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  • Writer's pictureBolaji Akinola-Alli

Think Box

The power of your mind

Have you noticed how your thoughts could influence your mood, behaviour, and overall success?

Our minds are incredibly powerful tools that can shape our lives and determine our level of happiness and fulfillment. It is a hallway through which knowledge, information and wisdom meet. At this intersection, beautiful ideas are created.

Look around you, everything you see was created twice, firstly in the mind. - Robin Sharma

According to Bob Proctor, an expert on the human mind, 95% of people live their entire lives and never live the way they want to live. This is because most of us have the tendency to copy those we believe are successful, without stopping to think about what we truly want for ourselves.

I believe that we are all unique in our thoughts and we should strive to think differently, to stand out and make waves like the Henry Fords and Oprah Winfreys of this world. We owe it to ourselves, and to those who believe in us.

Independent thinking also helps us to become more successful. What does it even mean to be successful?

The way we traditional measure success is through achievements, money, fame, position etc. And that's fine, but there's another layer to it called momentum. This is a measure of our speed and direction towards the goals we set for ourselves. It is less about us hitting our targets and more about the journey to get there. Therefore, a person is successful if they have a clear vision of where they are going and they are moving on that trajectory.

So how do we influence our thoughts to live a more fulfilling life?


Practice Deep Work:

Deep work is a state of high concentration that allows you to learn difficult things and create high quality work quickly. I was introduced to this concept by Cal Newport's book.

Deep work does not include logistical and administrative tasks that can be done while distracted, that do not usually create new value, and are easily replicated. An example of this would be sending emails, responding to messages on Teams and organising multiple meetings. This is shallow work.

According to Cal, there is a formula to produce high quality content, products and services. And this is to focus on a specific value-creating task for a certain amount of time, without any distraction.

High Quality Work Produced = Time Spent x Intensity of Focus

Not rocket science I know, but in practice this can be difficult to achieve. Especially with all the dopamine rush we get from our digital devices.

Another benefit of practicing deep work is that it also leads to happiness. - Like a 'buy one get one free' deal.

Have you ever been 'in the zone' where got a ton of work done in a short period of time. Whether it is submitting a coursework or creating music, there is actually a level of pride and joy we get from being in the state of focus. The state we are in when we are 'in the zone' is called flow state.

According to Prof. Emeritus Mihaly “Mike” Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist known as the “father of flow,”;

"Flow state is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

A classic example of someone that practices deep work is Bill Gates. He is know for his 'think weeks' where takes a box of books to study and think about solutions to the worlds greatest problems. This may seem extra for most people, so maybe we could start with one hour, then two and eventually we make it into a habit.

“The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life" - Cal Newport

Draw on Past Experience:

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend on how to become more creative. One of the things I realised from that conversation was that most of the people we call creative have been doing or thinking about their craft for a long time.

Therefore one of the factors that makes them creative is that they can draw upon their past experiences to come up with new ideas. If you are an artist who has been painting for many years, you may be able to come up with new and creative ways of using colour or composition because you have a deep understanding of how those elements work together.

Another example is a rapper free-styling on a radio station, which might seem like genius to us, but their ability to draw up on old lyrics and conversations mixed with new ideas, is what produces this creativity. I like this quote on creativity:

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” - Mary Lou Cook

Experience also allows you to identify patterns and connections that you may not have noticed before. I actually know a few people that use this skill to generate insights and ideas for businesses. This works because as you encounter new situations and challenges, you develop a sense of intuition that can guide you towards innovative solutions.

Overall, good and bad experiences are crucial in allowing us to become more creative thinkers.

“Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.” - Rita Mae Brown

Pay attention to your inputs:

One of the first things I learnt about computers in school was that they only produce outputs based on what we tell them to do. In order words, the quality of data we give them determines the quality of information we receive. Or as my teachers would say: garbage in, garbage out.

I wonder what they would say about Artificial Intelligence...

Our minds are somewhat like computers. Our thoughts are largely influenced by what we are exposed to. A lot of people tend to focus on the results that they do not realise that it is only an outcome of what they consume. e.g.

  • Who do you follow on social media?

  • What do you spend most of your time doing?

  • Where do you get your information from?

  • Who do you interact with the most?

There is are no right answers to any of these, because we all want different things in life.

But as we strive to live a more fulfilling and successful life, we must remain cautious about what we consume, because it directly reflect on what we produce / create.

I put some thoughts into my inputs which I doubt would be surprising to anyone reading this.

Here are some things that influence my thinking:

"When you read a good book a second time, you dont see something that wasn't there before. You see something in yourself that wasn't there before." - Bob Proctor
  • Studying like-minded people who have built interesting businesses.

  • Online resources. There is a vast amount of online resources available. YouTube is great place to start. Check out this interview with Bob Proctor; Do you know who you are - interview with Bob Proctor


Our minds (think box) are powerful. Our thoughts impact every aspect of our lives including our relationships, success and happiness. Therefore we should pay more attention in protecting and using it to live a more fulfilling life.

What do you think? What recommendations do you have for me?

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