Challenging the definition of insanity

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Mindset matters in 2018.

Einstein’s famous quote suggests that doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, is the definition of insanity. Throughout my coaching experience, I hear this quote often from a community of people who have a sincere desire to change. Yet with what we know about the human brain, I wondered just how well this statement would hold up to today’s brain test. I wondered that instead of this being the definition of insanity, if it was actually the definition of normalcy.

I know from both my in-house research and my brain-based training that the brain actually loves repetition. After all, humans are the world’s best pattern-recognition machines. Our brains are excellent pattern-makers and reward us for using this very helpful skill. Repetition actually creates these patterns leading to the comfort of familiarity or rhythm. Music, for instance, is a great example of the pleasure that is derived from this type of repeat performance. Repetition leads to understanding, and as humans, we continue to use these patterns in our everyday work encounters.

The question then becomes, is your current mental framework going to continue to serve you well with your 2018 plans?

Ask yourself honestly: “Am I where I hoped to be professionally? Have my opinions hindered my ability to grow or affected others around me? Am I a coach at work or a dictator? Has innovation suffered because I’m stuck in this rut? Am I afraid to try something new?” So, if you’re bold enough to defy your normalcy, let me share a bite-sized piece that you can start NOW to mentally prepare for 2018.

I’m very fortunate because all I have to do is walk to our research center at the back of my office, and ask our in-house PhD just how to best get started.

Here’s what Dr. Erikson Neilans had to say:

First things first, the greatest gift you could give yourself to set the foundation for 2018 is solidifying your vision. Visualize yourself having a celebratory drink next December. What would you have accomplished? Use this time for reflection and admit the fears that are holding you back. Address your weaknesses by writing them done and saying them aloud. There is a very specific reason why treatment programs begin with a verbal commitment to acceptance. It’s impactful for our brain to hear it aloud.

Don’t fall under the repetitive trap of viewing weaknesses as threats, but instead opportunities to address as bite-sized pieces in 2018. Our hope here at Team APA is that you heed this evidence-based approach now that you know the information. If not, that is our definition of insanity. We hope you don’t live it because we’ll guarantee the same results in 2018.


Curious what the results could look like if you approach 2018 this way? Watch our recent Mindset Matters Facebook Live interview where we sit down with a client who has taken this year to reflect, change and grow. They can now look back over the year and raise a glass to 2017!

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President and CEO

Joan Graci is an accomplished organizational consultant and executive coach with three decades of helping growing companies identify, retain, and develop top talent. Her time as President and Owner of APA Solutions, the premier brain-based human capital consulting firm of WNY, has been spent developing cutting edge, science-based solutions to the people pains of today.