How To Outsmart Your Brain (So You Can Be Happier & More Productive)

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how to change your life

One of the most difficult parts of anyone’s life is empowering ourselves when we don’t feel like it, when we aren’t in the mood, or when we lack motivation.

Most of us promise ourselves that tomorrow we’ll be better. Tomorrow we’ll get our act together. Tomorrow we’ll nail it. But when we wake up in the morning, we're the same people, desperate for inspiration, desperate for change.

Waiting for a jolt of inspiration or a wave of motivation will only rob you of time, you can't change your life by waiting.

Waiting will leave you feeling angry, resentful and powerless. Inspiration and motivation are too fickle to be counted on; they never appear on demand.

Related: 5 Ways To Live Your MOST Authentic Life

You can repeat positive affirmations, read motivational quotes, or sit for hours next to a babbling brook in the hope that inspiration finds you; but if you really want to empower yourself, this minute, you are going to have to make it happen.

You are going to have to outsmart your brain.

Our brains are designed to keep us safe. To keep us small. To keep the status quo. Think about it. This is the very same brain which often chemically equates public speaking or asking someone out with being chased by a bear. Your brain takes fight or flight very seriously.

But you are smarter than that. You are more evolved that. You understand that just because you feel fear doesn't mean you're in danger. 

To be successful, you’ve got to side-step your brain’s quirky nuances. Think of your brain as a well-meaning, three-headed monster protecting you. If you want to get past it, you’d better be stealthy.

You’d better use your muscles. Mostly, you’d better be quick.

Your brain prefers to think in the "now," not in the "later." Your brain, your well-meaning, three-headed monster, is all about keeping you safe and small in this minute. It doesn’t care about next week, next month or next year.

It will happily sacrifice distant, deeper happiness for shallow happiness in the moment. Sometimes, it feels like a street fight. On one corner is "I don’t feel like it," and on the other corner, "I want a better life, now."

Your brain controls you by terrifying you. For every forward step you want to take, your brain comes up with ten reasons to stay stuck. Your brain wants you scrambling to self-sabotage.

It makes up stories about why something can’t be done. It enables you to procrastinate, or lets you blame your circumstances on other people. It assures you that you don’t have what it takes to be successful. It whispers stories about how you aren’t smart enough, good enough, or scrappy enough to get what you want in life.

But here is the secret of success: If you only ever did the things you didn’t want to do, you’d have everything you’d ever want. In any area of your life, whether it be love, career, family, health, finance, spirituality or friends.


If you just did the things you don’t want to do, your life would blossom. You’d have everything you’d ever want.

Tell that to your brain.

But have no fear (literally). You possess fear’s anti-venom: Action. You have the ability to act.

Action is thought brought to life. Action is the key to becoming more powerful. Action is what makes your body come alive with purpose.

Action is the key to feeling in control. Action nullifies your BS stories of fear, physical exhaustion, blame, and victimization.

Action is how you sneak past your brain. Action is how you build a life you love.

Action. Is. Everything.

If you’ve started to think about action, you’ve probably lost your moment. You simply must push past the fear, the self-doubt without thought. If you’ve waited longer than five seconds to act, you’ve probably disturbed the three-headed monster who undoubtedly will try to stop you. If you wait more than five seconds, you’re already talking yourself out of it; you’re planning the reasons why it can’t be done.

Think. Do. You’ve got five seconds.

Make your thought come alive. Make the call. Hit delete. Walk up to someone new. Smile first. Hit send. Ask him out. Sign up for a class. Approach a difficult situation you've been avoiding. Ask for what you want. Begin a new hobby you're interested in. Say no to your kids. Talk to your partner about needing a change.

Do the thing you don’t want to do. Do it. Now.

Related: 4 Things Women NEED To Remember When They Feel Broken Inside

Yes, this seems daunting, maybe even a little impulsive and irresponsible but there are ways to prepare for the action. The more prepared you are the easier it is to act. The more you act, the less resistance you’ll feel next time, and the next time, and the next. You need a flash of courage and five seconds. That’s it.

How do you prepare for guerrilla action? You do your homework. You plan for what you want, you get to know what you are resisting, then, in a flash, you do the thing you don’t want to do.

Power moves: The five steps for outsmarting your brain:

  • Think of an area of your life you’d like to change. Write it down. With a pen, not a computer. Consider why life would life be better if you changed those areas. Write them down. Be specific.
  • List all the things you know you need to do to achieve these goals, even if you don’t feel like doing them, now or ever.
  • Walk away. Distract yourself. Act as if you are about to change your socks, not your life. Calm your brain.
  • Suddenly, take a deep breath and take action. You’ve got five seconds to start a task on your list. Do it now. Even if you don’t feel like it. Push through. Remember: five seconds. That's all it takes.
  • Repeat.

The more you exercise, the stronger your muscle becomes.

The more you do what you don’t want, the more your brain will trust you. The less chatter and fear will be tossed up by your brain. The less resistance. The less resistance, the more you can concentrate on doing everything you don’t want to do. The more you do everything you’ve been avoiding, the more successful you will become.

Create your own motivation. Create your own inspiration. Create your beautiful life now. Five seconds of action at time.

IT-Ann Pierce is a life coach who helps men, women and young adults learn the life hacks needed to feel empowered and in control of their lives. For a new perspective and a fresh approach to the pursuit of happiness, reach out to T-Ann Pierce or call her at 847.730.7531.