Sometimes we come across obstacles in our lives that lower our overall level of happiness and disrupt our path to success—I call these mental map hijackers. A common hijacker is a negative boss who tries to drive productivity through intimidation.
There are two parts of the brain I call the Jerk and the Thinker. The Jerk is the amygdala, the most primitive part of the brain, which responds to threats. The Thinker is the prefrontal cortex, which helps you make good decisions. Fear is a map hijacker because when you activate the Jerk, you shut off the Thinker, wasting your valuable brain resources on avoiding that fear instead of pursuing your goals. Instead of letting your boss’s negativity bother you, look for meaning in your work. This will shut off the Jerk and allow the Thinker to channel your brain’s full suite of intelligences toward accomplishing that goal.
What are your mental hijackers? Write down five triggers that consistently lead to counterproductive behavior. Are there certain people or places that let good habits slip? Once you know what your hijackers are, you can replace them with positive mental map markers.
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.