Mental Fitness refers to our capacity to take on life's challenges with a positive mindset. To build our physical muscle, we go to the gym and we workout. Mental Fitness works the same way only we use a gym for our mind. We build new mental capacity. Physical strength builds muscle and endurance enabling us to climb mountains. Mental muscle gives us the capability to surpass our goals and to be happier doing it. The people around us will be happier too which helps to explain how mental fitness builds positive relationships.
" Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. “Once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy,” they think. Or, “Once I hit my sales target, I’ll feel great.” But because success is a moving target—as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again—the happiness that results from success is fleeting.
In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive." Shawn Achor, HBR, The Value of Happiness, January 2012
We all have a judge within. Often our judge uses the language of comparison. We are supposed to be a certain way (judging self), they should behave a certain way (judging others) or things should be a certain way (judging circumstances). Like his colleague Saboteurs, the Judge believes he is keeping us safe, he is diligent and alert. He will not allow reality to slip through the net and hurt us. When times are tough he protects our delicate egos, whispering things in our ear that help us feel better. Here is the irony. The judge keeps us from seeing what's real because he doesn't think we can handle it. Like a helicopter parent, he thinks he is helping by protecting us, in fact, he's keeping us from developing the skills we need to continue to grow.
Nine additional characters round out the team. Each of us has at least one or two prominent in our lives. When they are behaving the saboteurs are actually performing tremendous service for us. It is only when they get out-of-balance that they shift to Saboteur mode. When they are under control they are amazing; it's about learning to identify when they begin to take over. An example is the Hyper- Achiever. Achievers are fabulous, they are goal focused, they are the movers and shakers, they get stuff done. HYPER-Achievers, on the other hand, are so goal focused that nothing is ever good enough. This can be really challenging on relationships and teams.
Within each of us there is tremendous knowledge and wisdom. The techniques learned through Positive Intelligence create an access point. No magic, it simply means learning to pay attention without judgement. Once we learn to do this, to look at ourselves, others and situations objectively we create an opening for new thinking, for options. We learn to develop empathy for ourselves and for others. We replace judgment with curiosity. We learn to act from a place of love versus fear.
As human beings we share one main purpose, to ensure the survival of our species. We rely on the primitive part of our brain to keep us safe. This is our 'reaction' brain, it is crazy fast; when we use this part of the brain we are in 'high-reactivity mode'. We are alerted to danger and take action. In times when we need to make quick decisions, we're fortunate to have this trait. Many times, however, we would benefit by taking a quick pause (amazingly, 3 to 5 seconds is often all we need to shift)! Positive Intelligence allows us to CHOOSE how we want to respond. This is powerful!
Much of human behavior dates back to prehistoric times. When the dinosaurs roamed the earth, life was quite treacherous. Our brains developed in a way that alerted us to danger. The result is that we have been trained to see the negative often to the detriment of the positive. This is known as negativity bias. Although the dinosaurs are long gone, the bias stays with us and often manifests as what we refer to as Saboteurs (some call them inner critics.) Using Positive Intelligence we develop a positivity bias. We learn to see the beauty and the possibilities, the options. Where once there were only closed doors and feelings of 'no choice' we now are able to see and/or create new pathways.
There is another part of our brain; the middle prefrontal cortex, our empathy circuitry and our right brain comprise this area. This is the area that mental fitness develops (literally). The greater our muscle the easier it is for us to shift to this other part of the brain and into 'non-reactive' mode. In this 'space' we are able to pause and reflect and then respond. We are able to empathize, to access our intuition and our creativity. As the muscle grows, we gain access to much deeper capability.
For detailed information about the research and science supporting mental fitness, refer to the appendix of Positive Intelligence, 2016 Greenleaf Book Group Press.
Classes are 6 weeks. One hour virtual meetings are held once a week. Participants watch a weekly video and complete 3 to 5 minute mental fitness exercises 3 times daily through the Positive Intelligence App.
Cost per individual is $1000.