You Can’t Fool Your Brain

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Your brain is designed to work hard but it needs glucose, oxygen, water, nutrients, stimulus, and rest. Ignore any of these and problem-solving aptitude, creativity, memory, empathy, and decision-making ability can decrease. Even just a 2% drop in hydration decreases your concentration and alertness.

It is easy to rob from your future for this minute. This moment has one more thing to be done, one more call, one more article, and one more post. This moment demands on you and is not interested in your brain’s needs.

Yet, even a microbreak of 30 seconds has been shown to increase alertness and stamina. Although I won’t get into all the research on microbreaks, it is quite amazing what has been shown can been done in under five minutes. I try to do 3-5 minute walks on the treadmill or outside between meetings. Even just looking away from the computer for 20 seconds and taking a breathe can have a significant impact.

Your brain has a simple message: “Take care of me now so I can take care of you.” You can manage the big pits of success easier when you do the small things for you. Now is the time.

Adapted from “The Pit of Success: How Leaders Adapt, Succeed, and Repeat” by Dave Jennings and Amy Leishman available February 2021

About the Author
Dave Jennings accelerates meaningful change. He has worked with leaders from 20 of the Fortune 500 and spoken in 23 countries. His articles and commentary have been featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, and He is author of Catapulted: How Great Leaders Succeed Beyond their Experience. Contact Dave at