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How To Trick Your Brain Into Letting You Achieve Your Career Goals

My favorite quarterback has no emotional memory. No matter how bad his last throw was, Eli Manning of the New York Giants still goes for the big play. 

That mindset enabled him to lead the league in 4th quarter comebacks. It led to winning a  Super Bowl after limping into the playoffs. And then doing it again three years later. 

The absence of regret helped Eli overachieve as a quarterback, the most competitive position in sports.

There’s a lesson for all of us here. If you can’t be a consistent top-tier performer like Peyton Manning, how can you at least be a comeback king, like his little brother, Eli?  


The Fresh Start Effect

Recent studies have found that your mind naturally has a hard time remembering your failures, and overestimates your current progress. As time passes your self-assessment of the past “You” becomes hazy, while your vision of who you are now looks crystal clear.  

This self-delusion may seem like a negative trait, but it’s not. We are preconditioned to believe that we can get better, which is scientifically true. This is what causes us as individuals and as a society to always strive to improve ourselves.

The problem is our confidence comes in waves. We invariably get stuck in a rut, our past mistakes start to haunt us, and the future seems dim. We make a New Year’s resolution, fail to keep it, and by February we think all hope is lost. 

There is a trick you can use to help shake off your discouragement, and jumpstart your optimism. It’s called the Fresh Start Effect. Whenever you encounter a new beginning - a New Year, a birthday, or a new job - you get a natural burst of hopeful energy. 

A Fresh Start allows you to exorcise the “Old You” and make plans to be better. High performers in every career, from quarterbacks to coders have learned how to integrate more Fresh Starts into their lives. They fool themselves into enthusiasm for reaching a goal, no matter how many times, or how recently they’ve failed.

A Fresh Start doesn’t have to be a huge event. The start of the week or even the top of the hour are good enough markers to push the reset button and march on with your mission.
Need more examples of careers that benefited from a fresh start? Let’s talk about a scientist and singer you may know...


Einstein’s Miracle Year

The Fresh Start Effect can be used to explain the career transformation of the world’s most renowned scientist:

“As the year 1905 began, Albert Einstein faced life as a “failed” academic. Yet within the next twelve months, he would publish four extraordinary papers, each on a different topic, that were destined to radically transform our understanding of the universe.”

Michael Jackson’s Diamond Decade

The Fresh Start Effect can be applied to Michael Jackson. Before he was a worldwide pop music icon, he was stuck in a mediocre solo career. Jackson enjoyed lots of success in a boy band with his brothers, but struggled to find his voice, literally and figuratively as a solo artist. 

His first four albums, “Got to Be There”, “Ben”, “Music & Me”, and “Forever, Michael” were given middling reviews when they were first released, and are now just trivia questions compared to what happened next. 

Jackson got a fresh start by signing with a new record label, working with a new producer, and completely changing his sound. The result? He dominated the pop music charts for the next decade. 

In the record industry selling 1 million albums is known as going “platinum”, and 10 million albums is “diamond”. Jackson had a diamond decade, selling tens of millions of units of each of his 3 albums released in the 80s!

How To Create Your Own Fresh Start

According to Google Trends, searches for “how to find a new job” and “learn to code” both spike around the New Year holiday. 

That’s the Fresh Start Effect at play - most people use the turn of the year to start thinking about acquiring new skills or changing their career. 

At Coder Foundry, we find that many people seize upon the internal zeal that gets sparked by a new dawn, and decide to attend our Winter class

But those who need more time to think about their decision mistakenly assume that their window of opportunity has closed, just because January 1st has come and gone.

Not true. 

You can use the start of a new season, like Spring to make the leap and apply to Coder Foundry.

Whatever break point you choose will give your brain the excuse it needs to dump out your doubts and fill you with the enthusiasm and grit needed to make a huge change in your life.

Ready to get a fresh start? Talk to us today.

(Eli Manning image by AJ Guel via Wikimedia Commons)