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Do you have a 10X mindset?

EXPY Awards

Last April, our Bookphoria team had the honor of attending the National Association of Experts, Writers and Speakers EXPY® Awards in New York City. It was a powerful two-day event of education, networking with leading business experts, as well as the recognition of our achievements.

We got to learn from the best minds in business: the world-renowned Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan, best-selling author and guru of personal and professional development Brian Tracy, businessman, motivational speaker and President of High Point University Nido Qubein, as well as Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington. What distinguishes all these remarkable leaders is the 10X mindset. Dan Sullivan talked about the difference between 10X mindset of abundance and 2X mindset of scarcity. Can you believe that 10X is easier than 2X? According to Dan Sullivan, the 10X components that create the abundance spiral are:

  • gratitude,
  • creativity,
  • cooperation,
  • exponentials,
  • ingenuity,
  • opportunity.

Our mission at Bookphoria is to make sure that all our cutting-edge, research-based solutions for multimedia interactive learning reflect such 10X mindset, generating more abundance spirals for our clients. We design learning environments for the multisensory world to nourish the senses, nurture the mind and sharpen skills.

What would a 10X mindset mean for your business?

Speaking of multisensory experiences, we have some fun photos to share from the EXPY® Awards. Click HERE to see the photos.

Here is a video of me receiving a Speaker EXPY award:


By | 2014-06-26T19:54:13+00:00 June 11th, 2014|Change, Peak Performance, Public Speaking|0 Comments

My guest appearance on The Brian Tracy Show [Video Interview]

Last November, I had the honor of appearing as a guest on The Brian Tracy Show. I wrote about the amazing experience of meeting Brian Tracy, a legend of personal and professional development, and shared some photos from the event in my earlier blog post. Now I have the video portion of our interview:

Want to develop your own multimedia course based on your book or expert content? Sign up for our complimentary consultation at http://bookphoria.com/register-for-your-complimentary-consultation/

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How keeping your distance can get you closer to what you want

bridge“Step away from a problem,” “eyes on the horizon,”  “a bird’s eye view,” “remove yourself from a situation,” “burn your bridges” – we have many expressions in English that indicate spatial and psychological distance.  When we physically or mentally increase our distance from whatever we are dealing with, it changes how we perceive things and make decisions. Employing the mind trick of distance when you present or process information can result in greater impact and better decisions. This is not about distancing yourself from people, but rather finding your own “observer” or “distant self” that can help you connect better with people and ideas. Here are five ways to benefit from distance:

1. Lean back to make a task seem easier.  Increasing the physical distance from a complex task also increases the psychological distance.  A task seen from a greater distance appears easier.  After you present a problem, try moving the whiteboard away from the audience or have the audience members change their seats to increase the distance from the spot that represents the problem. It may boost abstract thinking and creativity. Taking a break can have a similar distancing effect.

2. Be a fly on the wall. Self-distancing can help people look at a negative experience with less anger and aggression. Rather than immersing yourself in a stressful situation, switch to the role of an observer. Replaying a negative scene as if watching the events unfold from a distance and happening to the “distant” you can buffer from the negative outcomes of rumination. Role-play is another form of self-distancing that encourages different perspectives.  If you are a speaker or presenter, it is helpful to think about the appropriate level of self-immersion that you want to create for your audience.  A distant perspective can help the audience deal better with topics that can trigger strong emotions and aggression.

3. Use the distance to bring your points across. When you tell a story, move with purpose to create a picture of your content. The action in your story should prompt your movement.  Where can you place all your characters and everything else on the stage to create a sequence of scenes in your mind?  You can bring your audience into the scenes by moving purposefully as your story progresses. Your movement can also create a timeline of the past, present and future. What is the sequence of the events that occur in your story?  As you describe the sequential events, you move accordingly.  Remember that your audience reads the timeline from left to right, so you should do it from their perspective (backwards for you).  Apparently, the future feels closer to us than the past. This reduced psychological distance may help us better prepare for future events.

4. Match the psychological distance of your message with the timing of the decision. Gergan Nenkov of the Carroll School of Management in Boston investigated the persuasiveness of messages presented to consumers at different stages of decision-making process.  Consumers in a predecisional mindset were more likely to be persuaded by psychologically distant messages that focused on the future and distant others.  In contrast, consumers in a postdecisional mindset who looked for ways to support and implement their decision were more likely to be persuaded by messages that talked about the present and the self.

5. Keep it cool. There is a link between cold temperatures and social distance. For example, social isolation or emotionally chilly memories can actually make people feel cold.  It turns out that cooler temperatures also reduce the so called “egocentric anchoring” when people unintentionally project their own perspective onto others.  So, if you want to promote mutual understanding and perspective-taking behavior, keep the room temperature cooler.

5 strategies to silence your inner critic and boost creativity and self-expression

yogadanceHave you ever tried yoga dance?  Yoga dance is different from what most people think of when they hear the word “dance,” or “yoga” for that matter.  There are no specific steps to follow or routines to worry about.  Instead, our yoga teacher offers a storyline with elements, such as “welcoming yourself to the space” by dancing your way around the room in different directions, “building a fire” in an exuberant circle moving with the sound of drums, or the “souls and hearts” dance with scarves.  Yoga dance is all about self-expression in a harmonious, non-judgmental way when you bring your body, your sense of rhythm and your emotions into a delicate alignment.  It is also about the power of being open, spontaneous, creative and fluid. It is about the community and trust in your ability to be yourself, no matter how sweaty or goofy you may feel.  In other words, yoga dance offers one of those precious moments when your inner critic becomes quiet, giving in to the power of music and movement.

We should all practice silencing our inner critic more often. Neuroscience research suggest that we become more creative when the the parts of the brain that are responsible for cognitive control – in particular, the left prefrontal cortex – become less active.  In one study,  researchers non-invasively manipulated neurons in the participants’ left prefrontal cortices through the method of transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, thus suppressing the activation of these specific areas of the brain.  Participants saw a sequence of 60 objects, one every nine seconds, and were asked to quickly come up with uses for them that were out of the ordinary.  The researchers measure how long it took for the participants to come up with a valid response, or if they were unable to do so before the next picture appears. The participants with the inhibited right prefrontal cortices missed an average of 8 out of 60 objects, compared to 15 objects missed by two other control groups.   They were also able to provide correct responses an average of a second faster than the control groups.

Another study indicates that when musicians are improvising, the part of the brain that plays a role in self-restraint and evaluation is also powered down, while an area associated with self-expression becomes more active, compared to when the musicians play music they have memorized.

How can you silence the inner critic in situations that benefit from a creative flow of unfiltered ideas?  Here are five practices to boost your creativity and self-expression:

1. Role-play your way to different scenarios.  Play boosts creativity, imagination, and social agility not just in children, but in adults as well.  As adults we become overly concerned with opinions of others.  The fear of embarrassment and social rejection inhibits our creative expression.  Play can relax the brain and make us more comfortable to take risks and experiment.  Play helps us prepare for the unexpected and produce a more diverse repertory of behavior. In a role-play, we can put ourselves through different kinds of experiences, learn to better understand other perspectives and cultivate empathy. Are you feeling too shy to play? Try a hand-puppet to get your over the discomfort of assuming a role.

2. Give yourself a permission to be absurd. Brainstorm bad ideas and poke fun at your own assumptions.  It will take the pressure off and allow good ideas to percolate into your conscious mind. Don’t take yourself too seriously.   “Think like a fool,” advises Roger von Oech:

“It’s the fool’s job to extol the trivial, trifle with the exalted, and parody the common perception of a situation. In doing so, the fool makes us conscious of the habits we take for granted and rarely question. A good fool needs to be part actor and part poet, part philosopher and part psychologist.”

3. Let your mind wander. The daydreaming mind continues to work on your problems, increasing the likelihood of an insight. A recent study shows that the times when we are naturally less productive may be optimal for solving insight problems. In those off-peak times when we are more distracted, our brains can tap into a wider range of information, find new connections, and see more possibilities.

4. Ditch your meeting room and head to a coffee-shop.  Experiments showed that a moderate level of ambient noise (70 dB) enhanced subjects’ performance on the creativity tasks, compared to a relatively quiet environment (50 decibels).  However, if the place is too noisy (85 dB), it will hurt your creative problem-solving. Coffitivity can even “deliver the vibe of a coffee shop right to your desktop.”  This web application allows you to combine your own music and ambient noises to optimize your creative process.

5. Find a solution in your dreams. Michael Michalko, the creativity expert and author of “Thinkertoys,” once said, “Ideas twinkle in dreams like bicycle lights in a mist.”  A  study conducted by the University of Alberta and the University of Montreal of 470 psychology students revealed that dreams that occurred six to seven days after the remembered event often reflected “interpersonal interactions, problem resolution and positive emotions.”  These findings suggest that people continue to work through personal difficulties in dreams.

Sleep psychologists claim we have about six dreams each night during rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep).  We often forget our dreams, but there are things we can do to recall dreams better and capture any creative ideas that emerged in the dream state:

  • If you’ve been working on a problem for a while, bring it back into focus right before you fall asleep.  Think about a question related to your problem that you’d like to get an answer to in your sleep.
  • When you awake, don’t get up immediately.  Instead, lie quietly as you reflect on your dream.  If you have trouble remembering your dreams, try waking up thirty minutes earlier.
  • Have a dream journal next to you bed so that you could promptly record any thoughts that came to you after you woke up.  Don’t censor, just write down anything that comes to mind. Your ideas are often triggered by your dream even if you can’t remember the dream exactly.  After all, the contemporary scientific method was first reveled to René Descartes in his dream, which he promptly recorded in his dream journal.
  • You can later go over your dream journal again to see if any patterns, ideas, or insights emerge from your dream entries.

And you can always check out yoga dance.

How do you silence your inner critic?

By | 2013-03-22T12:41:02+00:00 March 20th, 2013|Brain, Creativity, Peak Performance|0 Comments

10 ways to gamify your thinking to make it better

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
~ Plato

Have you ever played with kaleidoscopes – those tubes of mirrors with colorful beads?  You turn and shake them, and the stones form different patterns, reflecting off the mirrors.  Our minds can be like kaleidoscopes.  We receive the same pieces of information, but they get reflected off the mirrors of our experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and form our own, unique patterns of understanding.  We can use play to shake up some old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us to improve our thinking and decision-making.

Play delights the brain. Some neuroscientists believe that play is a central part of neurological growth and development. Play allows children to build complex, skilled, responsive, socially adept, and cognitively flexible brains.  Play has also been identified as one of the primal emotional systems of animals through brain stimulation.  Many believe adults can also benefit from play as a way to boost creativity, imagination, and decision-making.

As adults we become overly concerned with the opinions of others.  The fear of embarrassment and social rejection inhibits our creative expression.  Play can relax the brain and make it easier for us to take risks and experiment.  Play helps us prepare for the unexpected and produce a more diverse repertory of behavior.  When we play, a part of the brain that is involved in self-restraint and evaluation – the inner critic – is powered down, allowing for a fuller expression.

Through role playing, we can put ourselves into different kinds of experiences, learn to better understand other perspectives, and cultivate empathy.  Finally, play is also a ritual with its sets of rules and scripts.  As with any ritual, play sets expectations for a certain kind of behavior and prompts the brain to give commands in accordance with these expectations. Here is how you can gamify your thinking to make it better:

  1. Connect the dots to solve your life’s puzzles. Scan your past for repeating behavior patterns, causes and effects.  Learning is the anchor of our experiences, both good and bad.  Without it, we are just drifting through life.
  2. Remove the invisibility cloak: you can’t change what you can’t see.  Develop self-awareness.  Pay attention to context.
  3. Play hopscotch with your own stream of thoughts: know where to land and what to overlook.
  4. Master Jeopardy: your power lies in the questions you ask.  The answer is always closer than you think.
  5. Find your good luck charm. The belief anchored in a symbolic object may cause you to perform better.  The power of suggestion makes the brain respond as if it were true, triggering a placebo effect.
  6. Be a  storyteller. Nothing captivates a human brain more than a good story.  Stories engage us on the emotional level.  Experiences accompanied by strong emotions are more memorable.  When the story resonates with the listener, the brains of the speaker and listener may synchronize, suggesting a deep human connection.
  7. Use a box to think “outside the box.”  Acting out creativity metaphors makes us more creative.
  8. Think on your feet, literally. Let your body guide you when you need to make a decision.  If you experience muscle tension, a “pit” in stomach, or a sudden headache, perhaps, your body is telling you that you are moving in a wrong direction.
  9. Play dress-up.  Clothing affects not only other people’s perception of us, but also our own thoughts.  For example, if you need to pay more attention to detail, you may want to don a scientist’s white lab coat.
  10. Sharpen your thinking through doodling. Doodle, sketch, illustrate your ideas.  Pictures are easier for the brain to process and remember.  Get inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrated to-do list.