Hey there, Dean here. I run content and SEO at AppSumo. Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.
The Winner’s Brain is more of a self-help book than a neuroscience and psychology book. The first step is to realize that our brains have the ability to be improved and transformed for success.
BrainPower Tools are the five specifics traits of winners. They are Goal Laser, Optimal Risk Gauge, Talent Meter, Opportunity Radar, and Effort Accelerator. To develop and improve the BrainPower Tools, we can work on eight Win Factors which include self-awareness, motivation, focus, emotional balance, memory, resilience, adaptability, and brain care.
People who are successful in life have one thing in common: They all seem to be doing something different and special with their neurocircuitry to maximize their potential and achieve their goals.
Winner’s brains have specific traits in common that we call BrainPower Tools. Here are five of them:
Goal Laser helps you take aim at what you want out of life without allowing the static of distractions and stressors to interfere. It gives you the patience to delay gratification, often for years, without getting sidetracked along the way.
Optimal Risk Gauge helps you recognize what the risks are, determine how much risk you can tolerate and whether or not you are willing and able to pay the consequences if you fail. You don’t want to crash and burn from taking the plunge too often, but you do want to aim for a high enough payoff to make it worth your while.
Talent Meter gives you the sense of what you’re good at and what you’re not. A well-calibrated Talent Meter helps you recognize the natural talents and abilities you have within yourself, at the same time, being aware of your weaknesses.
People with exceptional Opportunity Radar recognize that opportunities don’t always come gift-wrapped; more often than not, they come wrapped in a problem or an idea that everyone else has simply missed.
Effort Accelerator supplies the push needed to keep on rolling over obstacles and sidestepping distractions as you march steadily toward achievement.
All five BrainPower Tools are interrelated. There are strategies you can use to strengthen your BrainPower Tools, and they fall into one of the eight general categories we call Win Factors.
Win Factors #1: Self-awareness. An attuned sense of self-awareness will help you gain a better understanding of yourself, how you relate to the rest of the world, and how the rest of the world relates to you. By becoming more self-aware, you gain insight into why things happen to you the way they do—and how you can increase the chances of creating circumstances favorable to success.
Self-awareness especially raises your Talent Meter by helping you understand your talents and the limitations you need to overcome and improve upon. It is also a large part of Effort Accelerator; when you have a sense of what motivates you, you tend to choose the activities that keep you going.
Win Factor #2: Motivation. Staying consistently motivated keeps you on a steady path toward success. Maintaining motivation to plow through even the smallest or most mundane tasks is often just as important as being motivated by your overall goals.
Think of motivation as the fuel that keeps your Effort Accelerator going and the juice that helps keep your Goal Laser trained on the things that are important.
Win Factor #3: Focus. You need to learn how to maintain flexibility to use the type of Focus for each particular situation. Winners have a wonderful ability to focus on the most important details. And by incorporating details into your broad focus, your brain will become more innovative, flexible, and creative.
Your Goal Laser and Effort Accelerator rely on focus to stay locked on your goals and to create the synergy needed to keep moving forward. Strong focus skills also mean you are watching the screen when the right blip appears on your Opportunity Radar screen.
Win Factor #4: Emotional Balance. Winners recognize and anticipate emotional responses both in themselves and others so they can start, stop, and adjust emotions to fit any given situation.
Emotional balance is the aspect of Opportunity Rader that helps you manage your emotional responses when evaluating a situation. By not allowing your emotions to take over control of your brain, it keeps the beam on your Goal Laser steady. And it steadies your Risk Gauge by helping you contain your emotions when you decide to take a risk, especially when the risk doesn’t pay off.
Win Factor #5: Memory. Winner’s brains don’t just store a lot of information in memory—they apply their past experience and use it to strategically build new knowledge in order to improve future performance.
Opportunity Radar and Optimal Risk Gauge draw upon past experience in order to evaluate similar circumstances. The fact is, almost everything we do is based on evaluating past experience in order to predict the future.
Win Factor #6: Resilience. A winner’s brain recovers from life’s challenges by dealing with shortcomings, misfires, and failures whether they are self-generated or brought on by circumstances beyond one’s control. Winners reframe failures so that they work to their advantage and recognize that when things don’t go according to plan the journey isn’t necessarily over—and in fact, failure is often a new opportunity in disguise.
Having good resilience skill keeps your Effort Accelerator going even when the going gets tough. Resilience also means that you don’t give up on your goals when you have a setback or doubt your talents when you don’t get what you want every time.
Win Factor #7: Adaptability. The winner’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances is a defining feature of the brain itself. Your brain is always changing. Winners are strategic in taking advantage of this fact, fine-tuning their brain for continued success.
All of your BrainPower Tools can be transformed and improved due to the process of neuroplasticity.
Win Factor #8: Brain Care. Your brain, much like the rest of your body, has fundamental needs. By doing plenty of physical activity, providing your brain with rich and meaningful experiences, sleeping well, and eating a proper diet, you can help meet these needs and help give yourself the edge it takes to cultivate a winner’s brain.
Care and feeding of the brain is another thing that enhances all BrainPower Tools. Much like your car, your brains run better on premium fuel and regular tune-ups.