I was reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by brothers Chip and Dan Heath to stimulate my creative thinking for marketing strategies. It’s a fascinating, clearly-written book that outlines six principles for helping people remember and act on the ideas you’re presenting.
And these ideas aren’t just for marketers. They apply to anyone who needs to communicate effectively, including leaders, parents, and teachers.
One of the principles is the power of stories to convey an idea. Because of my ongoing passion in my work to help people learn new skills and change behavior patterns, the following story was especially memorable.
A high school algebra teacher was participating in an online discussion forum with other math teachers. They were wrestling with a question they commonly get from their students regarding the application of a specific math concept or formula:
“When will I ever use this?”
The algebra teacher shared how he responds when his students pose this question. It’s brilliant.
“This question used to really bother me, and I would look, as a result, for justification for everything I taught. Now I say, ‘Never. You will never use this.’Some of the things we’re asked to learn may not seem to have immediate relevance in our lives, yet the mental work required to do them prepares us for future challenges. That’s because this “mental weight training” enables the brain to build the neural pathways needed to complete important tasks with less effort.
“I then go on to remind them that people don’t lift weights so that they will be prepared, should one day someone knock them over on the street and lay a barbell across their chests. You lift weights so you can knock over a defensive lineman, or carry your groceries or lift your grandchildren without being sore the next day. You do math exercises so that you can improve your ability to think logically, so that you can be a better lawyer, doctor, architect, prison warden or parent.
”MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end for most people, not an end in itself.”
This process is exactly what my company has done with our online ProStar Coach program. We call it your “virtual gym for becoming stronger as a person” because it provides mental workouts in the critical areas of people skills and personal strengths. We recognized that a cycle of taking action and then reflecting on lessons learned from the action is critical to transforming a behavior pattern or ingraining a new skill.
What are you doing each day to stretch and strengthen your brain so you’re prepared for unexpected situations when they arise?
There could be one habit or behavior pattern that’s been holding you back from being as effective as you could be – maybe a lack of self-confidence, patience, composure or self-discipline. If you could strengthen this one area, it would make a huge difference in the results you achieve.
You can do this on your own, of course. But you could get even greater results with the power of a virtual coach, combined with coaching from people who care about your success. You can get both types of coaching in ProStar Coach.
Are you ready to do the mental weight training to get to the next level in your own development?
"Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity."
Stephen Covey, American author