Tag Archives: skills

The Spiritual Nature of Hair

“Our hair fashions might be just a trend, but if we investigate, we may find that we have been depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality.” -Yogi Bhajan

Consider the possibility that the hair on your head is there to do more than just look good. Man is the only creature who grows longer hair on his head as he grows into adulthood. Left uncut, your hair will grow to a particular length and then stop all by itself at the correct length for you. From a yogic perspective, hair is an amazing gift of nature that can actually help raise the Kundalini energy (creative life force), which increases vitality, intuition, and tranquility.

Cut Hair
Long ago people in many cultures didn’t cut their hair, because it was a part of who they were. There were no salons. Often, when people were conquered or enslaved, their hair was cut as a recognized sign of slavery. It was also understood that this would serve as punishment and decrease the power of those enslaved.

The bones in the forehead are porous and function to transmit light to the pineal gland, which affects brain activity, as well as thyroid and sexual hormones. Cutting bangs which cover the forehead impedes this process.

When Genghis Khan conquered China, he considered the Chinese to be a very wise, intelligent people who would not allow themselves to be subjugated. He therefore required all women in the country to cut their hair and wear bangs, because he knew this would serve to keep them timid and more easily controlled.

As whole tribes or societies were conquered, cut hair became so prevalent that the importance of hair was lost after a few generations, and hairstyles and fashion grew to be the focus.

The science of hair was one of the first technologies given by Yogi Bhajan when he came to America.

“When the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D are all produced, and enter the lymphatic fluid, and eventually the spinal fluid through the two ducts on the top of the brain. This ionic change creates more efficient memory and leads to greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience.”
Yogi Bhajan explained that if you choose to cut your hair, you not only lose this extra energy and nourishment, but your body must then provide a great amount of vital energy and nutrients to continually re-grow the missing hair.

In addition, hairs are the antennas that gather and channel the sun energy or prana to the frontal lobes, the part of the brain you use for meditation and visualization. These antennas act as conduits to bring you greater quantities of subtle, cosmic energy. It takes approximately three years from the last time your hair was cut for new antennas to form at the tips of the hair.

Kundalini Hair Care

In India, a Rishi is known as a wise one who coils his or her hair up on the crown of the head during the day to energize the brain cells, and then combs it down at night. A ‘rishi knot’ energizes your magnetic field (aura) and stimulates the pineal gland in the center of your brain.

“This activation of your pineal results in a secretion that is central to the development of higher intellectual functioning, as well as higher spiritual perception.” -Yogi Bhajan

During the day, the hair absorbs solar energy, but at night it absorbs lunar energy. Keeping the hair up during the day and down at night aids in this process. Braiding your hair at night will help your electromagnetic field balance out from the day.

Split Ends

Loose scattered hair can develop split ends. Instead of trimming them and losing your antennas, Yogi Bhajan recommends applying a small amount of almond oil to your hair overnight so that it can be absorbed before you wash it the next morning. Keeping your hair coiled on your crown and protected with a head covering during the day will help your antennas heal. If you have long hair, see if your experience is different when it is clean and coiled at your crown, or down and loose.

Wet Hair

One year after Winter Solstice, when Yogi Bhajan was sitting in our living room with wet hair, he explained that he was drying it before putting it up in order to avoid a headache. When you put your hair up wet, it will tend to shrink and tighten a bit and even break as it dries. A better idea is to occasionally take the time to sit in the sun and allow your clean, wet hair to dry naturally and absorb some extra vitamin D.

Yogis recommend shampooing the hair every 72 hours (or more frequently if the scalp sweats a great deal). It can also be beneficial to wash your hair after being upset to help process emotions.

Yogis also recommend using a wooden comb or brush for combing your hair as it gives a lot of circulation and stimulation to the scalp, and the wood does not create static electricity, which causes a loss of the hair’s energy to the brain. You will find that, if you comb your hair and scalp front to back, back to front, and then to the right and left several times, it will refresh you, no matter how long your hair is.

All the tiredness of your day will be gone. For women, it is said that using this technique to comb your hair twice a day can help maintain youth, a healthy menstrual cycle, and good eyesight.

If you are bald or balding, the lack of hair energy can be counteracted with more meditation. If you are finding some silver strands in your hair, be aware that the silver or white color increases the vitamins and energy flow to compensate for aging. For better brain health as you age, try to keep your hair as natural and healthy as you can.

Tagore’s Hair

Yogi Bhajan told us this story about hair many years ago at Women’s Camp in New Mexico: Recognize how beautiful and powerful your hair is—when you keep it, you live a life of fulfillment in this world. When Rabindranath Tagore, the great poet who found God within himself, tried to meet a friend on a steamer ship, the friend didn’t recognize him and so wrote him a letter.

“We were on the same steamer, but I didn’t find you.” Tagore said, “I was there.” His friend said, “I understand you are now a God-realized man, and I would like to know what your first action was when you became aware of the Oneness in all.” Tagore said, “When I realized the Oneness of all, I threw my shaving kit into the ocean. I gave up my ego and surrendered to nature. I wanted to live in the form that my Creator has given me.”

When humans allow their hair to grow, they are welcoming the maturity, the responsibility of being fully-grown, and fully powerful. That is why you will find grace and calmness in a person with uncut hair from birth, if it is kept well. The Creator has a definite reason for giving you hair.

It is said that when you allow your hair to grow to its full length and coil it on the crown of the head, the sun energy, pranic life force, is drawn down the spine. To counteract that downward movement, the Kundalini life energy rises to create balance. In Yogi Bhajan’s words, “Your hair is not there by mistake. It has a definite purpose, which saints will discover and other men will laugh at.”

Deva Kaur Khalsa trains Kundalini Yoga Teachers and teaches Kundalini Yoga in South Florida. She was a student of Yogi Bhajan for over 39 years. She is co-owner of Yoga Source in Coral Springs, Florida


The Truth About Hair and Why Indians Would Keep Their Hair Long
by C. Young

This information about hair has been hidden from the public since the Viet Nam War.
Our culture leads people to believe that hair style is a matter of personal preference, that hair style is a matter of fashion and/or convenience, and that how people wear their hair is simply a cosmetic issue. Back in the Vietnam war however, an entirely different picture emerged, one that has been carefully covered up and hidden from public view.

In the early nineties, Sally [name changed to protect privacy] was married to a licensed psychologist who worked at a VA Medical hospital. He worked with combat veterans with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Most of them had served in Vietnam.

Sally said, “I remember clearly an evening when my husband came back to our apartment on Doctor’s Circle carrying a thick official looking folder in his hands. Inside were hundreds of pages of certain studies commissioned by the government. He was in shock from the contents. What he read in those documents completely changed his life. From that moment on my conservative middle of the road husband grew his hair and beard and never cut them again. What is more, the VA Medical center let him do it, and other very conservative men in the staff followed his example.

As I read the documents, I learned why. It seems that during the Vietnam War special forces in the war department had sent undercover experts to comb American Indian Reservations looking for talented scouts, for tough young men trained to move stealthily through rough terrain. They were especially looking for men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities. Before being approached, these carefully selected men were extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival.

With the usual enticements, the well proven smooth phrases used to enroll new recruits, some of these Indian trackers were then enlisted. Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field.

Serious causalities and failures of performance led the government to contract expensive testing of these recruits, and this is what was found.

When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistently that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ‘sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ‘sixth sense’, their ‘intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ‘read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.


So the testing institute recruited more Indian trackers, let them keep their long hair, and tested them in multiple areas. Then they would pair two men together who had received the same scores on all the tests. They would let one man in the pair keep his hair long, and gave the other man a military haircut. Then the two men retook the tests.
Time after time the man with long hair kept making high scores. Time after time, the man with the short hair failed the tests in which he had previously scored high scores.

Here is a Typical Test:

The recruit is sleeping out in the woods. An armed ‘enemy’ approaches the sleeping man. The long haired man is awakened out of his sleep by a strong sense of danger and gets away long before the enemy is close, long before any sounds from the approaching enemy are audible.

In another version of this test the long haired man senses an approach and somehow intuits that the enemy will perform a physical attack. He follows his ‘sixth sense’ and stays still, pretending to be sleeping, but quickly grabs the attacker and ‘kills’ him as the attacker reaches down to strangle him.

This same man, after having passed these and other tests, then received a military haircut and consistently failed these tests, and many other tests that he had previously passed.

So the document recommended that all Indian trackers be exempt from military haircuts. In fact, it required that trackers keep their hair long.”

Comment:

The mammalian body has evolved over millions of years. Survival skills of human and animal at times seem almost supernatural. Science is constantly coming up with more discoveries about the amazing abilities of man and animal to survive. Each part of the body has highly sensitive work to perform for the survival and well being of the body as a whole. The body has a reason for every part of itself.

Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ‘feelers’ or ‘antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brain stem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.

Not only does hair in people, including facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment. This has been seen in Kirlian photography when a person is photographed with long hair and then rephotographed after the hair is cut.

When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in numbing-out .

Cutting of hair is a contributing factor to unawareness of environmental distress in local ecosystems. It is also a contributing factor to insensitivity in relationships of all kinds. It contributes to sexual frustration.

Conclusion:

In searching for solutions for the distress in our world, it may be time for us to consider that many of our most basic assumptions about reality are in error. It may be that a major part of the solution is looking at us in the face each morning when we see ourselves in the mirror.

The story of Sampson and Delilah in the Bible has a lot of encoded truth to tell us. When Delilah cut Sampson’s hair, the once undefeatable Sampson was defeated.

Reported by C. Young


“Human Hair – A Biological Necessity”
by Dr. Birendra Kaur.
Nature (Wahe Guru) put every hair on your body for a reason. The hair of the legs regulates the glandular system and stabilizes a person’s electromagnetic field. The hair under the armpits protects the very sensitive area where the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems come together; this affects the brain and your energy level. Eyebrows protect the eyes from sun and sweat. Facial hair on men covers the moon center on the chin and protects them from excessive moon energy. The hair on top of the head is very long, while the hair on the body is short. If it were only for warmth, the hair on the body would be long also. We only have long hair right over the brain. We are practically the only creatures designed this way. Hair is your antenna to receive a picture of the subtle world around you, to tell when people are lying, to feel things before they happen, etc..

The natural intelligence of the body is to maintain its hairs. If you allow the hair on the head to grow undisturbed; it will grow to a certain length required by your body and then it will stop. Perhaps you have noticed among Sikhs who do not cut their hair that hair length is different for each person. Each body has its own requirement. The hair also reflects the health of the individual.

It has been proven scientifically that people who have long hair tend to be less tired, more energetic and less likely to become depressed. People who have long hair also conserve energy and don’t feel the cold of winter the same as people with short hair. A person who has short hair wastes his body’s energy. A person who cuts his hair over his lifetime forces the body to grow 22 meters of replacement hair. A person who keeps his hair only produces 1.5 meters of hair over his lifetime.

Think of the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible! He lost his strength when she cut his hair! Another example of the power of hair: To humiliate the conquered people of China, Genghis Khan made them cut their hair and wear bangs over the forehead! (Bangs cover the 3rd eye, inhibiting intuition and subtle knowledge.)

Hair is a conductor of the body’s electromagnetic energy. Ever see how the antenna wire in an AM radio is coiled in a circle? That’s because of something called induction. Induction causes any conductor of electromagnetic energy to induce a current in adjacent conductors. This means that when you coil a conductor, the signal becomes much stronger. Hairs on top of the head act as antennae. They conduct energy into the body.

Also, wearing the hair on top of the head protects the top of the head from sun and exposure, as well as channeling solar energy and improving vitamin D absorbtion. Yogis and Sikhs do not cut their hair, they coil or knot it on top of head on their solar center. In men the solar center is on top of the head at the front (anterior fontanel). Women have two solar centers: one is at the center of the crown chakra, the other is on top of the head towards the back (posterior fontanel). For both men and women, coiling or knotting the hair at the solar center channels one’s radiant energy and helps retain a spiritual focus.
This hair knot is traditionally called the “rishi” knot. In ancient times, a rishi was someone who had the capacity to control the flow of energy and prana in the body. A “maharishi” was someone who could regulate the flow of energy in the body, meditatively and at will. The rishi knot assists in the channeling of energy in meditation (Naam Simran). If one cuts off the hair, there can be no rishi knot. By giving us the rishi knot (and the turban) the Guru gave his Sikhs the blessing to have the capacity of a rishi.
Bonus Article – Click here

Share

The TV and Your Brain … thanks Hems

Note: I’ve put it under health because I think it’s a HUGE one for mental health.

This is how the act of watching TV destroys your brain.

Have you ever overheard an intense or heart-wrenching discussion only to find out the talkers were actually hashing out the lives of fictional TV characters? Do you ever wonder why people are so easily beguiled into trusting the talking heads?

It might not be such a mystery when you find out how easy it is for TV programming – the waves it emits, the storytelling – to override basic brain function and even damage your body.

Reported earlier by Truthstream Media:

Back in 1969, a man named Herbert Krugman conducted a series of experiments regarding the effect of television on a person’s brainwaves. What he found was pretty startling:

“Krugman monitored a person through many trials and found that in less than one minute of television viewing, the person’s brainwaves switched from Beta waves — brainwaves associated with active, logical thought — to primarily Alpha waves. When the subject stopped watching television and began reading a magazine, the brainwaves reverted to Beta waves.”

‘Beta’ is considered a normal, awake state, while ‘Alpha’ waves are experienced in a deep relaxation or ‘daydreaming’ state. When in the Alpha state, a person is subjected to a passive learning experience with the right side of the brain at the wheel, leaving critical thinking skills behind.

When scientists study these effects, we often find out later that they were only trying to help corporate advertisers better influence you. They have even found that the brains of people watching movies together are snyced up! Is that a “syn” against individuality?

Jerry Mander also discussed the damages of unbridled technology like television in “Questions We Should Have Asked About Technology.” Even in the 1970s, he was arguing for the elimination of television. One of his reasons was the “death culture” – all the story lines, especially in the news were heading toward death obsession. Think about how that has changed in 40 years and what that does to already hopeless people? That’s entertainment?

Speaking of which, here is a video that shows how television affects your brain chemistry for the worst. Yes, the waves entrain your brain for the greatest suggestibility – but it gets worse. Your mind gets confused and derailed by the condensed and unrealistic story lines. The imagery creates plenty of stress hormones – like the constant release of adrenaline – but with no outlet because we consciously try to tell ourselves that it’s just a show. Apparently, the brain and body disagree.

Does that explain how TV creates an artificial “high” and addiction?

The Plug-In Drug is a book that explains your brain on television and computers in greater detail.

Have you given up television? What were the results, good or bad?

Save a brain – SHARE this story!

About the Author

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

**This article was originally featured at Activist Post.**

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Share

Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work

We have all heard this advice: Set goals if you want to accomplish anything substantial. That advice comes from personal coaches, self-help gurus, management consultants, managers and executives and is deeply imbedded in leadership practices.

In organizations, “stretch goals,” or “hairy audacious goals,” as a management motivational and performance strategy, is widely practiced.  Yet, there is evidence that goal setting may actually be counter productive if not a waste of time.

Our society, at both the individual level and in organizations, has an obsession with goal setting, particularly “stretch” goals or “audacious goals.” We tie goals to accomplishment. In our culture, an individual or organizations cannot be considered successful unless goals are achieved. And the usual motivation method used by leaders to achieve these goals is the continual focus on “improvement,” “bigger and better,” through harder and harder work, and increased productivity. And the way to measure that success is to measure goal attainment.

The following is a typical template for goal setting:

  • Write down the goals;
  • Make goals specific and clear;
  • Indicate how you’ll measure goal accomplishment;
  • Have goal timelines and deadlines;
  • State goals in terms of specific outcomes or results;
  • Attach rewards, incentives for attainment and punishment for failure.

The support for setting goals has reportedly come from both academic/research sources and popular self-help sources. With the respect to the first, researchers reportedly surveyed the graduating seniors from the class of 1953 at Yale University. They asked if the class members had written goals for their future. Three percent did. The rest did not. Twenty years later, researchers were said to have gone back to the surviving members of the class. They discovered that those with written life goals had accumulated more wealth than all their classmates put together.

The only problem with this powerful finding is that there was no such study. Researchers at Yale and members of the class of 1953 all swear they never conducted or participated in any such study.

The second source of support has come from such self-help sources as The Secret, which encourages people to set ambitious goals through a process of visualization. There is no study that I am aware of that demonstrates a causal link between visualizing goals and their attainment.

Despite the popularity of goal setting, there is compelling evidence that regardless of good intentions and effort, people and organizations consistently fall short of achieving their goals. More often than not, the fault is attributed to the goal setter. But the real problem may be in the efficacy of goal setting itself.

What’s Wrong With Setting Ambitious Goals?

Click to get the book or ebook


Aubrey Daniels, in his book, Oops! 13 Management Practices That Waste Time And Money,(link is external) argues that stretch goals are an ineffective management practice. Daniels cites a study that shows when individuals repeatedly fail to reach stretch goals, their performance declines. Another study showed 10% of employees actually achieved stretch goals. Daniels argues that goals are motivating people only when they have received positive rewards and feedback from reaching them in the past.

The Center For Disease Control estimates that 34% of Americans are overweight and a further 34% are obese, which means almost 70% of the population are dangerously unhealthy. That’s a curious result, despite the proliferation of weight loss programs that usually focus on weight-loss goals. The easy explanation would be to attribute fault to individual for lack of will or effort. But the problem may be inherent in the validity of goal setting.

Sim Sitkin a Duke University business school professor, completed a study(link is external) of stretch goals, and found they were most likely to be pursued by desperate, embattled companies that would have difficulty adapting if the goals failed. He says: “We conclude that stretch goals are, paradoxically, most seductive for organizations that can least afford the risks associated with them.”

L.A. King and C.M. Burton in an article entitled, The Hazards of Goal Pursuit(link is external), for the American Psychological Association, argue that goals should be used only in the narrowest of circumstances: “The optimally striving individual ought to endeavor to achieve and approach goals that only slightly implicate the self; that are only moderately important, fairly easy, and moderately abstract; that do not conflict with each other, and that concern the accomplishment of something other than financial gain.”

Adam Galinsky, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and one of the authors of a Harvard Business School report called Goals Gone Wild(link is external),” argues that “goal setting has been treated like an over-the-counter medication when it should really be treated with more care, as a prescription-strength mediation.” He argues that goal setting can focus attention too much or on the wrong things and can lead people to participate in extreme behaviors to achieve the goals.

The authors of Goals Gone Wild, have identified several specific negative side effects associated with goal setting: “An overly narrow focus that neglects non-goal areas; a rise in unethical behavior; distorted risk preferences; corrosion of organizational culture; and reduced intrinsic motivation.”

Maurice Schweitzer of the University of Pennsylvania and Lisa Ordonez of the University of Arizona, co-authors of Goals Gone Wild, have studied the psychology of goal attainment, and in several experiments have shown that when people self-report their achievement of goals, if they are not entirely successful, a significant percentage of them lie to make up the difference.

One inherent problem with goal setting is related to how the brain works. Recentneuroscience research shows the brain works in a protective way, resistant to change. Therefore, any goals that require substantial behavioral change, or thinking-pattern change, will automatically be resisted. The brain is wired to seek rewards and avoid pain or discomfort, including fear.  When fear of failure creeps into the mind of the goal setter, it becomes a “demotivator,” with a desire to return to known, comfortable behavior and thought patterns.

Examples of Goal Setting Gone Wrong

In the early 2000’s , General Motors had set a goal to capture 29% of the American auto market. It even produced corporate pins for people to wear with the number 29 on them. Needless to say they never achieved that goal, and without a government bailout, GM may not have even survived.

In the early 1990s, Sears gave a sales quota of $147 per hour to its auto repair staff. Faced with this target, the staff overcharged for work and performed unnecessary repairs. Sears’ Chairman at the time, Ed Brennan, acknowledged that the stretch goal gave employees a powerful incentive to deceive customers.

Or take the Ford Pinto. Presented with a goal to build a car “under 2,000 pounds and under $2,000 by 1970, employees overlooked safety testing and designed a car where the gas tank was vulnerable to explosion from rear-end collisions. Fifty-three people died as a result.

In the late 1990s, specific, challenging goals fueled energy-trading company Enron’s rapid financial success. Dan Ackman(link is external), writing in Forbes compares Enron’s incentive system to “paying a salesman a commission based on the volume of sales and letting him set the price of goods sold.” Even during Enron’s final days, Enron executives were rewarded with large bonuses for meeting specific revenue goals. In sum, “Enron executives were meeting their goals, but they were the wrong goals,” according to employee compensation expert Solange Charas. By focusing on revenue rather than profit, Enron executives drove the company into the ground.

Max Bazerman, a Harvard Business School professor and co-author of Goals Gone Wild, argues the following in the study:

  • People can focus so much on reaching the stretch goal that they fail to realize how this has dumped other work on their co-workers.
  • With goals, people narrow their focus. This intense focus can blind people to important issues that appear unrelated to their goal;
  • A related problem occurs when employees pursue multiple goals at one time. Individuals with multiple goals are prone to concentrate on only one goal;
  • Overemphasis on short-term thinking. Goals that emphasize immediate performance (e.g., this quarter’s profits) prompt managers to engage in myopic, short-term behavior that harms the organization in the long run;
  • People motivated by specific, challenging goals adopt riskier strategies and choose riskier gambles than do those with less challenging or vague goals;
  • Goal setting can promote two different types of cheating behavior. First, when motivated by a goal, people may choose to use unethical methods to reach it; second, goal setting can motivate people to misrepresent their performance level—in other words, to report that they met a goal when in fact they fell short;
  • Goals create a culture of competition. Organizations that rely heavily on goal setting may erode the foundation of cooperation that holds groups together;
  • As goal setting increases extrinsic motivation, it can harm intrinsic motivation – engaging in a task for its own sake;

So What’s The Alternative?

In his classic article, “Small Wins(link is external),” psychologist Karl Weick argued that people often become overwhelmed and discouraged when faced with massive and complex problems. He advocated recasting larger problems into smaller, tractable challenges that produce visible results, and maintained that the strategy of “small wins” can often generate more action and more complete solutions to major problems because it enables people to make slow, steady progress.

Click to get the book, ebook or audiobook


In their recent book, The Progress Principle(link is external), Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer build on the same argument and clearly demonstrate how even the smallest, most mundane steps forward — for example, achieving clear consensus in a meeting — can motivate and inspire workers. Ever wonder why people will so often write down an item they’ve already completed on theirto-do-list? It’s so that they can have the satisfaction of immediately crossing it off and experiencing the sense of progress(link is external).

Focusing on small wins in combination with process improvement will driveyourorganizationforward without the negative consequences of stretch goals. However, this approach requires a willingness to abandon the “ready, fire, aim” approach to problem solving. The heavy lifting has to be done at the outset(link is external) — a deepunderstanding of the current condition is a prerequisite for true improvement. This approach also requires a subtle — but critical — shift in focus from improving outcome metrics to improving the process by which those outcomes are achieved.

If You Must Set Goals

If you must set goals, consider these questions to guide you, suggested by Max Bazerman:

  • Are the goals too specific? Narrow goals can blind people to important aspects of a problem. Be sure that goals are comprehensive and include all of the critical components for firm success (e.g., quantity and quality);
  • Are the goals too challenging? What will happen if goals are not met? How will individual employees and outcomes be evaluated? Will failure harm motivation and self-efficacy? Provide skills and training to enable employees to reach goals. Avoid harsh punishment for failure to reach a goal;
  • Who sets the goals? People will become more committed to goals they help to set. At the same time, people may be tempted to set easy to reach goals;
  • Is the time horizon appropriate? Be sure that short-term efforts to reach a goal do not harm investment in long-term outcomes. For example, consider eliminating quarterly reports as Coca-Cola did;
  • Consider how might goals influence risk taking? Be sure to articulate acceptable levels of risk;
  • Consider how might goals motivate unethical behavior? Goals narrow focus, such that employees may be less likely to recognize ethical issues. Goals also induce employees to rationalize their unethical behavior and can corrupt organizational cultures. Multiple safeguards may be necessary to ensure ethical behavior while attaining goals (e.g., leaders as exemplars of ethical behavior, making the costs of cheating far greater than the benefit, strong oversight);
  • Can goals be idiosyncratically tailored for individual abilities and circumstances while preserving fairness? Strive to set goals that use common standards and account for individual variation;
  • How will goals influence organizational culture? If cooperation is essential, consider setting team-based rather than individual goals;
  • Are individuals intrinsically motivated? Assess intrinsic motivation and recognize that goals can curtail intrinsic motivation;
  • Consider the ultimate goals of the organization and what type of goal (performance or learning) is most appropriate? In complex, changing environments learning goals may be more effective.

The Psychological Manifestations

Finally, there are psychological manifestations of not achieving goals that may be more damaging that not having any goals at all. The process sets up desires that are removed from everyday reality. Whenever we desire things that we don’t have, we set our brain’s nervous system to produce negative emotions. Second, highly aspirational goals require us to develop new competencies, some of which may be beyond current capabilities. As we develop these competencies, we are likely to experience failures, which then become de-motivational. Thirdly, goal setting sets up an either-or polarity of success. The only true measure can either be 100% attainment or perfection, or 99% and less, which is failure. We can then excessively focus on the missing or incomplete part of our efforts, ignoring the successful parts. Fourthly, goal setting doesn’t take into account random forces of chance. You can’t control all the environmental variables to guarantee 100% success.

The other problem is that goals are often cast in the image of the ideal or perfection, which activates the self-judging thinking of “I should be this way.” This counteracts the positive need for self-acceptance.

And if the goal is not attained, we can often engage in thinking we are failures, not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough, etc. So the non-attainment of goals can create emotions of unworthiness.

We must also make a distinction between our intentions vs. goals. An intention is a direction we want to pursue, preferably with passion. My experience is that people are often confused, and unclear about the intentions of how they want to live and achieve, and therefore a focus on goals doesn’t assist them with clarifying their intentions.

When I work with people as their coach and mentor, they often tell me they’ve set goals such as “I want to be wealthy,” or “I want to be more beautiful/popular,” “I want a better relationship/ideal partner.” They don’t realize they’ve just described the symptoms or outcomes of the problems in their life. The cause of the problem, which many resist facing, is themselves. They don’t realize that for a change to occur, if one is desirable, they must change themselves. Once they make the personal changes, everything around them can alter, which may make the goal irrelevant.

There’s an old saying: “you don’t get what you want in life, you get in life what you are.”

Ray Williams
Paras note: Even though I still think it’s good to have an intention to reach your ‘goal’ I found something better. Jaydeep shared a great post which I’m still getting my head around. The feeling with which you sow the seeds of your actions, you will reap the same kind of results too – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Says a lot for people who do good and still suffer. A spiritual version of Newton’s 3rd law.
Feelings Reap Sow
Share

Millionaire entrepreneur explains why cycling (and not golf) is the new sport of choice for young professionals

You won’t find serial entrepreneur Max Levchin on the links anytime soon.

Every week it seems like there’s a new story with the headline “Cycling Is The New Golf.”

While golf “still commands the highest portion of participants with household incomes above $US100,000 among popular sports,” according to Reuters, its popularity is waning, and thenumber of courses has been on the decline in the U.S. the past eight years.

The Economist says “golf’s appeal has become its undoing. Its meditative quality does not suit the frenetic pace of modern life.”

Many articles point to cycling as — yes — the new golf.

(That Tiger Woods is playing worse than ever before, and is now taking a break from golf, does not help.)

So when I recently profiled Max Levchin — who cofounded PayPal, sold Slide to Google for $US228 million, sits on the boards of Yahoo and Yelp, and is now busy leading Affirm and Glow— I asked him if he actually thought cycling was the new golf.

Here is what Levchin, a hardcore cyclist, told me [emphasis mine]:

In Silicon Valley — and the East Coast as well now — there are lots of successful companies with younger executives. The sport of choice where deals are made and ideas are thrown around and relationships are forged is definitely traditionally golf. That’s where you don’t have to sweat — you just walk around with people you like, and occasionally pretend like you’re doing something physical […] but it’s not very quantified. It’s just kind of aim, hit the ball, and pray. I’m sure the skills involved eventually remove the prayer necessity, buy it’s pretty open-ended.

So you have this current generation of young executives, and they’re not particularly interested in walking around slowly. They want to do something physical, especially outdoors. They are very quantified, because that’s definitely a thing now: It’s not so much fitness as they are interested in fitness that they can measure. So the blooming of the Fitbits and Misfits the Jawbones of the world is all about people saying, ‘I don’t have to go to the gym, feel crappy for an hour, and be thankful that it’s over.’ You can actually see what you’ve done. The quantified-self stuff has perforated the popular conscience.

Numbers from the National Golf Federation bear out Levchin’s analysis. Golf is becoming less popular overall every year, according to the NGF:

Meanwhile, according to USA Cycling, the number of people taking out a cycling licence from 2002 to 2013 increased a whopping 76%:

But it’s not just about quantifying workouts. There’s the bling factor, too, says Levchin:

There’s also the combination of quantified and social, and — for better or worse — the showing off of the equipment, which for cyclists is basically road jewelry. For golfers, it’s about having clubs of some special alloy or whatever craziness. It’s definitely very out of fashion to have an amazing house to show off, at least I feel that. The real-estate showiness is fading, and showing off your fitness and your fitness equipment is increasing.

Sure, cycling is expensive. You can easily spend 20 grand on a bike and full set of kit, but it’s easier for me to justify than spending 20 grand on a set of golf clubs I’ll never use.

And speaking of $US20,000 bikes, here’s our marked-up picture of Levchin’s road bike, a limited-edition Cervélo Rca, which we figure costs at least 20 grand (more photos here):

So if you’re seeing fewer and fewer young entrepreneurs and executives out on the links, it could be because they’re out on the road.

It would appear that golf has run its green course, at least for young professionals.
Share

The Ultimate Goals Program by (Audiobook/Program) Brian Tracy

The Ultimate Goals Program – How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by (Audiobook/Program) Brian Tracy

Quick note: The book has a lot of great knowledge but if you’re like me and want to get down to business just answer all the below questions but make sure you set a special time to do it as it’s intense.

Click to get the audiobook


Breakdown of questions/exercise/notes:
Unlocking Your True Potential
1. Imagine that you have the inborn ability to achieve any goal you could ever set for yourself. What do you really want to be, have, and do?
2. What are the activities that give you your greatest sense of meaning and purpose in life?
3. Look at your personal and work life today and identify how your own thinking has created your world. What should you, could you, change?
4. What do you think and talk about most of the time: what you want or what you don’t want?
5. What is the price you will have to pay to achieve the goals that are most important to you?
6. What one action should you take immediately as the result of your answers to the above questions?

Taking Charge of Your Life
1. Identify your biggest problem or source of negativity in life today. In what ways are you responsible for this situation?
2. See yourself as the President of your own company. How would you act differently if you owned 100% of the shares?
3. Resolve today to stop blaming anyone else for anything and instead accept complete responsibility in every area of your life. What actions should you be taking?
4. Stop making excuses and start making progress. List some of your favorite excuses. Now, imagine that they have no basis in fact and act accordingly.
5. See yourself as the primary creative force in your own life. You are where you are and what you are because of your own choices and decisions. What should you change?
6. Make a list of anyone you need to forgive in your life. Now, resolve today to forgive anyone who has ever hurt you in any way. Let it go. Refuse to discuss it again. Instead, get so busy working on something that is important to you that you don’t have time to think about it again.

Creating Your Future and Clarifying Your Values
1. Imagine that there is a solution to every problem, a way to overcome every limitation, and no limit on achieving every goal you can set for yourself. What would you do differently?
2. Practice “back from the future thinking.” Project forward five years and look back to the present. What would have to have happened for your world to be ideal?
3. Imagine your financial life were perfect in every way. How much would you be earning? How much would you be worth? What steps could you take, starting today, to make these goals a reality?
4. Imagine your family and personal life were perfect. What would it look like? What should you start doing more or less of, starting today?
5. Plan your perfect calendar. Design your year from January to December as if you had no limitations. What would you change, starting today?
6. Imagine that your levels of health and fitness were perfect in every way. What could you do, starting today, to make your vision into a reality?
7. Make a list of 3-5 of your most important values in life today. What do you really believe in and stand for?
8. What qualities and values are you best known for today among the people who know you?
9. What do you consider to be the most important values guiding your relationships?
10. What are your values regarding money and financial success? Are you practicing these values daily?
11. Describe your picture of an ideal person, the person you would most want to be if you had no limitations.
12. Write your own obituary, to be read to your friends and family at your funeral, exactly as you would like to be remembered.
13. What one change could you make in your behavior today that would help you to live in greater harmony with your values?

Deciding Your True Goals and Your Major Definite Purpose
1. Write down your three most important goals in life right now.
2. What are your three most pressing problems or worries right now?
3. If you won a million dollars cash, tax free, what changes in your life would you make immediately?
4. What do you really love to do? What gives you the greatest feelings of value, importance, and satisfaction?
5. If you could wave a magic wand over your life and have anything you wanted, what would you wish for?
6. What would you do, how would you spend your time, if you only had six months left to live?
7. What would you really want to do with your life, especially if you had no limitations?
8. What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?
9. Make a list of ten goals you would like to achieve in the months and years ahead, in the present tense. Select the one goal from that list that would have the greatest positive impact on your life.
10. Determine how you will measure progress and success in the achieving of this goal. Write it down.
11. Make a list of everything you can think of to do that will move you toward your goal. Take immediate action on at least one thing.
12. Determine the price you will have to pay in additional work, time, and commitment to achieve your goal, and then get busy paying that price.

Analyzing Your Beliefs and Getting Started
1. “Act as if!” If you were one of the most competent and highly respected people in your field, how would you think, act, and feel differently from today?
2. Imagine that you have a “golden touch” with regard to money. If you were an extremely competent money manager, how would you handle your finances?
3. Identify the self-limiting beliefs that could be holding you back. How would you act if they were completely untrue?
4. Select a belief that you would most like to have about yourself at a deep inner level. Pretend as if you already believe this to be true.
5. Look into the most difficult situation you are dealing with right now. What valuable lessons does it contain that can help you to be better in the future?
6. Determine the reality of your current situation relative to your major goals. Where are you now and how far do you have to go?
7. Apply the zero-based thinking principle to every area of your life. What are you doing today that you wouldn’t get into again if you had it to do over, knowing what you now know?
8. Do a complete financial analysis of your life. How much are you earning today and how much are you worth? What are your goals in these areas?
9. Do a complete skills analysis on yourself and your work. Where are you good? Where do you need to improve?
10. Determine exactly how much you earn each hour and what it is you do to earn that amount. What do you have to do to increase your hourly rate in the months ahead?
11. Imagine your future were perfect in every way. What would have to happen to make that vision a reality?

Measuring Your Progress and Removing the Roadblocks
1. Determine a single measure that you can use to grade your progress and success in each area of life. Refer to it daily.
2. Determine the most important part of your job as it affects your income, and measure your daily activities in that area.
3. Set a minimum, specific amount for daily, weekly, and monthly saving and investment, and discipline yourself to put away those amounts.
4. Break down every large goal into measurable, controllable parts, then focus on accomplishing each part on a fixed deadline.
5. Make it a game with yourself to set benchmarks, measures, scorecards, targets and deadlines for every goal, then focus on those numbers and dates. The goals will take care of themselves.
6. Resolve to accomplish at least one specific part of a larger goal each day, and never miss a day.
7. Identify a major goal and then ask, “Why aren’t I there already? What is holding me back?” List everything you can think of.
8. Look inward and face the possibility that it is your own fears and doubts that are your biggest roadblocks to success.
9. Identify the constraint or limiting factor, in yourself or the situation, that sets the speed at which you achieve your goal.
10. Develop several definitions of your major problem or obstacle. Ask, “What else is the problem?”
11. Define your best solution as a goal, set a deadline, make a plan of action and then get busy on your plan. Work on it every day until the problem is solved or the obstacle is removed.

Becoming an Expert and Getting with the Right People
1. Resolve today to join the top 10% of people in your field. Make a lifelong commitment to excellence.
2. Identify the key result areas of your job, the things you “absolutely, positively” have to do well to be successful in your field.
3. Identify your weakest key area and start a “do-it-to-yourself” project to become excellent in that area.
4. Determine the additional knowledge you will need to get to the top of your field, then develop a plan to acquire that knowledge.
5. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning. Read, listen to audio programs, attend courses and seminars, then put what you learn into action as quickly as you can.
6. Make a list of the most important people in your work and business life. Develop a plan to help each person in some way.
7. Make a list of the most important people in your personal life and determine the kind of relationships you want to have with them. What will you have to do to achieve these relationships?
8. Identify the groups and organizations in your community and your field that would be helpful for you to join. Phone today and arrange to attend the next meeting.
9. Make a list of the top people in your community, or in your field, and make a plan to get to know them personally.
10. Look for every opportunity to expand your social and business circle. Send people letters, cards, faxes, and emails. Build bridges at every opportunity.

Making a Plan of Action and Managing Your Time Well
1. Make a list of everything that you can think of that you will have to do to achieve your goal. Leave nothing out.
2. Organize your list by priority; what is the most important task or activity? The second most important? And so on.
3. Organize your list by sequence. What must be done before something else can be done?
4. Determine how much time and money it will take to achieve your goal or complete your task. Do you have the time and resources necessary for success?
5. Revisit and revise your plan regularly, especially when you get new information or when things are not going as you had expected. Be prepared to change if you need to.
6. Make a list of everything you would like to be, do, or have in the months and years ahead. Analyze your list and select those items that can have the greatest possible consequences on your life.
7. The evening before, make a list of everything you have to do the next day. Let your subconscious mind work on your list while you sleep.
8. Organize your list by priority using the 80/20 Rule and the ABCDE Method. Before you begin, separate the urgent from the non-urgent and the important from the nonimportant.
9. Select the most important task, the one with the greatest possible consequences for completion or non-completion, and circle it, making it your A-1 job.
10. Begin immediately on your most important task and then discipline yourself to concentrate single-mindedly on this one task until it is 100% complete.

Your Goals — Review Regularly and Visualize Continually
1. If you haven’t already done so, write down 10-15 goals that you would like to achieve in the foreseeable future.
2. Create a set of 3×5 index cards with your goals written out in the positive, personal, present tense. Carry these with you wherever you go.
3. Each night before you go to sleep, visualize and imagine your goals as they would be when you have achieved them.
4. Think of three things you could do to achieve each of your goals. Always think in terms of specific actions you could take.
5. Discipline yourself to rewrite your goals every day, without reviewing your previous list, until you become absolutely convinced that achieving your goals is inevitable.
6. Project forward and imagine that your life were perfect in every respect. What would it look like? Whatever your answer, imagine this picture regularly.
7. Cut out pictures of the things you would like to have and the person you would like to be in the future. Look at these pictures and think about what you could do to turn them into reality.
8. Practice mental rehearsal before every event of importance. See yourself in your mind’s eye as performing at your very best in everything you do or attempt.
9. Continually feed your mind with clear, exciting, emotional pictures. Remember, your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.
10.Design your own dream house, dream business, or dream career. Write down every ingredient it would have if it were perfect in every respect. Visualize this as a reality every day.

Activating Your Superconscious Mind and Remaining Flexible
1. Recall a time when you had a superconscious experience that solved a problem or enabled you to achieve a goal. Reflect on the process and think about how you can duplicate it.
2. Select your most important goal, your major definite purpose, and visualize it clearly, over and over, with complete confidence that it will materialize at exactly the right time for you.
3. Begin the daily practice of solitude and meditation. During this time, just let your mind relax and float from subject to subject until exactly the right answer to the right question pops into your mind.
4. Make it a practice to take action on a superconscious idea as soon as it comes into your mind. Don’t hesitate. Have complete faith that only the best can happen when you trust in this power.
5. Try to solve your problem with single-minded concentration. If that doesn’t work, get your mind busy elsewhere. At exactly the right time, the ideal solution will emerge from your intuition or appear in your life.
6. Regularly ask yourself the question, “What do I really, really want to do with my life?” Then make sure that your current goals and activities are in harmony with your answer.
7. Be completely honest and realistic with your life and goals. Resolve to see the world as it is, not as you wish it were or could be. What changes does this practice suggest?
8. Be willing to admit, in each area of your life where you experience stress or resistance, that you could be wrong or that you have made a mistake. Resolve today to cut your losses wherever possible.
9. If the situation has changed, or you have new information, be willing to change your mind and make a new decision based on the facts as they exist today. Refuse to persist on a course of action that does not make good sense.
10. Look into each problem or obstacle you face and seek the valuable lesson or benefit it contains. Should you change your direction or course of action based on new information or experience? If so, do it now.

Unlocking Your Creativity and Moving Forward Every Day
1. Select your most important goal, or biggest problem, and write it at the top of a sheet of paper as a question. Then discipline yourself to generate 20 answers to that question, and immediately implement one of those answers.
2. Systematically approach every problem by defining it clearly, developing possible solutions, making a decision, then implementing the solution as soon as possible.
3. Think on paper. Write down every detail of a problem or goal and look for simple, practical ways to solve the problem or achieve the goal.
4. Identify the best and worst things that could happen to you in the months ahead. Determine what you could do to reduce the effects of the worst outcomes and maximize the benefits of the best possible outcomes.
5. You are only as free as your options. Develop a plan B for every important area of your business and personal life.
6. Resolve today to pick up the pace in your life. Move faster from task to task. Walk quickly. Develop a higher tempo of activity.
7. Imagine you were going away tomorrow for a month and you had to get caught up on everything before you left. Work as hard and as fast as you do just before you leave for vacation.
8. Practice tight time planning. Imagine that you only had half the time available to get the job done, and work with a sense of urgency all day long.
9. Continually ask for more responsibility, and when you get it, complete the task quickly and well. This one habit will continually open doors of opportunity for you.
10. From now on, resolve to get up one hour earlier and get going immediately. Work through lunchtime and coffee breaks. Stay an hour later to get caught up and ready for the next day. These additions will double your productivity and put you onto the fast track in your career.

Persist Until You Succeed and Take Action Today
1. Identify the biggest challenge or problem facing you today on the way to achieving your biggest goal. Imagine that it has been sent to test your resolve and desire. Decide that you will never give up.
2. Identify the occasions where your determination to persist was the key to your success. Remind yourself of those experiences whenever you face difficulties or discouragement of any kind.
3. Resolve in advance that as long as you intensely desire your goal, you will never give up until you achieve it.
4. Look into every problem, difficulty, obstacle, or setback for the seed of an equal or greater benefit or opportunity. You will always find something that can help you.
5. In every situation, resolve to be solution-oriented and action-oriented. Always think in terms of the things you can do right now to solve your problems or achieve your goals, and then get started! Never give up.

Don’t Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow —
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out —
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit —
It’s when things seem worst that you must not QUIT.

1. Unlock Your Potential — Always remember that your true potential is unlimited. Whatever you have accomplished in life up to now has only been a preparation for the amazing things you can accomplish in the future.
2. Take Charge of Your Life — You are completely responsible for everything you are today, for everything you think, say and do, and for everything you become from this moment forward. Refuse to make excuses or to blame others. Instead, make progress toward your goals every day.
3. Create Your Own Future — Imagine that you have no limitations on what you can do, be, or have in the months and years ahead. Think about and plan your future as if you had all the resources you needed to create any life that you desire.
4. Clarify Your Values — Your innermost values and convictions define you as a person. Take the time to think through what you really believe in and care about in each area of your life. Refuse to deviate from what you feel is right for you.
5. Determine Your True Goals — Decide for yourself what you really want to accomplish in every area of your life. Clarity is essential for happiness and highperformance living.
6. Decide Upon Your Major Definite Purpose — You need a central purpose to build your life around. There must be a single goal that will help you to achieve your other goals more than any other. Decide what it is for you and work on it all the time.
7. Analyze Your Beliefs — Your beliefs about your own abilities, and about the world around you, will have more of an impact on your feelings and actions than any other factor. Make sure that your beliefs are positive and consistent with achieving everything that is possible for you.
8. Start at the Beginning — Do a careful analysis of your starting point before you set off toward the achievement of your goal. Determine your exact situation today and be both honest and realistic about what you want to accomplish in the future.
9. Measure Your Progress — Set clear benchmarks, measures, metrics, and scorecards for yourself on the road to your goals. These measures help you to assess how well you are doing and enable you to make necessary adjustments and corrections as you go along.
10. Eliminate the Roadblocks — Success boils down to the ability to solve problems and remove obstacles on the path to your goal. Fortunately, problem solving is a skill you can master with practice, and thereby achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.
11. Become an Expert in Your Field — You have within you, right now, the ability to be one of the very best at what you do, to join the top 10% in your field. Set this as a goal, work on it every day, and never stop working at it until you get there.
12. Get Around the Right People — Your choices of people with whom to live, work, and socialize will have more of an affect on your success than any other factor. Resolve today to associate only with people you like, respect, and admire. Fly with the eagles if you want to be an eagle yourself.
13. Make a Plan of Action — An ordinary person with a well thought-out plan will run circles around a genius without one. Your ability to plan and organize in advance will enable you to accomplish even the biggest and most complex goals.
14. Manage Your Time Well — Learn how to double and triple your productivity, performance, and output by practicing practical and proven time management principles. Always set priorities before you begin, then concentrate on the most valuable use of your time.
15. Review Your Goals Regularly — Take time every day, every week, every month to review and reevaluate your goals and objectives. Make sure that you are still on track and that you are still working toward things that are important to you. Be prepared to modify your goals and plans with new information.
16. Continually Visualize Your Goals — Direct the movies of your mind. Your imagination is the preview of your life’s coming attractions. Repeatedly “see” your goals as if they already existed. Your clear, exciting mental images activate all your mental powers and attract your goals into your life.
17. Activate Your Superconscious Mind — You have within you and around you an incredible power that will bring you everything and anything you want or need. Take the time regularly to tap into this amazing source of ideas and insights for goal attainment.
18. Remain Flexible at All Times — Be clear about your goal, but be flexible about the process of achieving it. Be constantly open and aware of new, better, faster, cheaper ways to achieve the same result. If something is not working, be willing to try a different approach.
19. Unlock Your Inborn Creativity — You have more creative ability to solve problems and come up with new and better ways for goal attainment than you have ever used. You are a potential genius. You can tap into your intelligence to overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal you can set for yourself.
20. Do Something Every Day — Use the “Momentum Principle of Success” by getting started toward your goal and then doing something every day that moves you closer to what you want to accomplish. Action orientation is essential to your success.
21. Persist Until You Succeed — In the final analysis, your ability to persist longer than anyone else is the one quality that will guarantee great success in life. Persistence is self-discipline in action, and it is the true measure of your belief in yourself. Resolve in advance that you will never, never give up!

Table of Contents
Introduction
Session 1: Unlocking Your True Potential
Session 2: Taking Charge of Your Life
Session 3: Creating Your Future and Clarifying Your Values
Session 4: Deciding Your True Goals and Your Major Definite Purpose
Session 5: Analyzing Your Beliefs and Getting Started
Session 6: Measuring Your Progress and Removing the Roadblocks
Session 7: Becoming an Expert and Getting with the Right People
Session 8: Making a Plan of Action and Managing Your Time Well
Session 9: Your Goals — Review Regularly and Visualize Continually
Session 10: Activating Your Superconscious Mind and Remaining Flexible
Session 11: Unlocking Your Creativity and Moving Forward Every Day
Session 12: Persist Until You Succeed and Take Action Today
Summary

Share

Brain-Boosting Benefits of Biking

The Brain Science of Biking
Corbis Images You already love indoor cycling for its heart-pumping, calorie-torching, leg-shaking physical benefits, but it turns out that spinning your wheels it is also great exercise for your mind. Several new studies have found that cycling improves the way your brain works by making several important structures bigger so you can think faster, remember more, and feel happier. (Check out The Best Ways to Pump Up Your Mental Muscles.)

The brain is made up of two kinds of tissues: Grey matter, which has all the synapses and is the command center of your body, and white matter, which is the communication hub, using axons to connect the different parts of grey matter. The more white matter you have, the faster you can make important connections, so anything that increases white matter is good. A recent study from the Netherlands found that cycling does exactly that, improving both the integrity and density of white matter and speeding up connections in the brain.

White matter isn’t the only brain structure affected by cycling, however. Another study, published this year in the Journal of Diabetes Complications, found that after cycling for 12 weeks, participants gained more than just strength in their legs—they also saw a boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein responsible for regulating stress, mood, and memory. This might explain previous research that has found cycling to be associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. (And there are these 13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise too.)

You’ll not only feel mentally better after a ride, but you’ll actually be smarter. Biking, along with other types of aerobic exercise, has been shown to increase the hippocampus, one of several brain structures related to memory and learning. A study from the University of Illinois found that the hippocampus of participants grew two percent and improved their memory and problem solving skills by 15 to 20 percent after six months of cycling daily. Additionally, the cyclists reported a greater ability to focus and an improved attention span. To top it off, all of these perks seem to counteract the loss of brain function normally associated with aging, with the scientists noting that the cyclists’ brains appeared two years younger than their non-exercising peers.

“Increasingly, people are living more sedentary lifestyles. While we know that [cycling] can have positive effects on cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we have found it can bring about improvements in cognition, brain function, and brain structure,” said lead study author Art Kramer, Ph.D., director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, in an interview with The Telegraph.

He added that there’s no need to go all out to get the brain boosts, either. Most of the studies showed significant mental improvements after cyclists rode 30 minutes or less at a moderate intensity. And the results were consistent whether people rode their bikes inside or outdoors. (See 10 Ways to Go from Spin Class to the Road.)

Stronger neural connections, a better mood, and a sharper memory—in addition to better heart health, a lower risk of diabetes, and less incidence of cancer. With all these benefits, the only question now should be, “What time does that spin class start again?”

Share