This is why you’re using only 10% of your brain (productively).
Let’s get one thing out of the way. The common belief that we use only 10% of our brains is debunked. Most of our brain is active most of the time. It’s not that we are using a small fraction of our brain. It’s how we are using our brain. Hence the word “productively” in the subtitle.
The question we need to ask ourselves is the following:
What’s the percentage of my mental capacity that I’m using productively?
What’s your answer to that question? Is it 100%? Is it 50%? Is it 10%? Maybe less? My hunch is that this figure is less than 10% for the average person. And it keeps decreasing as the distraction in our daily lives increases. Think about that for a second.
What if you are using less than 10% of your mental capacity productively?
- What are the consequences of that?
- What if you could 2X that amount?
- What if you could 4X that amount?
- What if you could 10X that amount?
- What would be the consequences of such an improvement on your life? On your finances? On your relationships? On your lifestyle?
If you are living the typical lifestyle of a millennial or something close to it, there is a room for 2X, 4X, even 10X improvement in the productive use of your mind. It’s not easy. It will take time. But it’s simple and definitely doable. It requires a firm decision and commitment. Are you ready? Let’s begin.
Let’s Start with Establishing a Baseline
Observe your life and your mind for a week.
- Observe what you do.
- Observe your habits.
- Observe your thoughts.
- Observe how you feel.
- Observe your desires.
- Observe your goals.
- Observe your dreams.
- Observe your frustrations.
- Observe your fears.
- Observe your worries.
- Observe the objects in your home, in your office, in your car, in your life in general.
- Observe your hobbies.
- Observe what you do on a given day. At home, in the office.
Do this exercise for a week and write down your observations.
Analyze Your Baseline
When you do the exercise above and write down your observations, you will realize that most of what you do and what you have is irrelevant. They don’t add any value to your life or to your job. On the contrary, they waste your time, energy, attention, and if nothing else space in your home and/or office.
Now, look at what’s inside your head. When you do that, you will realize that 99% of your thoughts and emotions are useless. They are actually worse than useless, they are counterproductive or downright harmful to your success.
Moreover, the thoughts and emotions in your mind are the repetition of the same thoughts and emotions over and over. It’s like the same record playing over and over in your mind.
What would open up for you if you let go of the objects, actions, behaviors, habits, thoughts, and emotions that kept 99% of your mental capacity busy?
It might be impossible for you to comprehend that 99% of your mental capacity is occupied by useless if not downright harmful thoughts and emotions. If you don’t believe me, just do the exercise above for a week and write down all of your thoughts and emotions. Then think about how they serve you.
Empty Your Mind
Once you have a list of the objects, behaviors, actions, thoughts, and emotions, start processing them. Take one that keeps you busy most of the time. How does that serve you? If it doesn’t, let it go.
- You might find out that you check your smartphone 150 times a day. You might want to let go of that habit.
- You might find out that your fridge is full with food that you haven’t touched for a while. Get rid of them.
- You might find out that your wardrobe, cupboard, and bookshelves are full with objects, clothes, and books, you haven’t used for a while. Get rid of them.
Luckily, objects are the easiest to get rid of, but once we are complete with the objects, we need to do the same with the thoughts and emotions in our mind.
There are more useless thoughts and emotions in our minds than there are useless objects in our homes and offices.
Getting rid of useless thoughts and emotions are harder than getting rid of useless objects in our homes and offices.
I have already published posts about letting go of worries and desires that don’t serve you. If you find out that some worries or unrealistic desires are occupying your mind, you can read those posts to get rid of them.
One Step at a Time
Let’s be realistic. It’s not possible to get rid of all of your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits, at once. The idea here is to spot what takes most of the time, attention, and energy and let it go. Once that is complete, move on to the second one on the list.
You won’t be able to clean up 99% of your mental bandwidth in a single day or month. But what you can do is to let something go every day, be it a thought, an object, or a habit. If you keep doing that, you will have immense mental bandwidth freed up over time. 1% daily improvements result in 38X improvement over a year.
Now, imagine what you can do with all of that freed up mental bandwidth? How you can focus all of that mental power onto a project that truly matters. Think about all the new ideas and opportunities that will emerge from the freed up space and time? How would your life change within a year or two? Isn’t it worth trying to clean up your mind and your life?
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.