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Change Your Brain and Your Behavior in Four Steps

I have a nickname for the anxious voice inside my head — I call it my “villain voice.” This overwhelmingly strong voice has been telling me to not smile at strangers or say something encouraging to a random person because if I did, I would be “that weird guy.” According to that voice, saying something to someone or smiling at them wouldn’t make any difference in their life.

Here’s the thing: this villain’s voice isn’t the type of person I am. I’m the type of person who smiles at strangers, talks to random people, and leads instead of follows. Since I’ve let my villain voice take over, I’ve become a shell of my former self.

This villain voice thing really hit me while on vacation in Cozumel when I discovered how my actions can actually impact another person.

I had overheard this mom and her teenage son arguing. Despite the fact that the mom had brought her son to an all-inclusive beachfront resort in the paradise of Cozumel, he was whining about being there. This wasn’t the first time I had seen them looking distressed during my trip, but (cue villain voice) who am I to do anything? This time, I told myself, if I saw the mom on her own, I would say something encouraging to her. Fortunately at breakfast the next morning, I was given my chance. I was nervous when I saw her, but I knew that I needed to say something, otherwise my villain voice would keep winning and I would remain regretful and discouraged from my decisions.

I approached her and said that I overheard her and her son talking and I thought she was a really good mom for bringing him on this nice vacation. Stunned, she just stood there and stared at me. I became nervous, thinking I had made a mistake and shouldn’t have said anything. Then her eyes began to well up. She tilted her head slightly and said thank you, and that if her arms weren’t full of plates, she would give me a hug. While she was saying this, her face had lit up and her mouth formed a big, genuine smile. I saw her again, later in the day, and she smiled again at me, thanking me so much for saying what I said earlier.

This got me thinking: who else’s life, including my own, have I short-changed because I was scared? What else am I missing out on? How long has this been going on?

If you’re like me, you’ve listened to this voice one too many times and unfortunately, that just makes it louder and stronger.

Hebb’s Law (in Neuroscience) states that neurons that fire together, wire together. Each time you listen to that voice, you’re creating a habit. The more you engage in this habit, the easier it is to do the next time — to the point where it’s so ingrained that we don’t even think about other potentially better options.

Whether you’re trying to be more productive or stop an anxious voice from overriding your daily decisions, there is a simple four-step solution that I use and it has completely changed the way I live my life. So much so that I created my PYSFI System™ around it, which has now been proven to be over 98% effective with over two thousand students who have tried it. Note: it requires not just your brain, but your brain and body together

Step 1: Identify the PROBLEM

The first step in behavior change is to identify the problem. I like to look at it from a warrior’s perspective and say “know what fight you’re in.” Why? Because you don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight and when we’re talking about battling the bad habits in our brain, it IS a fight for our lives.

Step 2: Activate your PHYSIOLOGY

If you’re low energy, lack focus and decisiveness, you (aka your brain) of course want to do what is easy, but what’s easy may not be what we NEED to do. Change your physiology by going for a walk, doing some push-ups, squats, jumping jacks (my favorite are my neuroscience jumping jacks) or even a full-blown workout (check out some 90-second workouts). Pushing yourself to move, even just for a minute or three, gives you the energy and motivation to tackle the next step.

Step 3: Change Your PSYCHOLOGY

Now that your body has changed, your brain has to change — it really doesn’t have a choice and neither does your villain voice. When our physiology changes, we cause a chemical (neurochemical to be exact) reaction inside of us that transforms how we feel from the inside out. Almost every cell in your body is affected and it’s the reason we might feel “high” after exercising, thanks to neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, adrenaline and endorphins. It’s like having a new brain!

Step 4: Enhance Your PERSPECTIVE

Now that your brain and body have changed, your perspective is different (my team has proven this with our PSYFI System™). Here’s the payoff for sticking with this: ask yourself the question of what you REALLY want to do. What does the best version of yourself, your awesome future self, really want to do? Another way to ask this question is to ask: what would I do today that I would thank myself for tomorrow?

At first, your villain voice may still be chattering away, but don’t be discouraged. There is no set amount of times to break a habit and one that has been habitually used over and over again for weeks, years, or decades is definitely going to take time. That means it’s up to you and your motivation.

I have good and bad news about this. The bad news: the villain voice will never truly go away. The good news: it will get much quieter as you trust yourself more and keep using this 4-step system.

I’d love to hear how you’re using this technique and what your villain voice has been telling you to do or not do — let me know in the comments below or by email

Have an awesome day!

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