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From the desk of Coach James

How to have a good day without stalling your engine

My grandparents bought a new car a few months ago. After much deliberation they selected the new car and drove it off the garage forecourt, with a sense of pride in owning a shiny and new motor.

It wasn’t long before the car started playing up and not performing as it should. My gran said that perhaps it was the way Grandad was driving it, to which he retorted, “I’ve been driving for over 60 years, I think I know what I’m doing.”

When the car was taken to the garage, being deemed to be faulty, it was soon established that my grandfather – an expert driver, with over 60-years’ experience – had not been starting the car properly. Imagine that; times have changed.

This little real-life scenario demonstrates nicely something that I don’t think many people appreciate. The way you start your day, impacts the rest of your day. Just like the car, if you don’t start it properly, it will quickly stall, soon after you get going.

If we start our day the right way it is easier to keep it that way, than if we bump start it and then grind to a halt, and then lack the motivation to do another bump start.

We were never taught this – along with a lot of other valuable life hack skills – in school, and at a loss, the world created Eleven’s, otherwise known as a coffee break at 11am. But in fairness, if you start work at 9, do you need a break at 11 to get you to lunch at 1pm?

It is becoming trendy to start your day with mindfulness meditation, I have noticed by studying a few elite-entrepreneurs. I wrote how meditation had a profound effect on myself, helping me to be more at peace with the world, and generally happier. When I was researching to write the book HTHFT I came across a presentation from Babette Rothschild, a trauma therapist. Babette did a demonstration where she shook a bottle of fizzy drink really hard. We all know what happens when you shake up a bottle of fizzy drink, it will fizz and spill out, or explode, if it cannot release the gas. This is a good metaphor for a highly stressed person (ready to explode). If we let the bottle settle before shaking it any more, it will be less volatile and able to withstand more stress (shaking). For myself I feel that meditation is a way of letting the fizz settle before it all gets to much – it’s like re-setting the stress thermostat to zero.

If we begin our day by resetting our stress tolerance thermostat to zero, the better able we are to deal with life/work through the day. You can also stop and breathe, to meditate to reset yourself at any moment of the day.

If we start our psychological engines in a good way before heading into our busy day, then you might notice things run a lot more smoothly. I also mention in HTHFT the powerful effects of exercise. I find exercise is the ultimate starter of a great day; it get’s your heart pumping, you come home feeling accomplished, and it puts you in a good state for the day ahead.

There are obviously many things you can do to set up your day well, but it is all about what works for you. If it’s singing in the shower, then sing!

Start your day the right way, and you may amaze yourself how much more productive and happier you feel. When you feel good, you do good.

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