Are you allowing ‘defensive thinking’ to negatively impact your life? Today, we examine two kinds of defensive thinking, Brain Spin and Piñata Mind.
Brain Spin is when you are fixated on just one thought and your brain spins in circles over and over again. What makes Brain Spin defensive thinking is your thoughts are just spinning around and your brain is not working out solutions. Your brain is going too fast, creating anxiety and stress, as well as the inability to think clearly. It’s defensive because you are allowing your brain to happen to you. You are allowing outside influences and problems to have an impact on your ability to function because you are allowing that spin to happen.
Overcoming Brain Spin
How do you stop yourself from falling into the Brain Spin trap?
When you have Brain Spin, go on offense. It’s a simple process: just remember the word “spin.” There’s a little exercise you can do to stop the spin and get yourself back on even footing, where you can take control of your thoughts, go on offense, and come up with solutions instead of staying on defense with stress, anxiety and worry.
The “S” stands for “Stop.” “Stop” means you stop, acknowledge the Brain Spin is happening. Actively engage your brain in something, instead of allowing it to passively spin.
The “P” stands for “Process”. “Process” means you’re going to think about whatever it is your brain is spinning about, and you’re going to dissect a little bit and ask yourself the question, “Is this something I have any control over? Is this something where I might be able to step in and make some changes or take some action to alleviate whatever is causing this stress?” You process it and figure out what the problem is.
Then you have “I”, which stands for “Intervene.” If it is a legitimate problem and you have legitimate options to go on offense and solve it, then you can intervene. Take steps to put on paper what you’re solutions are going to be. How are you going to attack this problem? Decide what you are going to do instead of just letting that thought spin in your head. Start working on a productive solution.
On the other side of the same coin, if you determine that either, you have no control over it, or it’s not a legitimate problem, then you can say, “This is not something I have any power or control over and I just need to understand that so I don’t allow my mind to keep spinning in search of solutions that aren’t there.”
Finally, the “N” stands for “Next.” The next time this happens, you need to know what you will do. Either you will start implementing your solution or do the steps to intervene and go on offense. Alternatively, if it’s a problem or a worry you have no control over—for example something that happened already and you can’t go back and adjust—the “Next” there is to let it go. And if you can’t let it go, come up with something you will switch your thoughts to instead. Maybe you think about something to do with your business or a sports team or how you could show some love to your spouse. Come up with something else productive with which you can replace the other thought.
So the S-P-I-N steps are how you end brain spin.
Piñata Mind is the opposite of the Brain Spin. Brain Spin is when you’re fixated on one thought. Piñata mind is when your brain is so distracted there are hundreds of thoughts going on and you can’t think of anything. There is a reason Joe calls it “piñata mind”. It came from a day he spent the whole day working really hard, and was really busy, but when he looked back he was interrupted and distracted a lot and didn’t accomplish anything. You are probably familiar with that feeling of working hard, doing lots of stuff but getting nothing done. At the end of the day you’re exhausted but you have nothing to show for it. You didn’t move any big rocks forward.
Picture a kid’s birthday party. They blindfold the child, spin him around, and hand him stick. Then they point toward a piñata. An adult is holding a rope and moving the piñata around while that kid is swinging wildly with that stick. He can’t hit the piñata, because the adult moves it every time the kid gets close. So “Piñata” Mind is when your mind is just like that kid swinging wildly all over the place and never hitting anything.
Piñata Mind is a negative, defensive brain posture. It’s defensive because once again, you’re not taking charge of the situation. You are allowing circumstances to eat up your energy and your confidence. Unable to focus, all those thoughts to come in, mess with your mind and get you going a hundred directions at once. You are so diverted, distracted, and all over the place, you lose all of your energy very quickly, just like a cell phone with too many apps open at once. You just don’t accomplish anything because you’re not putting any filters in place to stop everything from coming at you.
Overcoming Piñata Mind
There are four steps to overcoming it.
- Start with a brain dump. Get a sheet of paper, write down everything you’re thinking about in your brain. Write down everything. It might be several pages of information, but writing it down empties it from your brain. You don’t have to eat up space in your brain holding onto that information anymore.
- Go through the list and decide what is urgent and what is important. Remember, things that are on fire are urgent but not necessarily important. Sometimes things that are urgent you can delegate to somebody else to handle. Sometimes, with things that are urgent but not important, you can just let go and not worry about them. It doesn’t matter, it’s not important. Find the things that are urgent and important. They’re high value activities and you should be doing those first.
- When your brain gets to that point where your list is out of control, and you’re totally playing defense, take steps build incredible momentum going in the opposite direction. The only way you can do that is to have great focus. You can accomplish two or three times the amount you normally do if you’re able to focus without distraction. Close the door, go to a place where you won’t be bothered, turn off your phone, close all the windows on your computer, close down everything except the resources you need to accomplish those tasks. Remember, we’re trying to go from a defensive posture to being totally on offense and building momentum in our favor. So, no phone, no email, none of that turned on.
- So you choose one to three items on your priority list you will focus on. Attack those items! Stay on them for at least two hours. It takes a good twenty or thirty minutes to get into focus where you are really honed in and able to work well. When you get in to the zone, you don’t want to leave so quickly. If you can do three, four hours, it’s amazing how much momentum you can gain and how much you can get done.
So, to conquer your Piñata Mind, you want to organize, prioritize, focus, and attack.
To have fulfillment in your life, you need to be doing things where you spend time in your purpose. You also want to do things that move you closer to the vision you’ve laid out for your life and business.
Sometimes the only way to move towards that vision is to get a little selfish and shut out everybody else, so you can focus on the things that are important to you to move them forward.
Frequently, as leaders, the last person we take care of is ourselves because we’re giving to everybody else and we’re the go-to person. But you sometimes have to be selfish, focus on yourself and work on yourself so you can develop momentum, stop playing defense, and go on offense when it comes to your mind and the way you think.
Take these strategies and use them. Everyone has experienced Brain Spin and Piñata Mind at times. Having some tools in your tool belt will help you overcome them, gain momentum and move toward the vision for your life.