The Fearless Mind

The Fearless Mind by Dr Craig Manning

Several years ago, I met Dr Craig Manning at a networking event in Provo, UT. I love studying the mind, so the thoughts he shared with the few people sitting at the table captured my attention. I immediately went home and purchased the book and visited his website TheFearlessMind.com. I highly suggest reading the book.

So why am I talking about Dr Manning again now? I was fortunate enough to attend a virtual Zoom meeting last week where he spoke to the group. Since I knew I was in for a treat, I took a lot of notes. I am writing this post because I want to have a record of his comments and my thoughts for me, my family, my awesome team, and anyone else who stumbles across this page. I think my quotes are reasonably accurate. I hope it is worth the few minutes it will take for you to read this post.

Stay in the Moment

For a point of reference, it is currently April 2020, and the Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. My team and I have been working from home for the last 6 weeks. Hopefully, we will get back to the office soon. Dr Manning shared an interesting statistic:

87% of employees in the US are currently disengaged from their jobs.

What does this mean? I don’t think this means that almost everyone isn’t doing anything. I have lots of evidences of some great things happening with many of our clients and in our personal lives. He talked about the general consensus that when Millenials get fatigued, they feel entitled to a break, which leads to disengagement. It takes quite a bit of efforts to get back up to speed.

He shared an experience where he talked about working with one of the leaders of an NBA basketball team. The leader said that it should be the middle of the NBA season, but the season has been shut down. As a result, “I’m spiralling down.” Dr Manning asked “Can you tell me what you did last weekend?” The response was “Sure. I did nothing. I binged watched TV all weekend.” When we all step back, it’s easy to see that this man was disengaged. Dr Manning said “Binge watching is the worst thing you can do right now. You need to live a real life. When you aren’t living for real, you start feeling tired, which leads to bad habits which leads to disengagement.

Stop and think: Have you have felt more disengaged with work, with friends, and with life in general over the past month or two? Are you accepting that as something you can’t control?

You can control it. You need to control your mindset.

Let’s Discuss Rumination

We’ve all likely heard the word, but I had personally never stopped to define it in my mind. Dr Manning did that for me.

Rumination is focused attention on the symptoms of your distress.

It’s common for people to worry about the past which leads them to be stressed about the future. Dr Manning explained that this sequence takes place when we Ruminate:

Rumination –> Distress –> Stop Enjoying Life –> You Struggle to Relax –> You Become Unproductive –> You Disengage –> Then You Recruit Others to Your Point of View. This process leads you to feel you are on the right path, or are at least justified for feeling that way.

The book The Anatomy of Peace discusses the idea recruiting others to your point of view (Collusion). It’s an interesting topic by itself. But that’s a conversation for another day.

How do you avoid this cycle?

Dr Manning says you can avoid this by being focused on solutions. Stay in the present. Don’t worry about the past. Don’t worry about the future. All fear comes from the future. All guilt comes from the past. 

He went on to say that we need to “stay in moment with a forward focused mindset.” He related this to driving a car. You don’t drive by looking in your rearview mirror. Don’t try to look a mile ahead. You should look ahead, but just in front of you. What’s about to happen to you? Stay in the present.

He shared a similar thought:

  • If you focus on the past, you will be grumpy
  • If you focus on the future, you will have anxiety

What’s the Right Mindset? Key Takeaways

In summary, we need stop worrying about the past and the future. We need to live in the present. We need to recognize negative patterns that might lead us to disengagement.

Our working memory has limited capacity. Our subconscious memory has unlimited capacity. We need to make sure our subconscious is driving us. We do that when we focus on creating good habits.

This is an interesting time. We all have had changes that we’ve had to deal with in a variety of ways. How have you coped with these changes? What’s happened to your routines? I talk to my team a lot about morning and evening routines. We also talk about planning. I love the idea of designing your day in advance, putting the plan on paper (or on my Google Calendar), and then simply following my design. Sure, things come up on a regular basis, so I always have some buffer time built in.

If you haven’t done so yet, create some adjusted well designed routines. Try it out for a few days. Adjust the routines and stay engaged. For example, I typically move around quite a bit during a normal work day. However, I realized that I was sitting a lot more once I started working from home. I didn’t like that part of my new work from home routine, so I found an attachment for my treadmill. I now spend at least 1 hour per day walking while working. In fact, I have walked 2.5 miles while writing this post. I got two things done at once!

Thanks again to Dr Craig Manning for your book, your thoughts, your YouTube videos and your recent training. I personally got a lot out of your willingness to share.