Building mental wealth is critical to long-term well-being, mental health and intelligent productivity.


Mental wealth is a powerful combination of growth mindset, mental fortitude and abundance mentality. With consistent action, awareness and focus you'll begin building a solid foundation of mental wealth. It is important to develop skills that maintain its steady growth, because your life, and those dependent on your purposeful actions and courageous leadership, depend on it.


"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 Lively Listening


Important because: Listening is arguably one of the most important skills with respect to building mental wealth because it offers a powerful base to launch off. By developing aptitude in active and lively listening, growing acute awareness of our immediate surroundings is inevitable. Ideally our environment, both external and internal, must collaborate so that the context of meaningful conversations, what you're thinking and saying, is in agreement. Antagonism here often disrupts conversational flow because our inner voice and outer voice are conflicted. Of course, depending on the depth of relationship between you and whom your conversation partner is, varying levels of formality are expected. What's key is genuineness, because people nowadays can spot a 'fake' a mile away. Being respectful and saying what you're thinking is a nuanced skill in itself. By practicing lively listening in real-time and by being fully present, mutual respect, and most importantly, trust, is built. 'Active listening is all about building rapport, understanding, and trust.' [1] Remember communication is a two-way exchange.


Solution: 'Next time you meet someone, take a moment to check what colour their eyes are. Why? The reason is that the two seconds it takes to do this allows time for you to really look into the other person's eyes. By checking to see what colour their eyes

are, you've focused purely on them. They will sense this. They will automatically feel your focus and attention' [2]


• Can you remember the eye colour of the last person you chatted with? If you're speaking with and listening to one person, briefly check what colour their eyes are.


• If you're contributing to a group discussion, focus on one person per idea so that they feel listened to and not simply a number in a crowd. For example, if you're addressing a question on a specific topic.


• Clarify comprehension: For example, say: "So that I'm fully understanding you, what you're saying is ........ Is that right?"


• Be generous in using open-ended questions to encourage others to speak freely. Once they do, make sure you're genuinely curious about what they're saying. We can certainly learn more if we are willing to truly listen to others. Absorb this rich source of information and once you pause for thought ask yourself "why are they saying this right now?"


"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said" - Peter Drucker

• In preparation for improving lively listening skills for the long-term, listen deeply to yourself. ''It’s essential that you observe the tone you use in your internal dialogue. Adopt the type of tone that a loved one would use if they were reassuring you.' [3]



2 Lifelong Learning


Important because: You don't know what you don't know. This is logical right? 'By learning something new we build confidence because our understanding deepens' [4] and with deeper understanding comes greater competence. Once you commit to lifelong learning you become unbounded; with knowledge and wisdom (applied knowledge) you are creating your personal reality, whatever you choose to become now and into the future. Essentially, you can change your personality (personal reality), benefitting yourself and those you influence. Additionally you'll build strength and be more effective at processing information, which means your ability to acquire, and apply, new skills will improve. Your mental wealth will definitely grow because your span of control will widen, meaning you're less likely to feel incapable. Being skilful is empowering. You'll learn to lead yourself, in turn lead others and be of significant service to others and the wider community. It's a great thing.


Solution: Adopt a growth mindset so that you learn to become intrinsically motivated to learn for the sake of learning. To start to adopt a growth mindset when facing any problem, start saying "I don't know how to do this yet." Yet is the most important word here because humans have an ability to learn almost anything [5]


Read more! Pick up a book and start reading now. Set a timer for five minutes and practice reading non-stop without distraction. Focus on absorbing the words and key messages. Reading regularly helps your brain retain new knowledge. Surely that's worth five minutes a day?


• Choose a new hobby to learn. It can be absolutely anything. A few examples for you: Skateboarding, Gardening, Cooking, Jogging, Investing, Volunteering, Writing, Dancing, Languages, Meditation etc. Most importantly, start, and make sure you apply a growth mindset because you will get better with practice. (A list of 50 hobbies for more inspiration HERE)


• Get a mentor or coach. Specifically one that has deep experience and measurable results in the area you want to learn. You'll save valuable time and energy because being mentored or coached enables a direct approach to learning compared to being self-taught. There are benefits to teaching yourself new skills, although it could be a wiser choice to seek expert guidance, especially in the early stages.


“Research shows that you begin learning in the womb and go right on learning until the moment you pass on. Your brain has a capacity for learning that is virtually limitless, which makes every human a potential genius.” – Michael J. Gelb


3 Consistent Creativity


Important because: Practicing consistent creativity shifts our thinking and behaviours from consuming to creating. The benefits of developing this valuable skill are two-fold in helping develop mental wealth; first, a consistently creative mindset adds value because instead of depleting value by using it, you're creating it for others to use. Second, creativity reduces stress, anxiety and depression. 'The average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day. A creative act such as crafting can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. Even just gardening or sewing releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant'.[6] Instead of sporadic creativity what's most important is consistency because over time, with a disciplined approach, you'll gain refined skills in your chosen creative pursuit. Purposeful productivity is intelligent creativity and is fun too, you're more likely to repeat enjoyable habits because they're fun. An associated benefit is increased mental and physiological energy.


Solution: Take a hot shower,'the absolute isolation of our morning shower makes an excellent incubator for ideas.'[7]

• Make sure you write down your fresh ideas as soon as you think of them, this way you're more likely to execute on them because you've shifted them into a state of reality instead of just a passing thought.


• Schedule regular day-dreaming sessions into your busy day. 'When the researchers compared the results, they found that the participants who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability and had "more efficient" brain systems as measured by the MRI, compared with those who said they daydreamed less often and had "less efficient" brains' [8]




"The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways" - Robert Greene

In summary three important skills to develop mental wealth are lively listening, lifelong learning and consistent creativity. Honing these skills takes time although the desired results will certainly be worth your patience. Have fun practising the suggested solutions including momentary eye-contact, regular reading and taking a hot showers and you'll be closer to being mentally wealthy for the long-term.


Written by Adam Bowcutt Author of Confide & Work is Mental


If you're interested to learn more please go ahead and visit adambowcutt.com.au or Xnforce.com


Feel free to also read: 3 Ways to Build Mental Wealth



[Sources & References]

[1] Psych Central: Become a Better Listener By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

[2] Confide: the new psychology of confidence: how to power up after experiencing depression by Adam Bowcutt. Xlibris Publishing

[3] Psychology Today, The Power of Your Internal Dialogue by Jill P. Weber Ph.D.

[4] Rebuild Stronger Confidence and Increase Energy by Author Adam Bowcutt

[5] Confide: the new psychology of confidence: how to power up after experiencing depression by Adam Bowcutt. Xlibris Publishing p.77

[6] Forbes: Here's How Creativity Actually Improves Your Health by Ashley Stahl

[7] Fast Company: 7 Surprising Facts About Creativity, According To Science by John Paul Titlow

[8] Live Science: Do You Daydream? You May Be Smarter and More Creative Than Your Peers by Samantha Mathewson






  • Adam Bowcutt

What is mental wealth & why is it important to build?


Mental wealth is a powerful combination of growth mindset, mental fortitude and abundance mentality. Did you know that 95% of our recurring thoughts are subconscious and 5% are conscious? Think about that for a moment. Whenever we hear the word wealth what normally springs to mind is financial. Wealth in the monetary sense is certainly important although what is arguably most important is Mental Wealth because it is the foundation that everything else is built upon.


"Your mindset matters. It affects everything - from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being". - Peter Diamandis

3 Ways to Build Mental Wealth


1 ACTION


Important because: taking action, 'moving your body and changing your physiology can have awesome effects on your mind and mindset, because it builds momentum' [1] Momentum is inextricably linked to motivation. A study based on psychological momentum theory found that 'only a small force of inspiration would be needed to ease the difficulty associated with initiating an academic task.' [2] It is important to be opportunistic in taking action, no matter how little inspiration you feel. Even if today you're not inspired at all, how about using the 5 second rule? [3] Simply count down from five seconds and immediately start your task before you reach zero. This way you'll be less inclined to procrastinate because your brain won't have time to ponder excuses. I use this to do the dreaded laundry which I hate doing! Like clockwork, it works every time. What's most effective is that the simple action of doing the laundry builds psychological momentum towards the next task, and so on. Taking action is definitely the first step towards building mental wealth.


Solution: Take any small step first, this is most critical. For example, taking immediate action and making your bed as soon as you wake up in the morning. This first task sets you up for the next action and task of the day by building momentum. Move your body-move obviously, voluntarily, energetically. Start small, for example:


• One-minute walk

• Five star jumps

• Ten minute swim

• Thirty second run


and... Action!


"Wealth flows from energy and ideas". William Feather

2 AWARENESS


Important because: awareness improves your ability to analyse and evaluate environments and scenarios. This helps to build mental wealth because all your senses are engaging in the present moment so that you can confidently navigate reality. You'll become adept at creating and fine-tuning important connections and relatedness between ideas and people. Essentially, observing your actions at a higher-level of thinking.


'Zen Buddhist monks show an extraordinary synchronization of brain waves known as gamma synchrony—a pattern increasingly associated with robust brain function and the synthesis of activity that we call the mind.' [4] This is possible due to many years of meditation practice. Like long-term dedication working out at the gym yields strong muscles, these master meditators grew measurably stronger in mental capacity, certainly resulting in heightened awareness. Zen Buddhist monks built abundant mental wealth.


In the past I was linear in my thinking and limited in my perspective, in that I would see problems in terms of their effects and consequences in the same day. I was egocentric and short-sighted in approach and awareness. Now, benefitting from focused time, reflection, life experiences and applying new knowledge, I am practicing exponential thinking and experiencing greater awareness. Instead of thinking in terms of days and weeks, I am now improving my awareness of the importance of thinking, meta-thinking (thinking about thinking) and projecting my thoughts into the future in say thirty-two, sixty-four and one-hundred and twenty-eight years time. This shifts my perspective so that my awareness and mental faculties are constantly being stretched.


Solution: Stop what you're doing right now and see if you can observe your thoughts. With practice you'll build greater awareness and your mental agility will be tested and in time, strengthened.


• Meditate for nine seconds by focusing only on your breathing:

  1. Inhale for three seconds

  2. Hold for three seconds

  3. Exhale for three seconds

For more awareness do less.

"I believe everyone should have a broad picture of how the universe operates and our place in it. It is a basic human desire. And it also puts our worries in perspective". Stephen Hawking

For beginner meditation awareness perhaps take a look at 1 Giant Mind App


3 FOCUS


Important because: increasing focus means you are allocating finite mental resources to specific goals, and by doing so, acuity of mind develops; you become mentally sharper. Effectiveness of brain function is less likely diluted because 'where focus goes, energy flows'. [5] Did you know that 'in the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body' [6] The human brain is an absolutely amazing and fascinating organ and processing machine, capable of seemingly immeasurable processing power. Once we focus on how its power is utilised, mental wealth is built upon a foundation that strengthens with sustained and intelligent focus. What is your current focus? Is it truly the best use of your mental fortitude?


Just a few years ago I'd incessantly divide my time between multiple projects and I really thought it was a good thing! In my mind getting lots done, in fact quite the opposite. By trying to do too many things at once I'd fail miserably at all, because I was diluting my focus. Learning from my mistake, dedicated to progress, and an obsession with improving my personal mental health, I realised how unsustainable my behaviour was. Continuing blindly, burnout would be imminent, and I definitely did not want to get clinical burnout and any irreparable physical and mental damage accompanying it. By practising how to focus, my productivity and output improved massively. Most importantly my focus was now on tasks that, once completed, resulted in genuinely nourishing my whole being. Instead of a human just doing I became a human being. It's important to make sure that whatever you decide to focus your invaluable time and energy on that it is congruent with your core values. If you don't, you may begin to harbour resentment for whomever set you the task, and believe me, self-hate is the most toxic and damaging of emotions that serves no-one. We all have choices, choose wisely and you'll build mental wealth.

Solution: Set up and start your days, weeks, months and years with the end in mind. Begin with who you want to become in the future and reverse-engineer backwards from that date. Of course, flexibility is key, although most important is your specific choice of focus.


• Focus on tasks that yield the best results connected to your values.


For example: If two of your values are fitness and consistency, after making your bed in the morning put your workout shoes on (that you've set down by your bed the previous night ) and go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


• Follow One Course Until Successful (F.O.C.U.S) Once you dedicate your focused energy, with respect to your values, it's highly likely you'll be successful in your endeavours because instead of diluting energy you are concentrating it towards a specific end goal.


"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively." - Bob Marley

If you need help identifying core values here is a List of Core Values [7]

Adam Bowcutt



With a powerful collaboration between action, awareness and focus you will certainly begin to build mental wealth and the strongest foundations of growth, fortitude and abundance. With great respect to building long-term authentic confidence, mental health and ultimately higher level skills to navigate reality now and into the future.


If you'd like to learn more about what we do please visit www.xnforce.com or www.adambowcutt.com.au


Adam Bowcutt

Author

::: CONFIDE Collective :::




Glossary:

Growth Mindset Embracing challenges and learns from criticism

Mental Fortitude Emotional and mental strength despite adversity

Abundance Mentality Recognizing unlimited possibilities (opposite to scarcity mentality)


[Sources]

[1] Confide : the new psychology of confidence : how to power up after experiencing depression / Bowcutt, Adam, Xlibris

[2] Psychological Momentum and Inertia: Toward a Model of Academic Motivation

[3] The Five Elements of the Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins

[4] Zen Gamma, Scientific American

[5] Robbins Research International Inc. by Tony Robbins

[6] Appraising the brain's energy budget, PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America

[7] Core values list by Carnegie Mellon University


Updated: Sep 13


Pomodoro Technique Vs. Deep Work


If you use a hammer to cut a piece of wood it'll unlikely be effective. Which tools we use ultimately depend on the task at hand, and most importantly your unique individual goals. The level of skill you have with a specific tool needs factoring in too.


Essentially, the Pomodoro technique or deep work are tools and methods, if used correctly and purposefully, will make sure you get things done. Why would we choose specific tools? Mainly for efficiency and effectiveness because it boils down to time-sensitivity. We all have twenty-four hours every day. What we choose to do with this time is up to us. What will you do with your time and have you been as effective you can be? We all have unlimited potential and how we tap into this is definitely important.


What will you do with your time and have you been as effective you can be?

Ok, so what is 'The Pomodoro Technique' and why did you see an image of tomatoes?


It's a time-management method and prioritising tool helping to keep you on-track with specific tasks. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980's The Pomodoro Technique advocates working in set intervals based on a tomato kitchen timer, hence 'pomodoro' which tomato in Italian.


There are four main steps:


  1. Set timer for 25 minutes one Pomodoro

  2. Focus 100% on the specific task at hand

  3. Once the timer rings take a short break 5 minutes

  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for four Pomodoro's

  5. Once you've completed 4 rounds of 25 minutes (Pomodoro's) take a longer break 15 minutes then restart the process from step 1

Using the Pomodoro Technique is important because doing so:


• Enables you short bursts of intense focus

• Allows you to work on specific short-term goals

• Ensures resting and refreshing to allow processing of knowledge


Conversely, what is 'Deep Work' ?


It's a method of time-sensitive working that emphasises how critical energy and focus is about choosing high-leverage tasks. Coined by Cal Newport Deep work is a way to divide your finite resources to yield the best results. It's said that distraction is the enemy of productivity and so with deep work distraction is purposefully omitted.


Using the Deep Work method is important because doing so:


• Almost eliminates distraction

• Enables focus on high-leverage activities

Ensures effective use of high energy


Deep work suits entrepreneurs and remote-working because it promotes value-creating activities within a chosen environment. The Pomodoro Technique is good for students learning anything new or completing course work.


Did you know? 'a study by the University of Sussex found that constantly trying to multitask damages your brain. Furthermore, trying to multitask can effectively reduce productivity by 40% while increasing your stress levels' - Source

I used to use my iPhone as timer for The Pomodoro Technique for completing coursework although I didn't stick to the timing because I'd hastily procrastinate on social media via the digital 'timer'. I found a fix by getting a mechanical tomato kitchen timer, works a treat! The metallic ringing sound of the bell certainly gives a powerful burst of non-digital music to those procrastinating ears! It serves to break the algorithmic dopamine hits injected by social media induced addiction.


Ok, so how can we use these tools for powerful productivity? If you're a student then it's more likely you'll opt for the Pomodoro Technique. Are you an entrepreneur or remote-worker? Perhaps Deep Work for you. Having said this, life changes and we must adapt so an entrepreneur will need to learn something new or a student will need to create value in some way. Choosing the right tool for your needs is important here; use a hammer for a nail, but do your best to not view everything as a nail! Discernment is key.


What specific solutions will help you to refine your skills in using your chosen tools?


Pomodoro Technique:


• Use a mechanical timer - connect with your physical environment

• Be strict with intervals and rest periods - to the second!

• Turn your phone off - no social media or pinging notifications

• Put headphones on with music, or not


Deep Work:


• Schedule in allocated blocks of time for deep work

• Prepare your immediate environment so it's conducive to calm and focused deep work

• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated

• Meditate before starting

• Think deeply, openly and creatively with non-attachment to the outcome

• Ask a colleague to keep you accountable



For both tools you can use the If-When-Then method to trigger better habits such as:


If I have a cup of coffee in the morning when I'm waking up then start the timer for the first sip. Or, If I start thinking about mundane admin task when I'm doing deep work then take three deep breaths to reset your thinking back to creative thoughts.


If you're constantly distracted mentally or physically for whatever reason - when life happens, then perhaps book an AirBnB for a day or two and lock yourself away from the world so that all distractions are gone. You'll be amazed how powerful productivity can be.


In addition, it's my duty as a citizen of the World to share awareness of use of language such as 'versus' because two seemingly opposing ideas juxtaposed, as I have done here, doesn't mean that one is better than the other, like humans for humanity we are equal. No one is better than the other. I like to promote the idea of AND because you can hold an opposing view, idea, or opinion AND respect the other person or perspective. It's a choice. The Pomodoro Technique AND Deep Work are both of value depending on your end goal. What is your end goal?


“Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” - Cal Newport

Final thoughts and suggestions are to ask a super-challenging question to yourself, then take three deep breaths, choose a tool to practice using and get to building your life's work, now! You'll be surprised at the power of your brain and mind. Do it.


You have a choice of how to spend your limited time on Earth, choose wisely because daily choices and habits influence our mental health more than we may realise.


Bonus suggestion: Practice collaborative deep work because it doesn't all have to be a solo effort.


Please feel free to let us know how you go.


Adam Bowcutt

Author


::: CONFIDE Collective :::





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