We all need a mental boardroom.
Not a room full of people who are all mentally ill, but rather a roomful of people to act as counsel – role models, people who hold us to a high standard, that kind of thing.
(though you could make the argument that, in my case, a boardroom full of mentally unwell people would make far better life choices than I).
I first heard of the idea of having a mental board room in Napoleon Hill’s classic book, “Confessions of a naughty schoolmistress”…
(I don’t have a copy to hand, so forgive me if I’m a little off with the title)
The idea is that you choose people who possess the qualities you desire and house them all in a boardroom so that you can mentally meet with them and seek advice.
It gives you a chance to purposefully choose the type of person you want to be and then select the best role models that will keep you accountable and hold you to this high standard.
Want to have the energy of Tony Robbins, the funny bone of Steve Martin or the productivity levels of Tim Ferriss?
The mental boardroom gives you a chance to do this.
And you don’t have to only choose from the “famous people everyone has heard of” bucket either.
It can be anyone at all. You can be:
Punctual, like your Aunt Doris
As patient and calm as your heavily sedated nan.
Dead or alive. Real or imaginary. It doesn’t matter. All you have to be able to do is picture them sitting in your mental boardroom.
Mental boardroom members are also free to come and go as they please – there’s no fixed or minimum membership nor limit on members.
One day, you might choose a “being calm in a crisis” boardroom, the next day, you might pick an “Oh my god! I can’t fit into my jeans!!!” version.
(Most of my pondering tends to be kebab recipe related)
Napoleon Hill mentioned that he would sit down and meet with his mental boardroom every night. He interacted with all of the members and had some amazing insights.
Thomas Edison even gave the idea his seal of approval to the idea (in real life, not via the mental boardroom).
If you can get past the idea that, not only are you creating an imaginary world, but also the imaginary conversations taking place within that world, the mental boardroom technique is quite a useful one to tap into, especially if you’ve done your research into your members (that phrasing sounds wrong, but you get the idea).
If you’re not quite up to the mental gymnastics of a full boardroom visualisation, steal an exercise from the Stoics – just imagine that someone you admire is watching over you during the day. Would they approve of what you’re doing? How would they act?
So, who would be in your mental boardroom and, more importantly, why?