While most of us can't remove ourselves from daily life as radically as that man who went to Africa, we can create the conditions that make rebirth possible. Based on Dr. Treitler's observations, she can suggest concrete steps to change a habit that have nothing to do with food or exercise or any other behavior you're wrestling with. The fact is, no matter which cognitive type you are, you can "learn to shift to another mode of thinking," to "stretch" the brain quadrant boundaries in which you feel at home, says Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of Herrmann International, which developed the HBDI. So for people who have no natural inclination to be systematic and detail oriented ("B" strengths), Treitler says the goal is to build up familiarity and comfort with those approaches.
According to Herrmann-Nehdi, simple activities practiced over a period of about three weeks can bolster your inner bookkeeper. They can be done in stages, she says.
- Begin with organization. Alphabetize your CDs, then, a few days later, your spices. A few days after that, rearrange your closet, then your tax papers.
- Next comes timeliness. Keep a time log of your daily activities, and start being punctual for every appointment.
- Then comes planning. Sit down and map out a week in advance. It's also helpful to follow a routine—jogging a certain course every other day, balancing your checkbook once a week.
- Finally, there's step-by-step thinking: Cook from a recipe exactly as it's written, knit from a pattern, learn a computer program by following a tutorial or manual.