Being Brilliant Every Single Day


In 2012 I came across this TED talk by Dr Alan Watkins, in which he demonstrated to the audience how, simply by breathing rhythmically and evenly through the heart every day, it can lead to a boost in your performance. At that time I had already practiced mindfulness breathing and experienced some benefits of being calm and having a clear mind at times of pressure. So the talk resonated to me. It was later when I started to learn more about neurology and mindfulness based techniques to deal with stress, mindset transformation that I could connect the different areas of knowledge and relate more to his simple yet truly insightful approach. 


Whether it is the school of energy management or NLP-modelling, fake it till you make it, there is an underlining fact that we can alter the situation by being in charge of our physiology, which lays at the basement of our human systems (see the chart on the right hand side).



As he walked the audience through realizing how we operate under pressure, he shared a fact most of us may not know. That we inherit from our ancestors the survival instinct to shut down the brain when facing a lion. Our brain would then become binary. It could only response either Flight or Fight, or Freeze (playing dead). This biological mechanism has travelled over 2000 years till the modern time and remained unchanged. Today, when under pressure, physiological chaos, our brain automatically shuts down. We are certainly not at our best. We are often at our worst.


Knowing this helps make a step-change in performance improvement, in which he suggested changing the context of our approach as well. He quoted Albert Einstein, 'We can't solve the problem based on the same level of thinking that we created it'. It's time we added physiology into the big picture. We can make step-change from the level of our physiology. How? Starting with regulating our heartbeat. Why? Because our heartbeat is correlatedly with our low/high level of performance, demonstrated by two axis. One axis shows the intensity of our state, meaning we are enthusiastic/full of adrenaline or we are relaxed. The other axis is the quality of our state, meaning we are positive or negative. Just by learning the right way to breath, we can already come to the midpoint from where we can jump to the next level of our performance. What is the right way? Remember the acronym: B.R.E.A.T.H.E - Breathe Rhythmically Evenly And Through the Heart Everyday.


I can't tell how much I appreciated this talk from Dr Alan Watkins, especially when it comes to helping people to instill their confidence or subtly overcome negative emotions by adjusting their posture or facial expression. Small adjustment, great difference. 


So here's the talk, it has 2 parts (Part 1 is 18m, Part 2 is 26m). If you have 45m, sit through. You will see light bub in your head. I can guarantee that. 


And give it a try. This is the secret learned by Executives and it works. 


To explore more, read also 5 Reasons to bring mindfulness to the body.



About the speaker:



Dr Alan Watkins is the founder and CEO of Complete Coherence Ltd. He is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has researched and published widely on both subjects for over 18 years. He is currently an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine at Imperial College, London as well as an Affiliate Professor of Leadership at the European School of Management, London. He originally qualified as a physician, has a first class degree in psychology and a PhD in immunology.


Date: 3 Aug 2015
Author: Tien Luong

Once a creative advertising copywriter and winning writer of a public contest on the Youth Newspaper, now an aspirational blogger on various topics with a deep passion for life and human potentials. 

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