The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Priming'?

Priming is a method of consciously programming your brain to alert you when particular information is present in your environment.

You can use Priming to influence your Pattern Matching. By deciding what you're looking for, you can program your mind to alert when valuable information pops up.

Goal setting is useful because it's an easy way to Prime your mind to look for things that will help you achieve your goal.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Priming'

Have you ever been interested in a particular type of car, only to start noticing them everywhere? I certainly have-it feels like someone suddenly unloaded hundreds of the exact make and model of the car you like all over the highway.

That's not true, of course-the universe isn't playing tricks on you. The cars were always there; you just never noticed them before.

Before you decided you were interested in a particular type of car, your brain filtered those cars out of your awareness. Once you became interested, however, your brain stopped filtering that information, and you started noticing any time that particular car drove by.

In a sense, you programmed your brain to notice certain things about the environment around you. All it took was becoming interested in something specific.

Priming is a method of consciously programming your brain to alert you when particular information is present in your environment.

One of the fascinating ramifications of our brain's Pattern Matching function is that we're constantly scanning the environment for useful information.

If you tell your mind specifically what you want to find, it will alert you whenever your senses notice it.

Priming is a way to consciously influence your brain's Pattern Matching capabilities. By taking a few moments to consciously decide what you're interested in and what you're looking for, you can program your mind to alert you when it notices something relevant. Some people call this intuition-priming is how you consciously put your intuition to productive use.

Here's an example of how I use priming: in the book 10 Days to Faster Reading, Abby Marks- Beale recommends a technique I refer to as purpose-setting: taking a few minutes before you start reading to figure out (1) why you want to read this material and (2) what kind of information you're looking for.

Jotting down a few notes before picking up the book is helpful in reinforcing exactly what you're looking to find.

After defining your purpose, you then pick up the book and flip through it quickly, paying particular attention to the table of contents, section headings, and index-condensed sources of information about what the book contains and how the material is structured. Jotting down terms and concepts that appear to be particularly important helps prime your brain to notice them when they appear later.

This process only takes a few minutes, but the impact it has on your reading speed is profound. Once you've primed your mind to notice important concepts, you can work your way through the entire book at lightning speed.

As you read, your brain is automatically filtering out unimportant material and honing in on the material you're particularly interested in learning. As a result, it's possible to extract most of the useful content in the book in less than twenty minutes. When I go to a library or bookstore, this technique allows me to read a dozen books an hour.

Without using this method, there's no way I could have created the Personal MBA Recommended Reading List as it exists today, let alone written this book.

One of the ways people "get lucky" whenever they're working towards a particular goal is via Priming. One of the reasons goal-setting is useful is because it's an easy way to prime your brain to look for things that will help you get what you want.

If your goal is to climb Mt. Everest, you're far more likely to notice when tickets to Nepal are 70% off while browsing a travel Web site. If you read the same thing before setting the goal, you'd probably filter it out-you'd have no reason to pay attention.

Take some time to consciously prime your brain to notice what's important to you, and you'll inevitably find it.

Questions About 'Priming'


"Many an object is not seen, though it falls within the range of our visual ray, because it does not come within the range of our intellectual ray, i.e., we are not looking for it. So, in the largest sense, we find only the world we look for."

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 1837-1861


From Chapter 7:

Working With Yourself


https://personalmba.com/priming/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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