention. All things are first created in the mind and then created in the environment.
The wealthiest people are those who know themselves and their values very well and who feel fulfilled in their work.
Bad news makes you hypersensitive to anything that even reminds you of risk, even if the risk is nonsensical or remote.
What you focus on becomes what your brain focuses on. You can train your brain to think creatively, expand, and grow, or you can train it to be focused on fear and avoiding risk, which is likely to lead to lost opportunities and stagnation.
To make smart financial decisions, you want to use your reflective brain to counteract emotional rushes to judgment incited by oversimplified instinctual responses.
Use these questions to engage your reflective brain:
Do I understand this type of business and its particular challenges and opportunities?
Would I want to own this type of business?
How does it measure up to other companies in its field?
How strong are its competitors?
What are its strengths… and its weaknesses?
Does it have opportunities for growth and expansion?
Are there negative business trends likely to affect this company?
Have I read and understood the financial statements, including what isn’t directly stated?
Are its goals and values in alignment with mine?
How much do I know about the CEO or financial manager?
The truth is that your brain simply cannot focus on more than one task at a time. When you ask it to do so, it doesn’t. it switches off between tasks.
Urgency Effect: paying a lot of attention to the most recent information, and discounting what came earlier. Your brain leans to overvaluing immediacy and quantity of thought more than quality of thought.
Learning to harness the idea of mindfulness—that is, living in the present moment—will help you filter out streams of thought in your brain that have nothing to do with the situation at hand and dedicate your brain space to the “here and now.”
Allow thoughts to come and go, without allowing your mind to latch onto one or the other and lapse into your usual obsessive or reactive tendencies.
Instead of experiencing events with an open mind, people tend to react to them in a habitual way of perceiving and responding, especially if a new event is similar to an event previously experienced. In other words, how you felt about the original event affects how you think about, experience, and react to similar events—or events that feel similar.
Surrender judgment. The goal in mindfulness meditation is to refrain from labeling thoughts, feelings, or sensations as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair, but only to take note of the reality of what is. A nonjudgmental attitude helps you objectively observe your though processes and emotions.
Surrender striving. Striving involves being focused on the need to get or be anywhere other than where you are. Mindfulness is all about being very much in the present. Right here, right now.
Living mindfully involves paying attention to everything that happens within your body and around you in the present moment—without judgment.
The point of meditation is not to stop you from having an emotional response to what’s happening in your life, but to avoid responding purely out of habit.
Know which activities energize and motivate your brain—and which activities put your brain to sleep or, even worse damage it.
Avoid toxic environments, whether it’s the people you hang out with or your workplace.