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Rewrite Your Code

And Harness the Computing Power of Your Brain

IF you are frightened about the uncertainty in your future:

IF you find yourself repeatedly facing difficult situations:

IF you are wasting valuable time and brain power on seemingly simple or unimportant tasks:

THEN, it may be time to rewrite your code.

“Code” is a computer term for the instructions, rules, and commands in the language of programming. Computers do only what programmers tell them to, and these instructions (lines of code), depending on their effectiveness, can enable excellence or create recurring problems. And the exact same is true for you.

The human brain is the most magnificent, elegant, and powerful of all computers known to mankind. And the instructions, rules, ideas, and pursuits we program, consciously and unconsciously, determine our eventual “output,” in terms of life experience.

While modern computers are incredibly fast and can calculate and multi-task far better than we can, our brains remain superior. Your brain, you see, is ever changing, learning, interpreting your environment, and capable of the amazing act of imagination.

Also, your neural “operating system” is continuously being upgraded, based upon your circumstances, experience, education, and desires. When you harness your “thought machine” toward a particular purpose, you can become unstoppable.

But in order to do that, you need to learn to rewrite the code, that is, the software that drives your noggin. You must “program” yourself for success. Assume your rightful role of chief programmer. You will be influenced by other people and circumstances. You may be conditioned by past experiences. But you can overwrite your code with new commands, if you will seize control and do so, deliberately.

IF/THEN Commands

In 1982, when I was 14 years old, my dad brought home from work a modern day miracle: the IBM PC. This machine covered his entire desk, and was slow as mud, but it introduced me to the dawning age of Information Technology via a monochrome green version of “Space Invaders” and the BASIC programming language (an acronym which stands for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).

One of the most useful of all computer instructions, I discovered, was the “IF/THEN Command.” It is self explanatory, meaning that you tell the machine IF you encounter this input, set of circumstances, or problem, THEN this is what I want you to do next – or, here is how you handle it. It’s like writing a rule that will apply to future situations and challenges.

Now, here’s the cool part. Because we are creative – capable of imagination – we can write IF/THEN rules for our lives. Essentially, you make a conscious decision and tell your brain:

IF I face this type of situation (again, or for the first time), THEN here is how I will handle it.

This simple line of code, or self-executed command, is amazingly useful when applied to:

  • Time-saving habits
  • Rudimentary tasks
  • Performance standards
  • Recurring decisions
  • Scenario planning for the future

This is also how we shape our personal judgement. At some point we decide how we will process a certain type of situation or influence. We write a rule for the way we will handle it. These rules accumulate, and will remain in place, shaping our lives, until we consciously remove or rewrite them.

Into Action

  1. Turn Uncertainty into Opportunity. As you plan for your future (career path, financial situation, relationship status, parenting situation, or whatever it may be) imagine not one, but multiple options, or scenarios. Develop alternate plans of action, depending upon how circumstances unfold.
  2. Handle a Recurring Task. Consider a situation you have encountered more than once, and construct a plan for how you will handle it, should it happen again. This will empower you to anticipate, recognize, and handle future challenges with more effectiveness and less hardship.
  3. Resolve a Dilemma. If you have been bombarded by challenge after challenge, each one distracting you from your desired path, then you may need to deal with a larger decision or question. This could be a process, a moral judgement, or an ambiguous direction. Recognize the issue, than develop an IF/THEN rule to handle it now and in the future.

If you don’t like the output you are getting in life, you may need to reexamine how you processed the thoughts and actions that led you to that experience. Chances are, it is not a “one time only” event. You will be confronted with the same or similar circumstances in the future. The great news is you can, right now, upgrade your mental software and set in place a new and better way to deal with it.

Be bold. Rewrite your code.

  • Sandra says:

    Thank you for your newsletters..they always are inspiring and helpful. I am at a time when I am planning what I will do after I retire and your hints and suggestions help me think through the situation. Thank you.

  • Dan,

    Another very strong and meaningful lesson that will help me in countless ways! Positive thought processes and purposeful self-talk have helped me combat the negative spiral that used to control me. Your re-enforcement of this strength that we all have is just what I needed right now — thank you so much!

  • Sam says:

    Dan, I’ve seen you speak twice over the last few years. Three years ago I became unhappy at work and started studying the stock market. 18 months ago I started noticing repeating patterns. I started trading these patterns a year ago with $100. I’ve gradually increased my trading size and am now up to trading $500,000. I can’t tell you what a stock will do tomorrow. Instead, I get about three days notice on most major moves of the markets. I can see pressure building for a month and once my lines cross, I have a couple of days to enter my position before the markets go in my direction for the next month. I get warnings for both major up and down movements. As a result, so far this year, my income from the markets is equal to my pay at work. I find it confusing that with no specialized training, I can do this and I don’t understand why me of all people should find this gift. But, I had an idea, a passion, read lots of books, discovered this myself, and perhaps have rewritten my code.
    Please tell me, years ago you had a saying about moving from consciously something to unconsciously automatic, or something as you would juggle while riding a unicycle. If you could remind me of that phrase, I’d be forever grateful. Thanks for telling us that is it possible!

  • Holly says:

    Great article – thanks! I’m glad to be on this list now – I find your messages well thought out and inspiring. Thank you.

  • Lyn Hilgenberg says:

    Well stated and helpful… as always! Thanks!

  • Ed Poorbaugh says:

    Dan great post! I am a programer and have a picture hanging on my office wall that reads I don’t always test my code, but when I do, it is in production. Thanks for encouraging others to rewrite their code and put it into production!

  • Bryan says:

    Dan,

    I needed this today. I have taken a huge hit in pay due to the fact I am in sales and two of my largest accounts have walked away due to things out of my control.

    I have spent the past 6 months beating myself up about what I could have done differently, and being a harsh critic of my own abilities.

    I an constantly feeling anxious about the future even though I a financially free, have no debts and can live without the money I have lost.

    I need to REBOOT my thinking to gain back my confindence in a big way, and remember that I was able to find that busines once before. I can find it again.

    Thanks for your thoughts

  • dan says:

    Thanks all for the fantastic and encouraging comments! I love the different perspectives and shared experiences in the “comments” section. Keep ’em coming!
    Sam, I believe the idea you are fishing for is the process of moving from Unconscious Incompetence (not knowing your limitations) to Conscious Incompetence (awareness of what you can’t do) to Conscious Competence (capability while you are very focused) and finally to Unconscious Competence (the level of mastery that makes your skills seem natural and effortless). Hope that helps!

  • Sally Bodmer says:

    Thank you!
    This was a timely message for me.
    Have a great afternoon.

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