Do you need an anti-mentor?

August 4th, 2015

Train Wreck


CRANIUM Point: Novelty not boring routine
Do the unexpected. Seek and reward innovation. Celebrate veering from conventional methods.

Everyone needs a mentor so if you don’t have a mentor get one ASAP.  You also need an anti-mentor.  This will be someone you DON’T want to be like personally or professionally.  Here are some qualities you may want to look for:

  • Always late
  • Makes excuses
  • Doesn’t take responsibility
  • Out of shape
  • Dishonest
  • Eats a lot of fast food

You get bonus points if they smoke or have a criminal history.  Yes it’s funny but I’m also serious.  The brain learns with contrast.  It’s not a good idea to focus on all of the possible anti-mentors around you, but having just one might be a nice boost.

P.S. You probably don’t want to tell your anti-mentor that you’ve chosen them.

Mix it up to get more out of your meeting

July 16th, 2015



CRANIUM Point: Novelty not boring routine
Do the unexpected. Seek and reward innovation. Celebrate veering from conventional methods.

Meetings are often the biggest waste of time.  Right?!?!  But meetings themselves are not the culprit.  It’s because everyone goes in expecting it to be unproductive.  After all, you know what so-and-so is going to say about the proposal because she says the same thing about every proposal.  You-know-who will be late and unprepared and blame it on something with his kids.

Novelty is the best recipe for a meeting of just about any kind: lunch dates, classes, dinner with the family.  The brain is more engaged when information and situations are unique and different. Before a meeting or a class, have attendees respond to a novel prompt. Here are some ideas in ascending order of novelty:

  • share their favorite ice cream flavor
  • stand if they had a good night’s sleep (incorporating action is a bonus)
  • high five if they are ready for the day (ditto)
  • show who can roll their tongue
  • do 5 minutes of glitter art on paper plates
  • have everyone make goofy faces
  • show their best dance move (everyone at once works best)

The worst part of your week

July 3rd, 2015

doctor and frightened patient at clinic

You know that thing you dread: folding laundry, sending a report, the weekly team meeting.  It’s the most mundane, dreaded part of your day or week.  This is actually a fantastic opportunity to do something very healthy for your brain by adding some novelty to the situation.

Once you’ve identified it, whether it is a daily or weekly task try and find some ways to mix it up.  Shoot for quantity not quality at this point since changing the pattern more than how you do that makes the difference.  Try to come up with at least three to five ways you could make that time enjoyable, fun, and different:

  • play music
  • talk with a friend
  • take a new route
  • work backwards
  • set a timer
  • sing
  • dance

The Magic Words

June 24th, 2015

Thank you

Saying “thank you” can change someone’s day from bad to good. We constantly have opportunities to thank others. It’s a change to put the spotlight on someone and let them feel appreciated. It’s often overlooked as a motivation tool but it’s a powerful one.

Saying thank you inspires loyalty, boosts productivity and is contagious. Not everyone who gets a “thank you” is graceful about it so make sure you are truly grateful and don’t expect anything in return. If you say thank you, don’t mean it and get the wrong reaction you’re likely not to handle it well and create a bigger problem. So here’s a foolproof plan.

Hand write your thank you notes. Put in a recurring reminder to write one thank you every Monday morning. Handwritten notes are almost usually perceived as sincere since there’s no tone in your voice to get confused. You’ll get to go about your day with the high of having done something nice and not having had to worry about the face-to-face reaction. Win-win!