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Mind Gym

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Sebastian Bailey, Ph.D., & Octavius Black


achieve more
by thinking
differently
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Copyright
mind gym: Achieve More by Tinking Diferently. Copyright 2014 by Te Mind Gym, Inc. All
rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Harper Collins
Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007.
Harper Collins books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use.
For information please e- mail the Special Markets Department at SPsales@harpercollins.com.
Harper Collins website: http://www.harpercollins.com
Harper Collins

, and HarperOne

are trademarks of Harper Collins Publishers.


fi rst edi ti on
Designed by Terry McGrath
Library of Congress Cataloging- in- Publication Data
Bailey, Sebastian.
Mind gym : achieve more by thinking diferently / Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black. First
edition.
pages cm
Includes index.
isbn 978-0-06-233144-1
1. Tought and thinking. 2. Creative thinking. 3. Behavior modifcation. 4. Success. I. Black,
Octavius. II. Title.
BF441.B263 2014
153.4'2dc23
2014012011
14 15 16 17 18 rrd(h) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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Contents
Introduction: A Fitness Program for Your Mind 1
Part One Reset Your Mind 7
1 Flip the Switch on Automatic Thinking 9
2 Think like an Attentive Optimist 27
Part Two Take Control 49
3 Take Charge 51
4 Start a New Chapter 59
5 End Procrastination Now 73
Part Three Deepen Connections 87
6 Get in the Right Relationship Mind-Set 89
7 Bid for Attention 103
8 Get the Best from People 117
Part Four Persuade Others 133
9 Win Hearts and Minds 135
10 Impress Everyone 151
11 Give Great Feedback 163
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vi CONT ENT S
Part Five Resolve Conict 179
12 Detox Your Relationships 181
13 Navigate Difficult Conversations 195
14 Take the Drama Out of Relationships 203
Part Six Let the Creative Juices Flow 215
15 Overcome Creative Blocks 217
16 Master the Tools of Creativity 229
17 Tap Your Unconscious Mind 243
Part Seven Minimize Stress, Maximize Bliss 253
18 Make Stress Work for You 255
19 Combat Stress 269
20 Switch Your Mind Off 283
Conclusion: Back to the Beginning 299
Acknowledgments 301
Notes 305
About the Authors 315
About Mind Gym 316
Index 317
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1
I N T R O D U C T I O N
A Fitness Program for Your Mind
D
o you feel overwhelmed? Overworked? Overloaded? Do you feel
that despite your best eforts, you are not performing at your best?
You are not alone. More than ever we are under constant pressure to
succeed. We are asked to do more at work in less time and with fewer
resources; and we are stretched thin at home as we balance profes-
sional responsibilities, take care of our homes, pay bills, look after our
children, care for our aging parents, and nurture our most intimate
relationships all while posting Facebook updates that make our
friends jealous. Keeping up with our daily lives is challenging enough.
Taking the time and creating the space to consider more fundamental
questions Am I building a meaningful life? What choices should I make
to maximize my chances of happiness? seems like a luxury few of us
can aford.
To thrive in this breakneck environment, our best bet is to leverage
our most powerful assets: our internal resources. We need to think
smarter, make better decisions, relate more strongly to others, work
brilliantly, and manage our stress. Te good news is that there is a
wealth of scientifc information on how to leverage these resources to
excel personally and professionally.
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2 MI ND GYM
Te bad news? Te majority of that enlightening science is buried
in complex academic papers and books. Some has made its way to
the popular media for better or worse. Tere seems to be an endless
supply of pop psychology theories that promise a more fulflling life,
success at work, a better understanding of yourself, stronger relation-
ships with others, and the secret to everything else. Not all these shiny
theories are bad. But it is often impossible to tell the snake oil from the
fairy dust, or the gimmicks from the truth.
Not anymore.
We wrote this book with two goals in mind: to make the best, most
rigorous research fndings on the science of success and fulfllment
accessible to everyone and to help you apply these insights so you can
efect radical change in your life as quickly as possible. Mind Gym will
explain why you get trapped in negative thought patterns, why your
relationships fail or succeed, why your conversations dont turn out the
way you expected them to, why you get stressed, and why you cant
get your creative juices fowing. But more important, Mind Gym will
provide tools and exercises to help you change what you think and how
you approach these challenges, so you can optimize your most power-
ful ally: your mind. When your mind is ft, you get more out of life, more
out of work, more out of your relationships, more out of everything.
A Gym for the Mind
Te original idea for Mind Gym was born in 1999, during a casual
conversation over dinner when the topic turned to cultural trends in
society. We discussed the 1980s obsession with physical improvement
(the birth of jogging and Jane Fondas workouts) and the 1990s focus
on the soul (yoga, alternative medicine, and meditation). We asked
ourselves, What will the new millennium be about? Te mind. We all
agreed that as the pace of technology and life increased, a sharp mind
would be essential to our success and fulfllment.
What we needed, we agreed that night, were personal trainers for
our minds. Just as a physical trainer identifes the best equipment and
exercises that will help us achieve our ftness goals, we all need an
expert to help us navigate the complexity of our minds and help us get
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I NT RODUCT I ON 3
them into the best possible shape. A year later, we launched a series of
workouts for the mind to do just that. Tese short, sharp workshops
were grounded in robust science and packed with practical tools that
could be applied immediately and exercises that were fun to do.
Since our company, Mind Gym, launched in 2000, more than one
million people in thirty countries have participated in our trade-
mark ninety- minute workouts. Some of the worlds most progressive
corporations including Google, Tory Burch, PepsiCo, and Unilever
have brought these workouts to their organizations to help train their
people to achieve more by thinking diferently. And the vast majority
of participants love them. An incredible 95 percent of participants have
said they would apply what theyd learned to their lives, and 93 percent
would recommend the experience to others.
To develop these workouts, we explored a century of psychologi-
cal research to identify the best and most helpful insights on how to
optimize our minds and behaviors. When necessary, we adapted and
combined diferent theories from the psychological sciences to make
them more relevant to the needs of people today. Over the years, weve
had a chance to test and refne the hundreds of techniques and exer-
cises, frst on the Mind Gym team and then, when they were found to
be efective, on hundreds of thousands of participants in our workouts.
Te result is a wealth of practical and road- tested advice on how to
think and communicate more efectively.
Because not everyone can attend our workouts, we wrote this book
so you can experience Mind Gym workouts and exercise your mind
wherever you are at home, in your ofce, on a plane, or anywhere you
can sneak away to read and try out these techniques for a few minutes.
The Mind Gym Philosophy
Te science- backed techniques and exercises we ofer in this book
are informed by a set of assumptions that lie behind everything Mind
Gym does:
We can choose how we think. We are not preprogrammed to perceive
and interpret the world in a certain way, but we are largely free to
decide how we think and how we communicate.
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4 MI ND GYM
We can choose to improve. Just like exercising at the local gym helps
us become more physically ft, we can all improve our mental per-
formance by choosing to exercise our minds. No, we cant turn our-
selves into brilliant thinkers like Albert Einstein or Leonardo da
Vinci, any more than multiple trips to the gym will turn us into
Dwayne Te Rock Johnson. But we can become the best version
of ourselves.
We can choose to be smarter. Intelligence, in its broadest sense,
involves much more than abstract problem solving or IQ. In addi-
tion to systematic thinking, intelligence includes physical and social
skills, as well as perception, imagination, emotional self- regulation,
and many aspects of personality. All of these can be enhanced.
We can choose our habits. Most of us tend to underestimate the
extent to which we behave on autopilot, refecting mental default
settings that we have forgotten we can reset. By uncovering more
of the options that are available, well fnd it easier to escape our
current habits or settings.
At Mind Gym, we believe everyone can change radically if they
make a conscious decision to do so. If you are ready to change, ready
to get your mind into the best shape its ever been, start your exercise
program now.
How to Use this Book
Mind Gym is designed to meet your specifc needs. Weve divided the
book into seven parts, each tackling some of the most common chal-
lenges people face:
How to adopt a positive mind-set
How to increase productivity
How to repair broken relationships
How to infuence others
How to resolve confict successfully
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I NT RODUCT I ON 5
How to be more creative
How to minimize stress and maximize bliss
Each part starts with a brief summary of the content covered in its
chapters. If your priority is to manage stress or be more creative, then
go straight to the relevant section. Having trouble deciding whether
or not to stick with a relationship? Teres a section on that too. Each
chapter within the section ofers specifc tools that you can use imme-
diately, and they are crafted to help you achieve results right away.
At the end of each chapter weve put together some exercises for you,
called Give Your Mind a Workout. Te beginner exercises are to get
you started and the advanced exercises are there once youre ready for
something more challenging.
Of course, you can read this book cover to cover if you prefer. Or
you may choose to follow one of our pre- designed programs. Just like
a physical ftness regime can be designed for strength or stamina, each
of our programs has been developed to help address common desires.
Tere are four basic programs to help you get what you need from
Mind Gym as quickly and efciently as possible:
Get What You Want
Tis program is especially helpful if you know what you want both
professionally and in your relationships but dont know how to get it,
particularly when obstacles keep getting in the way. (Read chapters 1,
2, 3, 5, 9, 11, and 15.)
Be Liked
Tis is a program for those of you who struggle in social situations,
have difculty maintaining relationships, or simply would like to
deepen your connection to colleagues and friends. Do you want to be
more charismatic? Do you want that special person to look your way?
Tis program is for you. (Read chapters 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 14.)
Be Respected
Tis is a big one. Its a program for those of you who want to be
admired or at least treated as an equal by others. Do you often feel like
youre getting the short end of the stick? Follow this program. (Read
chapters 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 16.)
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6 MI ND GYM
Overcome Adversity
If you are facing a difcult time in your life or want to be ready to
deal with unexpected challenges, youll love this program. It helps you
realize how and why you internalize chaos, and how others might be
adding to your challenges. And it helps you understand the ruts that
you need to get out of. (Read chapters 1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, and 20.)
Whether you choose to follow one of these programs or read individual
chapters that ft your needs, we hope the book will lead you to new
paths and reveal aspects of yourself you didnt quite know were there.
By getting your mind in top shape, your life will change: Youll work
smarter. Youll have stronger and richer relationships. Youll be more
fulflled. Youll thrive.
Have a fantastic workout!
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