One Daily Habit - As Quick As Brushing Your Teeth - That Will Change Your Life

One Daily Habit - As Quick As Brushing Your Teeth - That Will Change Your Life

You want to be exceptional at everything you do. Ok, maybe not everything, but the most important roles and responsibilities in your life. Whether you are a manager or leader or a contributor on a team or a parent or a teacher or partner: you want to be exceptional at it. You want to have a big impact.

But you struggle. You find that you sometimes get overwhelmed with so much to do and so little time or you are dealing with difficult people or managing so much change. You may have also come to realize that if you can’t find ways to manage these things you struggle with, there is a lot at stake:

  • it can eat away at your effectiveness and your ability to stay focused on important things
  • it can cause you to get overwhelmed with emotions and become less resilient
  • it can cause you to not to show up as the person you want to be.

This has significant consequences on the people around you:

  • They may not feel as connected to you and become less trusting
  • They may be less willing to take risks with new ideas or important actions
  • As a result, they may be feeling stuck

All of this can block or slow down necessary changes and innovations.

In order for you to show up as your best self, you need to develop a habit that impacts your brain and mind in a way that allows you to stay sharp, focused and able to deal with any significant challenges you face.

What might that habit be?

Do you think that when human beings first evolved on this planet, they brushed their teeth? If you think this is a trick question, rest assured it is not. Modern-day tooth brushing did not become widespread until after the Second World War, when US soldiers continued to brush their teeth as it had been required during their military service.

Since we didn’t start brushing our teeth from the start of our history on this earth, it simply hasn't been part of our genome. Yet today, I am sure that you brush your teeth at least a couple times a day - if not, that may be a different problem to address another time.

I think we have reached a time and place where we need to think of taking care of our brain and mind the same way we think about our teeth and oral or physical hygiene. If we wouldn't go out meeting people without brushing our teeth, why wouldn't we do the same for our mind? Surely, our mental well-being and nourishing our mind and brain is as important, if not way more important. Our brain and mind is at the center of our performance, happiness, ability to do difficult things, connect to others and everything else we do.

The secret to nourishing our mind daily is building a habit that only takes as much time as brushing our teeth every morning

How to develop a daily mindfulness practice:

  • It means taking a few minutes a day - just as we train our Olympic athletes, Navy Seals and leaders - to bring ourselves back to the present, instead of spinning into fear-based storytelling or fantasy of what might happen in a challenging relationship or with some change we are faced with.
  • It means learning to stop our mind from jumping to blame, drama or worry, when we things are uncertain.
  • It means stopping to pay attention to our body and breath and observing how our mind naturally wanders. This allows us to gain new insight, specifically that we are not our thoughts and that we are not at the mercy of our thinking.

This is a powerful way to take care of our brain and mind like we take care of our teeth, and it doesn't take any more time. Yet the benefits are huge: The more we practice and see our mind for what it is, we build skills that helps us manage the things that overwhelm us, like too much to do and so little time, dealing with difficult people, or managing change.

This is what allows us to be:

  • less driven by fear and worry and the stories and drama that regularly inhabit our minds
  • more effective and courageous in the moment
  • able to enter into what we call the Last 8% zone more often, the space where we are able to develop new ideas, new strategies and better relationships.

 Which, as a result, allows us to have a greater impact on the people around us. It is this daily mindfulness practice that can differentiate our careers, our lives, our teams and our organization.


“Mastering others is strength; mastering oneself is true power” ~ Lao Tsu