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90 Day Personal Growth Boot Camp: Day 22 - Fleas and Your Brain

Zig Ziglar shares an easy way to train fleas. On their own they can jump several inches into the air. Place them in a small four inch tall glass with a lid on it and they will jump up and hit the lid a few times and then stop. Take them out of the glass and they will no longer jump higher than four inches; in fact if you don't remove them they will stay in the glass itself. Why? They have simply been reprogrammed to believe they could only jump four inches.

Many people have been programmed in a similar fashion to believe they could not reach their dreams. Perhaps it was a critical parent or a careless remark by a teacher; or maybe it was a hurtful remark by a spouse or a peer. Whatever the case, in the end someone put a lid on their dreams and they stopped trusting in how high they could really go.

We have 60,000 thoughts a day. When those thoughts are filled with negativity and doubt day in and day out, it is easy to see how quickly someone can become stalled on their road to self-improvement. As John Milton in Paradise Lost shared, "The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

Yet, you can choose to run your own brain when you know how. What may seem like autopilot can become consciously conditioned to serve you instead of stalling you. Your brain is simply magnificent, but you need to understand how it will work for you or against you. In short, you can program your own mind, or someone else will.

Don't get me wrong, I love teachers and am a teacher myself. But as people like Joseph McClendon have pointed out, our system of learning was designed for a population being sent to work on an assembly line. Consider the classroom rules, sit in single file, don't talk to your neighbor, and do what you are told. Any infraction of these rules is met by disapproval. Creative thinking is often met with resistance and students learn to give the 'right' answers so they get a good grade.

But how do you succeed in business in 2012? You need to be able to talk to others, think outside the box as an individual and often break the rules to find a new answer. Is it any wonder many people feel unprepared for their jobs?

As Paul Zane Pilzer shares, most companies pay for duration, not innovation, so people are rewarded for longevity and not performance and creativity. In essence, they stop jumping higher than the lid that was placed over them, even if it was set there years ago.

Yet your brain is composed of over a hundred billion neurons with each cell receiving 100,000 inputs from other neurons and processes millions of bits of information every second. It is time to blow the proverbial lid off your supposed limitations and begin taking back your own life and thoughts. As Milton said, it is time to make a Heaven of Hell. Tomorrow we will begin a process of making this so.