QUOTES & WISDOM
from the
TOP OF THE MIND

QUOTES & WISDOM

from the Top of the Mind

QUOTES & WISDOM

from the
Top of the Mind

“Dr. Crawford’s presentation was the highlight of the conference and a much needed reminder for all of us (especially nurses) to keep it all balanced. Bill’s psychology background surely protruded through his messages and I know it was well-received by all!”

Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL

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Four Steps To Creating the Life You Want

If you are on my mailing list or subscribe to my YouTube channel, you are probably used to my taking topics and applying brain science in the form of my “Life from the Top of the Mind” system to create actionable solutions. In this essay, I want to expand on this by applying a concept I have developed for organizations to those who are wanting to create more meaningful lives as individuals and families.

I call it the “Cultural Quadrangle” because it involves four steps, and because it has been used in the past to help organizations create more purposeful cultures. This concept also aligns nicely with my C-cubed model of clarity, confidence, and creativity in that we must have a certain amount of clarity before we can access our confidence and creativity, or as Brene’ Brown suggests,”You can’t claim what you can’t name.” Also, as Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”

The first step of the process involves an individual, family, and/or organization becoming clear about their values. This is common enough, and makes sense to most people. Unfortunately, what is common sense is not often common practice, and, therefore, I always help those I work with, whether individuals or groups, spend some time naming the qualities and characteristics that they value. In other words, who are you at your best, and/or what are the qualities and characteristics you want to trust or rely upon to create the life that you want?

The reason this is important is that it allows the most purposeful part of who we are (the neocortex, what I call the “Top of the Mind”) to determine how we are going to make decisions and deal with others, versus allowing this choice to be made by the lower, unconscious, reactive brain (the limbic system and brainstem).

The second step involves making these qualities and characteristics more meaningful and accessible by operationalizing them, or choosing behaviors that will bring them to life. In other words, what does being confident, kind, resilient, authentic, etc., look like in terms of behaviors? When someone is being purposeful, what are they doing… when they are being compassionate, creative, calm and responsible, what are they doing? This takes a while, but it is a critical step to ensure that values aren’t just nice words, but ones that can be identified, taught, and practiced as concrete behaviors.

The third step involves naming what we don’t want, i.e., looking at those qualities and behaviors that are incongruent with the best of who we are. These could include old beliefs or habits that we may have repeated in the past, or simply concepts that are antithetical to the life that we want to create, such as, self-doubt, being critical of others, trusting fear or worry to make decisions, etc. It’s important to note that simply naming these won’t keep them from popping into our mind from time to time. However, when we have determined that we no longer want to trust them, they are less likely to throw us off track.

The fourth step, or fourth component of the “Cultural Quadrangle” is all about personal commitment, or ensuring a life of continuous improvement by choosing the qualities and characteristics that we want to practice or improve upon. This is important because there will always be parts of who we are that just naturally show up based upon our DNA, upbringing, and personality. For me, this is optimism, joy, and a love of helping others. I don’t have to consciously bring these to life because they are pretty much always in the top of my mind. However, skills and qualities, such as, organization, listening, and paying attention to detail are not automatic for me, and, therefore, it will be important for me to commit to practicing these, or improving in these areas if I want to create a life, family, or organization that I would recommend to those I love.

So, there you have it. Four steps to creating the life that you want. Identify your values, choose behaviors that bring these to life, become aware of what you don’t want to think, feel, or do going forward, and make a personal commitment to what you want to improve upon, or the aspects of your life that will take practice for you to become the well-rounded individual, family, and/or organization that you want.

Of course, all of this is driven by the purposeful part of the brain (what I call the Top of the Mind) and, therefore, fits nicely into my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy. Therefore, if you want your life to be created on purpose, I suggest that you begin by becoming clear about what this looks like for you, your family, and/or your organization. Until we raise our awareness about what we want, what this looks like, what we don’t want, and what will take practice to achieve, we will continue to simply react to those people and situations that we encounter. In other words, we will be living by chance versus by choice in ways we would probably not recommend to those we love.

~ All the best, Dr. Bill

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