Albert Einstein, Barack Obama and not wasting brainpower


There you are talking with someone and they are constantly looking at their phone.  How does that make you feel?  Like you are wasting their time? Like they  are not interested in you or what you are saying?

Now consider another scenario where you are talking with someone and they are dialed in. They are looking at you with penetrating eyes.  They look like they care about you and the things they are saying. You feel special don’t you?

What I’m getting at is the issue of FOCUS—being all present in what you are doing.

With these thoughts in mind, I found this excerpt from “Do Over” by Jon Cuff to be very helpful in reminding me to keep my mind as free as possible:

“As Heidi Grant Halvorson, PHD writes in her book, “SUCCEED”, “we work best when as much of what we are doing can be delegated to the unconscious mind as possible…the more we can make something a routine and stop giving it brainpower the easier it is for us to apply that brainpower somewhere else in our life. …the point is that your willingness to discipline one part of your life creates freedom in another….This is a technique leaders throughout history have taken up. Like a guy named Albert Einstein . According to Forbes, It has been reported that the famous physicist bought several versions of the same gray suit because he didn’t want to waste brainpower on choosing an outfit each morning.
-President Barack Obama explained the idea even further in an article in VANITY FAIR written by Michael Lewis , You also need to remove from your life the day to day problems that absorb most people from meaningful parts of their day. You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suit . Obama. said, I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decision to make.

The goal of repeating something the best way in the right way , is so that you can make it without thinking. The more you can turn an important skill into a repeatable habit, the more you can trust the power of autopilot.”

One practical application of this idea of “freeing our mind” is the practice of writing down your thoughts and to-do’s quickly on your phone, or on paper that you carry around with you.  For too many years, I would try to remember important to-do’s or things people told me. What happened though as I kept adding more and more weight to thoughts in my head is that I started stressing out trying not to forget any information, which I almost always did. As a consequence of this, I let people down because I forgot to show up somewhere that we had agreed on, or I forgot to do something for someone that I said I would.  My faithfulness to my word took a beating in the eyes of others.  I wasn’t proving myself to be dependable.     But, that all changed when I started writing things down.  I didn’t forget them and I found that my word was good.  I could be counted on and I enjoyed my new reputation.

So, let me encourage you to “free up your brainpower” and enjoy its many benefits.


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