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Why It Works

All right, so far we’ve learned FYMM and innovation, what’s the difference. We’ve learned what FYMM is, what it’s based upon. We’ve learned the six different strategies of The FYMM Way. Now, let’s break down into why it works, before we get into the strategies.

What it does is the small steps, like we talked about in the six strategies (if you notice, all of them say small this, small that.) With the small steps of FYMM, they disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play. Fear of change is rooted in the brain’s psychology. When fear takes hold, it can prevent creativity, change and success.

The brain has consistently evolved over the years. We have three separate brains. The challenge is to develop harmony among the different brains, so as to avoid physical and emotional illness and stress.

At the bottom of the brain, which we developed about 500 million years ago, and it’s called the reptile brain. This wakes you up in the morning time, it puts you to sleep at nighttime, and it tells your heart to beat. It’s the most animalistic, or whatever you want to call it, part of the brain.

Then we have the mid part. The mid part of the brain is about 300 million years old, and is the mammalian part of the brain. The mammal part, which makes us more into mammals. It regulates the body temperature, it houses our emotions and it governs the fight-or-flight response that keeps us alive in danger, which is very important.

So what the midbrain does, is it gets back to the fight or flight, keeping us alive in the face of danger. So back in dinosaur times or when we weren’t living in cities, or even when we’re living in cities, have you ever heard of the phrase deer stuck in the headlights? Well, that’s what it is, it’s our fight-or-flight. When we were in the Serengeti and a lion came through, we didn’t need time to analyze the situation. Our whole body needed everything to shut down and make a decision: fight or flight. We didn’t want to analyze the situation; it needed to make a split decision extremely fast.

Nowadays that gets in the way sometimes, but it also is very helpful. When we’re driving a car and someone cuts us off, we don’t want to analyze, we don’t have the time for that. We need that immediate response to kick in, the midbrain to kick in and make that decision for us, because it’s a split-second decision and it could be life or death.

Then we have a third part, about a hundred million years ago. This one creates civilization. The art, the sciences, the music, it all resides in the frontal part, the cortex. It gives us rational thought and creates impulses. So when you want to create a new project, or you’re an artist and you’re drawing a new product or you’re an artist and you’re writing a new song, or a scientist, whatever, this is the part of the brain that you tapping into, the frontal part, cortex.

So if we want to make a change or jumpstart the creative process, we need to access the cortex. What happens to most of us, or to the majority of us, or the ones that haven’t studied this and don’t know exactly what’s going on in our body or in our brain when this happens. When we face a new project or a new challenge, our midbrain usually jumps in, and blocks us. It’s called writer’s block, it’s actually blocked, right, deer in the headlights. We get stuck at the piece of paper; we don’t know what to do, and then we start getting frustrated and we end up probably not even doing it. It happens with everything in life, so it’s not just with writers. It could be with starting a new project, building the tree house that you’ve promised your kids for the last six years. They’re not even kids anymore, they don’t even want it anymore, but you’re still making that promise, that, one day, you’re going to do it. Well, what caused you to do that is, it was just such a big project. It just put you in your block, the fight-or-flight. What happens is, our fight or flight, shuts off our creativity. Then it kind of transforms us into our basic reptile, animal stage, where it’s like fight, or we get out of here. Either you’re going to fight like a lion or dance like an antelope.

When we are in this state, our heart starts beating faster, we start getting nervous. And our other senses shut down. It shuts down your sexual desire, your thought process, your digestion, it shuts down everything. So if you had to go to the bathroom before and you get distracted, one of two things going to happen. Either you’re going to go on yourself or you’re going to forget that you had to go. This happens because you are no longer your front part of your mind. It has been replaced with fear, you are now using the amygdala. The “Let’s get out of this situation, I got to go, or, the clock’s running down and it’s the end of the game. And for the last 10 minutes, you’re exhausted. But then now it’s 1 minute to go, and somehow, you’re rejuvenated with energy. Well, it’s the same thing as the fight-or-flight. In that instance, your body decided to fight. And so everything else stops, and now you have this new energy because you’re putting every last little inch on the line and you’re fighting.

What happens when we face fear, our creativity is gone, we go into, robot mode. You see this when Michael Jordan, he’s sick He had the flu (1997 finals). Well, most of you guys might not know this; he wins the NBA Championship. His body stops being creative and becomes a robot. Muscle memory and the desire to win forces his body to choose fight or flight, and It went into fight mode. When we understand and can control the fight or flight mechanism that is an example of how powerful we can become. 

Now on the contrary, when we want our creative side and we don’t want to be a robot, we need the cortex, the very front part of the brain. That gives us the creativity. To use it in a different sense, when we have a large goal, it causes fear, and then it restricts our access to the creative part of our brain, and we tend to fail; writer’s block, getting frustrated. For example When you start something for the first time, and then without putting forth 100% energy you’re like, “This is too hard, whatever, I quit.”

So what is the solution?

By having small goals; you bypass the fear. Remember we were talking about this in the previous chapter how, when we start so small we don’t even notice it. With the picking up the pencil or the lighter or whatever, you’re doing a repetition, you’re building new habits. Small goal, fear bypassed, the cortex engaged. You’re allowed to sit there and think of more creative ways. Instead of just picking up the pencil, now you’re picking up the coffee cup. It gives us the ability to become successful. By acquiring the skill to be able to build new habits, is exactly what we are discussing.

An excerpt from “ One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way” The brain is programmed to resist change, but by taking small steps, you actively rewire your nervous system so that it does the following: unsticks you from the creative block, bypasses the fight-or-flight response, creates new connections between neurons so that the brain enthusiastically takes over the process of change and you progress rapidly towards your goal.

I hope that all makes sense, because it is huge. It allows us to come up with new ideas, be able to accomplish new goals and new feats. Going to the gym, painting a whole house by yourself, writing books, and large unimaginable goals. It also builds self-confidence, before, you might need other people to do things with you, if you have fear of being alone or fear of being ridiculed. With this secret we are taking the most minute steps to complete our goals. we’re bypassing fear, in a way you don’t even notice the change until it becomes a habit.

Before you notice, you’re reading that big book that you’ve never been able to read. You’re doing those 100 pushups that, at the beginning, you couldn’t even think to do five. You’re doing 20 pull-ups. Imagine being able to accomplish the un-accomplishable. amazing right?

Stress or Fear. The modern medical name we have given for the feeling produced when approaching a new challenge or goal is called stress. However for countless generations, we called it fear. Most successful people confront fear instead of relying on terms like anxiety, stress or nervousness. Now, this is very important for us to grasp. Nowadays, I’m stressed, I don’t know what’s going to happen, or I’m anxious, I’m nervous. Instead of focusing on the root problem, I have fear, I am scared of this.

When adults typically see a Psychiatrist, they talk about their emotional pain. They choose words like stress, anxiety, depression, nervous, tense. But then if you remember, when you were a kid, or if you’re around a lot of kids, they tell you root emotions such as scared, happy, or sad. Anxiety, stress, and depression are new terms. The terms we used when we were little, were scared, sad, happy, and afraid. Right? You don’t hear a two-year-old talking about, “Oh, I’m so stressed.”or “I’m so anxious”. When they’re anxious, and they’re bouncing around and their heart’s moving fast, they tell you, “I’m scared.” They don’t go to the doctor and be like, “I’m anxious.” “Well, what are you anxious about?” If you break it all the way down, it usually has to do with fear. Children know they live in a world they can’t control. They have an understanding that fear is a part of everyday life. Everything’s bigger than they are. Even walking down the street, it can be petrifying for a little kid because just a normal adult is towering over them. You know what I mean? We walk faster than them, especially with a little guy/girl who’s more waddling than walking. They’ve got people running past them, dogs that are twice the size of them, wagging his tail, knocking them over and things. That kid knows that, life is dangerous! You never know. There’s the side of the table that you could just, bam, hit yourself, now for the next week or something, your head’s hurting. Don’t forget touching a hot surface, a kids worst nightmare. As a little kid, you’re scared. There’s a whole bunch of things that they know they cannot control; it’s a part of their daily lives. This is why we say kids are like a sponge, they have to learn fast in order to survive.

But adults, for some reason, we feel like we can control everything in our lives. And when we don’t, or can’t, we feel like there’s something wrong: “Why am I not feeling perfect? Everything Is supposed to be perfect.” As opposed to the kid that knows that he’s not supposed to be feeling good all the time. He knows that there’s something out there that’s scary. Us as adults feel that we can control everything, we know everything. So instead of admitting the fact we could actually just be scared, we come up with fancy terms and call them stress, anxiety and depression. So we run to the doctor to solve the problem, then another uncomfortable emotion arises and we run back to the doctor to save us again, never once even thinking to just solve the root of the problem.

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And why do we do that? I don’t want to get too much into it. Just think for a second, pharmaceutical companies have a financial duty to make money for their shareholders, not to solve your problems. If they made it as simple as, you’re fearful, so conquer your fear. Name what you’re scared of, figure it out and then figure out how you’re going to overcome that fear. If it was that simple, then there wouldn’t be a market to sell things. For example antidepressants can cause erectile dysfunction, so when you subscribe to an antidepressant you also now have a different problem erectile dysfunction. Now you go back to the doctor to get an ED drug which is made by the same company that  made your antidepressant drug. 

To finish up, if you expect life to be ordinary and well-run, you’re setting yourself up for panic and defeat. When life gets scary and difficult, we tend to look for solutions in places where it’s easy or at least familiar to do so, and not in a dark uncomfortable place where a real solution might lie.  It’s human nature, it’s a reaction. And that’s why we call things “comfort food”, ect. Or when people get their heart broken, they say “I gained weight because I started eating.” When something in life gets difficult or when a speed bump slows us down, or we run into a wall, we tend to go back to what’s comfortable, right? Have you ever been in a long-term relationship with somebody? You know it’s not a good relationship, but the only reason you’re with that person is because it’s comfortable. Or you might even break up with that person, go try somebody new, and then before you even can know if this person’s better or worse or whatever, you’re already back to the old, because it’s comfortable.

It’s great for you to feel comfortable, but it’s horrible if you want change. If you always go back to what’s comfortable, you never give yourself the ability to change. Change doesn’t come from being comfortable. Change comes from being uncomfortable. Does that make sense? If you’re always sitting on your couch, well, your body is going to change, but it’s just not going to be a positive change. You’re a couch potato, your body’s going to change, but it’s going to change in a way that you might not want it to change. Your body’s never going to be stagnant, it’s never the same. It’s constantly changing. So either you’re changing in a positive way or in a negative way. Negative change occurs in a comfort zone. Positive change comes from being uncomfortable. 

When you always go back to the same, there’s a definition for it, keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, and expecting a change. What do they call that? They call it the definition of insanity. But fear can cause us to unconsciously sabotage ourselves by going back into the same routine, it’s the fear of the unknown that causes us to go backwards. The FYMM approach is so great, why it works, is we’re bypassing our fear. We’re taking baby steps so small we don’t even know to be scared.

The next time you’re a deer in the headlights, or getting writer’s block, think of this perfect example. You study all night for a test. You know the test backwards and forwards. You’re dreaming about it, you know it so well. But then when it’s time for the test and you sit down, your mind goes blank. In a situation like that, take a little bit, take a deep breath and just realize what is happening is that it’s your fear. Your fear has taken over. Your cortex no longer has the ability to function because your midbrain has 100% control. So calm down, understand what’s happening, that it’s the fear that has taken over, and then adjust accordingly.

Through understanding the six strategies or six steps, however you choose to term it, by the end, you’ll hopefully be able to sit down, be in a stressful situation understand when fight or flight appears and have the ability and the knowhow to be able to assess the problem and to solve the problem quick, fast and efficiently. That’s the goal in all this, to be able to see something we don’t like about ourselves, to assess ourselves, to better understand ourselves and to give ourselves the ability to change ourselves in a positive, more efficient and more effective manner.

We have to remember this: fear is a normal and a natural sign of ambition. So it’s going to be normal that, when we go through this journey, a change in our lives, to better ourselves, it’s going to be fearful, and there are going to be times that we’re going to want to revert backwards, into the past (Go buy that pack of cigarettes; go talk to that ex-girlfriend, boyfriend; go back to the old job that you hate.) There’s always going to be self-doubt as well, that we’re just not going to be able to do it, we have to remember, that’s the normal part of this entire process, the fear.

Let’s embrace the fear and remember to be more childlike sometimes, and to understand and accept the world is a fearful place, and it’s okay to be scared. What’s not okay is to avoid our fears, because if we don’t face them, we’re never going to be able to get over our fears, we will succumb to them. Reading this book and learning the six steps, we’ll be able to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.