3 Daily Disciplines to Build Mental Wealth

Adam Bowcutt
6 min readSep 25, 2020

Mental wealth is a strong combination of growth mindset, mental fortitude and abundance mentality. Applying knowledge gleaned from action, awareness and focus, brings greater skill. Discipline is the bridge helping close the gap between your specific goal and its attainment. Mental wealth, with respect to work and life, affords a solid foundation from which we can build an intelligent future. Understanding that 95% of our recurring thoughts are subconscious and 5% are conscious it’s important to pause and think deeply about the source of your current behaviours and present situation.

“Rule your mind or it will rule you.” — Horace

3 Daily Disciplines to Build Mental Wealth

1 Time Transitioning

Important because: applying time-transitioning strategies to your day makes sure you are most effectively spending your finite time. Mindlessly shifting from one perceived priority to the next detrimentally affects intelligent productivity because it depletes vital energy and mental resources, and it’s avoidable. A study by Carnegie Mellon University psychologist Eyal Peer and Information Technology professor Alessandro Acquisti measured brain power lost due to expected phone call or email interruptions. They discovered that test subjects ‘marshaled extra brain power to steel themselves against interruption, or perhaps the potential for interruptions served as a kind of deadline that helped them focus even better.’ [1] Mental agility improves because practicing disciplined time-transitioning skills enables your mind and body to adapt more efficiently to change. The way you adjust to change, with respect to your behaviours, will become more acute and you’ll grow richer in mental wealth. It’s worth noting that ‘a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption’.[2] This highlights the significant impact of disruption to our workdays.

Solution: Schedule your highest priorities with daily built-in time-transitions.*

It’s important to be strict with scheduling, but flexible to any changes outside of your control.

For example:

8:30am-9:30am [Lead weekly team meeting]

9:30am-9:35am* ::: time-transition ::: Do 3 x focused inhales & exhales

9:35am-10:35am [Finalise management report]

10:35am-10:50am* ::: time-transition ::: Walk mindfully to the nearest coffee or tea place then drink slowly enjoying and thinking of your ‘why’

• Accept that you’ll likely get some level of distraction. Be mentally prepared for possible future distractions AND focus on sticking to your schedule.

• Use a Pomodoro-timer and technique [3] for focused and intelligent productivity (Ideal for INTJ personalities) [4]

• Do your best to enjoy your scheduled time-transitions; practice physical and environmental awareness so that you ‘get out of your head’, so to speak.

“Always make time for things that make you feel happy to be alive.” — Anonymous

2 Psychological Safety

Important because psychological safety enables calculated risk-taking within groups of people. Creating a space where you feel safe and open to being vulnerable encourages positive benefits. Within progressive organisations this applies to both individuals and teams. For example, ‘in Google’s fast-paced, highly demanding environment, our success hinges on the ability to take risks and be vulnerable in front of peers.’ says Paul Santagata, Head of Industry at Google[5]. As a result, individual and collective mental wealth is built. Furthermore,’Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina has found that positive emotions like trust, curiosity, confidence, and inspiration broaden the mind and help us build psychological, social, and physical resources. We become more open-minded, resilient, motivated, and persistent when we feel safe. Humour increases, as does solution-finding and divergent thinking — the cognitive process underlying creativity.’[6]

Additionally, a welcome benefit of psychological safety is that it promotes net positive businesses. Here, an environment is created where bold leaders can develop future leaders with impact so that wider communities benefit positively in addition to the business; profit becomes more than simply financial. It’s a good thing.

Solution: If you’re an organisational leader (in your own words) consistently ask your team something along the lines of: “What consequences do you think or feel you’ll receive if you make a mistake or share any errors?” This way you’re opening the conversation allowing space to measure current levels of psychological safety.

• If you’re a team member on a project or an individual contributor, challenge yourself to ask the aforementioned question if it hasn’t already been asked. For example: “What consequences will I receive if I make a mistake or share any errors?” You may be pleasantly surprised at the answer.

• With permission, openly share actual human errors and mistakes because it will develop a culture of psychological safety among peers and throughout the organisation. Make sure the focus is on knowledge-sharing with a goal of collective learning and progress.

“We are deeply sensitive to one another’s presence”― Bonnie Badenoch

3 Rewarding Relationships

Important because: rewarding relationships incentivises bringing people together like social glue and keeping them in a good space. Humans can connect authentically, in the present, with presence. ‘The benefits of social connections and good mental health are numerous. Proven links include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trusting and cooperative relationships. Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life.’[7] Once we start prioritising human relationships, organisations will start to experience a multitude of benefits; cohesive team-working, stronger networking, better health, commercial growth and increased energy.

Solution: Schedule regular lunch dates with colleagues and friends that you would not usually connect with. With repetition you’ll start to reinforce socially positive behaviours and visually inspire others to do the same; leadership starts with you.

• Within organisations adopt an incentive system that rewards people for getting out of their comfort zone with respect to initiating social relationships. For example, offer say 15–20 minutes extra free time to encourage social bonding

• For individuals: reward yourself with a coffee or small gift if you assertively introduce yourself to a new person.

• Offer to buy someone new a coffee with a simple goal of initiating a reciprocal and friendly social relationship. See what happens in future…

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” — Leo Christopher

With a strong focus on the following daily disciplines of Time Transitioning, Psychological Safety and Rewarding relationships you will start to build mental wealth for the long-term. It’s important to be consistent in your actions because behaviours become habitual and seamless by nature. The rewards to organisations, individuals and wider communities are unbounded.

Written by Adam Bowcutt

References / Sources

[1] New York Times, Brain, Interrupted by Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson

[2] New York Times, Brain, Interrupted by Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson

[3] Xnforce, Stronger Mental Health & Powerful Productivity: Pomodoro Technique Vs. Deep Work by Adam Bowcutt

[4] NERIS Analytics, 16 Personalities

[5] Harvard Business Review, High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It, by Laura Delizonna

[6] Harvard Business Review, High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It, by Laura Delizonna

[7] Better health Victoria, Strong relationships, strong health: Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia



Adam Bowcutt

Mental Health Author | I am Adam Bowcutt and I am rewriting mental wealth