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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Neuroplast​icity: You control your own destiny

All of us have heard the word neuroplasticity but what does it mean? Let me share with you some interesting information about it:

The term Neuroplasticity comes from the root words Neuron and Plastic:

 - Neuron refers to the nerve cells in our brain. Each individual neural cell is made up of an axon, dendrites, and is linked to one another by a small space called the synapses.

- Plastic means to mold, sculpt, or modify.

Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt; the brain is in constant change and evolution.

Neuroplasticity is defined as the molding of the organ’s circuitry by new experiences building new wiring patterns. Plasticity in the brain is at its peak in the growing, learning organism, most powerfully evident, in the human infant. Communication between nerve cells changes in response to brain activity generated by new and repeated experiences.

Use it or lose it!

It is said about neuroplasticity that “neurons that fire together wire together and neurons that fire apart wire apart.”  This means that when neurons activate at the same time as a response to an event, the neurons become associated with one another and the connections become stronger.  This is why people talk about neural pathways being set when practice is increased; the more you practice, the stronger the pathways become. Of course the inverse happens as well: if those pathways aren’t utilized, the space will be used by other pathways needing room to grow. Use it or lose it!

Focus and neuroplasticity

In Tibetan Buddhism the concept of neuroplasticity is called le-su-rung-wa which means pliability (your brain can change based on repeated experience) and has been used years before Western science has recognized it.

Studies have been performed on plasticity during meditation and have shown that the brain can change based on mental training. If you can think yourself into being more compassionate, more positive, more resourceful, or calmer you can achieve it. With effort, discipline and training it’s possible.
From an educational point of view the demonstration that our thoughts affect neuroplasticity opens the path of training our brain in a positive way to change it and therefore create our own reality and how events affect us. Focus is critical as the capacity of our brain to process information is limited; Changing our focus creates new neurological patterns and focusing reinforce and make stronger the existing neurological links. 

It is proven that positive thinking releases dopamine that activates the reward circuits in our brain making us feel better. The more we focus in positive things, the better we feel. We can teach our brain to feel good no matter what happens in our life. Our own thoughts can change our behaviour and our learning capabilities.  


Neurogenesis means birth of neurons. It was a worldwide accepted paradigm that the human brain,which consists of approximately 100 billion neurons, could not generate new ones. It was assumed that each of us was born with a finite number of neural cells and when a cell died no new cell could ever grow again. This old model of the inability to regenerate new nerve cells is demonstrated to be wrong; it has been proven that certain areas in the brain can generate fresh new cells. This new understanding of neural cell generation is an incredible discovery; another misconception was that the brain had an inability to create new neural pathways.

How to teach our brain to connect in a positive way

There are several ways of teaching our brain to think positively and create new paths that lead to positive thinking and happiness:

 1.      Exercise

It is proven that exercise helps our brain to stay active and it also releases neurotransmitters to our brain that make us feel better and reinforce the pattern of feeling good.

2.      Sleep

Sleeping is critical for our brain health. We need to sleep and rest in order to maintain our brain in a proper condition.  

3.      New learning

Be a lifetime apprentice in order to keep your brain learning new things, develop the habit of learning to maintain your brain in good shape.

4.      Stay socially engaged

As mammal’s, social interaction is critical for our life, it helps us to train our brain and keep it in learning and reacting to new experiences.

5.      Mindfulness/Focus

Attentively focus on the world around you again, as if you were seeing it for the first time. Enjoy nature and the beauty of each unique thing in the universe. Focus on how to solve problems rather than on the problem itself.

6.      Meditation

Meditation can be used to retrain our brains as it has the power to mould and shape our minds to install the changes we want. Meditating gives inner peace and happiness.

7.      Nutrition

Pay attention on how you feed your body as your body and brain are one. Eating correctly is basic in order to fuel our body and brain properly.  

Remember: Train your brain to make the positive pathways to success and happiness stronger everyday , you are the owner of your own destiny!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Psychology: Who am I?

I am sure all of you have thought at some point of your life Who am I? Why do I react this way or why do I feel like this? 

We are our behaviors and our behaviors are shaped by our identity. Identity is a very well known and used word........ but what does it really mean?  

What is behavior?

Behavior is a way in which an individual acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus. Behavior can be taught, mimic and modified. It begins as a conscious learned response but if it is repeated enough times it becomes part of our identity or unconscious personality.

Behavior is fundamentally influenced by:
- DNA / Genetics ; When we are born we do all have some prewired unconscious behaviors, the same way we do all know how to breathe or blink our eyes we do also have some information transmitted by DNA through generations. 

- Society ; Where we live , the society, the city and the neighborhood shape how we think, who we are and how we shape reality through our beliefs and values. 

- Experience in the formative years ; As mammals, the behavior is learnt from the group , we tend to mirror (imitate) our group behavior in order to be accepted by them , it is a basic survival instinct.

What is identity?

Identity may be defined as the distinctive characteristic belonging to any given individual, or shared by all members of a particular social category or group. Identity may be distinguished from identification; the former is a label, whereas the latter refers to the classifying act itself. Identity is thus best construed as being both relational and contextual, while the act of identification is best viewed as inherently processual.

However, the formation of one's identity occurs through one's identifications with significant others (primarily with parents and other individuals during one’s biographical experiences, and also with 'groups' as they are perceived).

How is Identity created and shaped?

According to experts identity is mainly created since the moment you are born until approximately 10-12 years old. Once a behavior is learned and repeated over and over again our brain will learn that it gets more pleasure than pain doing that and it will unconsciously choose that option in the future.

The interesting point about identity is that we all tend to mantain it even when it is negative. Let me share a story with you to illustrate this concept:

"The scorpion and the frog"

A scorpion and a frog lived in a forest , they never talked to each other as Scorpions and frogs don´t get along. One day the forest starts burning and the scorpion goes and talks to the frog asking for help.....

S- Frog, please help me to cross the river , the forest is burning and I will die!

F- No way!!! I will not help you

S- Why???

F- Because scorpions sting frogs!! everybody knows this!

S- Come on.... don´t be stupid! I only want to go to the other side of the river and scorpions cannot swim. In fact if I sting you we will both die in the river!

F- Ok ok, come on...... 

The scorpion lays over the frog and the frog starts swimming across the river , when they are in the middle of the river the Scorpion stings the frog in its back. The frog cannot believe it!!!!! It turns the face and asks the scorpion:

F- Why did you do it??? You told me you will not do it! Now we will both die in the river!!!

S- I did it because......... i did it because I am a scorpion and scorpions sting frogs!!!

The key message of this story is that we did all create an identity and we will do whatever it takes to protect and justify it. After all change is not well accepted in society and groups.

How many times have you heard the phrase: He is a traitor!! He was not like this before! If somebody changes his mind about a simple thing as a favorite soccer team what would the reaction of the people be?

Probably they will say things such as: He was supporting Real Madrid and now he likes Barcelona F.C?? What kind of person is this? You cannot trust him!

The power of identity is huge , be careful who you choose to be because you will try to mantain it all your life. 

Why would somebody mantain a negative identity/personality? 

This is a very interesting question and the answer is because this personality gives the individual more pleasure in the short/long term than pain, at least in the model of the world, the reality he has constructed with his brain. All reactions we choose to do are designed to cover our six human needs. Human needs are the base of all our behaviors, they are defined as:

1. Certainty: Defined as the need to know that something will occur for sure.

2. Uncertainty/Adventure: We do all need at some point of our life some uncertainty or adventure to feel alive.

3. Love/Connection: The need to be loved and connected with others. We are mammals, and mammals are not designed to live alone, we tend to live in groups and sharing is very important for our life.

4. Significance: We do all need to feel significant/important for others at some level.

5. Growth: The need to develop ourselves and "grow" our minds.

6. Contribution: The ultimate human need, contributing to the world and society is ver important for humans.

Identity can be changed

It is possible however not easy to change our identity/personality. It can be done, in fact it is done everyday by experts. If you want to change some aspect of your personality talk to an expert in this field , he will help you to identify the values and rules that support the unwanted identity and then he will link more pain than pleasure to these behaviors related to your identity. After some time you will be able to change the negative identity and build a new positive one.

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera
Remember you can change anything if you are really committed to do so. Everything is possible. Think deeply who you want to be, define your own identity!! 




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Psychology​: What you say is not what you communicate

What you say is not what you communicate

Did you know that your communication is 70% Non verbal? This is a very interesting point as most people focus on what they are going to say in a meeting or conversation. It is actually much more important non verbal communication.
The key point of this article is to share with you the latest advances in human psychology , there are hundreds of studies made by universities such as Harvard and Yale that show impressive results. Human communication is much more complicated that we though, unconscious gestures are much more important than the verbal communication. Let me explain this better.  
What is communication?
Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share"]) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures.

- The communicator is the person that influences through verbal and non verbal communication the other person.

- The receiver is the influenced person.

What is non verbal communication?
Nonverbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people. It is also seen as the nonlinguistic transmission of information through visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic channels. Before a meeting or conversation in which you want to influence the other person (therefore all communications) you must take a look at yourself, see your emotional state, check your Triad (phisiology, focus and internal vocabulary) in order to be able to influence. Being at a peak state is critical , after all if you dont influence yourself first you cannot influnce others.

Being a great leader/Influencer
As team leader and coach I always emphazise on how important is to feel good and communicate this to the customer and the team. A lot of salesmen ask what is the formula for closing sales and be successful on achieving their goals. I always tell them: 

The difference between amateur and professional is the ability to manage your emotional state. 

There is no formula for selling/influence, the key is trust. Trust is the main point for every influencer. Trust can be achieved in a short period of time if you are sincere and you have the other persons interest in mind.

To be an excellent leader/inflluencer you must be able to be at a peak state whenever you need to , all the team will look to you everyday in order to feel good and be able to work properly. You can use anchors to help you to manage your state such as music, gestures, phrases...... anything that reminds you of a moment in which you felt confident and happy. An anchor  can be created , we teach people how to do it. For example;  If each time you feel good and you play a specific song , whenever you feel down you can play this same song and you will start to feel better. It is so simple that a lot of people dont belief in this. 

Anybody can be successful sometimes, the difference is that a true influencer or leader is able to achieve excellent results most of the times, consistency is the key word. Without discipline and emotional control the results will be mediocre.

Communication is not what you want to communicate but what the other person receives. This is very important as most people belief what they communicated is what they wanted to say but sometimes what you say with your body and tone of voice is totally opposed to what you want to transmit. If you dont have congruency , the communication is worthless.  

My advice is:
Next time you have a meeting (business or personal) make sure you are at a peak state, if you cannot do it, change the timming of the meeting or call , it is a waste of time to be able to have an excellent result when you are not at a peak state.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Unlearning: The path to true learning

Definition: “Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines.”

Most of people think that learning is defined this way, however real learning must include a critical concept Unlearning or knowledge destruction.

What is Unlearning?

Definition: To put (something learned) out of the mind; forget.

In order to learn you have to learn to unlearn. The ability to question global beliefs and paradigms is critical to go further , to move forward in human and nature understanding. After all if we belief what everybody says and writes and we dont question anything it is imposible to evolve. Through history every leader and influencer has questioned paradigms and global beliefs. Think about this;

What do Platon , Aristoteles, Socrates, Jesus of Nazaret , Mohamed, Buddha , Leonardo da Vinci, Chistopher Columbus, Thomas Edisson, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have in common?

They all questioned paradigms and worked with passion and discipline in order to demonstrate that what humanity believed until then was incorrect.

Your brain is like a backpack

If you want to put more things inside your backpack you have to take some of them out. Ego and arrogance is the worst enemy of intelligence and learning , as it keeps you from learning more. A lot of success people that achieved their goals stay in arrogance and think they know everything, they wake up everyday looking at the mirror and saying: Yes I am the King, I am rich, I know everything…… Nothing further apart from reality.
Only when you are ready and mature enough to be able to unlearn you will understand. Forget your ego and you will advance and achieve real happiness and success.

Happiness and success is not about being the best at the peak of the mountain , it is about understanding and kaizen (constant and never ending improvement). Contribution and growth are the two most important human needs after all.

 “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” 
Gautama Buddha

My advice is: Look, feel, think, doubt and then
think again, don't fear anything ……… stand up
for what you believe!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sales team leading: Discipline, the key to real freedom, happiness and success

It is a worldwide paradigm that discipline is against freedom, everybody thinks that disciplined people are less free and more unhappy but the truth is that disciplined people are happier and achieve success faster, in fact success without discipline is called luck and it is very rare. 

Of course too much discipline can be harmful but only when it goes against the individual rules of happiness. I would like to share with you how discipline is directly related to freedom, happiness and success:   


The key to real freedom is discipline, only when you are able to control your mind and emotions in order to decide if you want to do something or not you are in total control of your brain. Freedom is the choice to do anything and only with discipline you are totally free. Staying home watching tv, not going to the gym or not making the report your boss asked you for is not freedom at all, you start loosing the control of your brain and due to this after some time feelings of regret of not complying the tasks will start making you feel really bad.


Only when you achieve freedom and total control of your emotions you are ready for the next step. Happiness is very complex and each individual has developed their own personality type and chosen the rules they must comply in order to achieve their own happiness but it is real that discipline helps you to be totally happy as you can choose and make decisions and you will not be frustrated because you want to change and you cannot do it.
Change is good and necessary for life and discipline is the key to change. 


Success is only achieved when the individual is happy. Discipline is the key to success , nobody has been born to be anything in special as genetics are not so important as it is worldwide believed. It is true that a family of engineers or fighters may have a descendant than can have facility as an engineer or fighter but it is more because of the personality, values , beliefs and discipline that the family transmits them the reason that they will become successful. 

Only by having strict discipline you can achieve the real success and it is totally necessary in order to achieve peak performance and success. 

Practice discipline and teach your brain who is in charge, it takes years.... but when you do it at a unconscious competence level you will perform at peak performance and achieve real success in all aspects of your life!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Emotional control: Who is driving the truck?

Who is driving the truck?

We use this metaphor in order to make people focus on their power over the brain. It is an easy and funny phrase that is used as an anchor to break patterns.

The truck represents the human brain. It is big, powerful and you can accelerate it or break it , depending on your specific needs. It is very complex if you study the engineering carefully and at the same time it is very simple to drive if somebody teaches you how. If you are interested in the teaching process please read my blog Learning process , four stages of competence.
We demonstrate that you and only you can make yourself happy or sad, as reality is not what happens to you, the reality is what you build around this event with the values, rules and identity created by your brain. What does the particular event mean to you , how do you feel the emotions and how you process them is your reality and it is controled by your brain.

What would happen if you accelerate the truck to 200km/h and you suddenly get scared and you let go the steering wheel???

If you have never done it. Trust me it is scary!

You must always keep eyes on the road and the hands on the steering wheel in order to avoid accidents.
How to control the bus and never take the hands out of the steering wheel?

Here it comes; the Triad:

Triad: The key to emotional control  

Triad is the best tool to control emotional states. It is defined as:

1. Physiology

Body and mind are connected, whatever happens to your body will affect your mind and vice versa. Change the way you use your physiology:

- Breath
Breathing is the process that delivers oxygen to where it is needed in the body and removes carbon dioxide, it is critical to get energy in our body.Be conscious of your breathing , it is very important that you breath correctly. If you want to be calm take deep breaths and if you need to make aerobic exercise you need to take deep and fast breaths. Breathing has been used for centuries to control and help our brain to control the emotions.  

- Motion
Focus on how do you move your body, what is the position of your shoulders, how you walk, how you look etc..... The way you move , walk , talk will affect your emotional state. 

- What and when do you eat
Pay attention on what do you eat and when do you eat. If you need to do something important you have to avoid heavy meals , if the blood is in your stomach doing the digestion it will affect your brain and your emotional state. If you need to run a marathon you need to eat correctly in order to be able to finalize it. 

- Anchoring
An anchor is a trigger or stimulus that retrieves a desired emotional state. A great example of an anchor is when you hear a song that brings back a particular emotion or feeling associated with something that you were doing. E.g. you could have been with a loved one, listening to a particular song. A month, two months, a year or even ten years down the line, you may hear that song and experience those feelings and emotions as if you were there right now. Use anchors to focus your brain in the correct direction.

Remember: Emotion comes from motion.

2. Focus

- Change what you think and how do you focus
It is very important to get conscious on our focus. We do need to start controlling how do we think , we can consciously change our focus if we are being too negative. We need to start controlling rather than letting the brain do it by itself.

- Questions: ask and you shall receive
Questions control the brain focus. If you ask your brain anything , the brain will find the answer. For example, if you ask your brain why am I so stupid? Your brain will find the answer, it is designed to always find an answer. The solution is to change the question. Ask your brain, what can I learn from this in order to avoid it to happen again? or What can I learn from this error? 
Trust me , your brain will always find the answer.

- Anchors
Use anchors in order to help your brain to focus. Listen to a song that brings you good memories, go to a place that brings you inner peace, etc.....

Ten day mental challenge

The ten day mental challenge is a very interesting exercise that helps to train your brain to focus on positive/productive things. It is very simple:
For the next ten days you cannot allow any negative thinking in your brain. Each time a negative thinking starts you need to inmediately think about something else.

Each time you fail on doing this you need to start again from day 1.
As simple as this exercise sounds I can assure it will help you a lot training your brain how to think. Some people stay in day 5 for months.......... Once you break the brain protective patterns of focusing it will be a lot easier to make the change. 

3. Vocabulary 

How you talk, what you say and the tone of your voice is critical on how people see you and most important it is critical on what your brain thinks about yourself! Think for a moment how you talk to yourself inside your brain, what kind of words do you use and if the tone is sad or not. Don´t be so tough with yourself, remember , after all, the worst enemy you can ever have is yourself.

Pay attention and change the words you use daily, it will help your brain to move forward and start thinking positive!

My advise is:

Use the Triad; breath correctly, do exercise, focus on positive things, ask the correct questions and talk to people and yourself with empowering words! Do it for months and your life will change forever.  

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