I have been wanting to change my hairstyle for quite a while now, but because of my perennial short crop, it was difficult to find an appropriate hair stylist to advise me on how to go about getting that desired haircut, and whether it would be suit my face shape, etc. Hence, when I was invited by the kind folks of Salon Infinity (@saloninfinitysg) at Suntec City Mall Tower 2 for a haircut, I jumped at the chance.
Let me describe this in a little more detail. I have been having the conventional Armani haircut for over a decade already. Even though i wanted to change my haircut, my hair was way too short -- I was easily affected by my sides thickening, and within the span of two weeks, I would queue up for a new haircut.
However, a couple of weeks back, in May, I decided that it was about time to effect change. I read up on the Internet on some of the trending haircuts, and reckoned that I would still stick to a short crop (which was more ideal for my slightly curly hair anyway), but one that would allow me to sweep my hair to the side. In addition, I would like to have a more distinctive side parting, for a fresh and distinct look.
After being introduced to the creative director Raymond, I summarised quickly to him on what I desired, but I relayed to him that I was comfortable for him to try out his version of what would work for me. Without much hesitation, he went on with his clipper. Within thirty minutes, his deft hands got me this haircut.
The issue with this hairstyle was that it was not easy to see it from the camera. I then went nearby and took a side view which gave a better depiction of the hair parting line. In short, I was pretty impressed with Raymond, as well as the Aveda treatment when he washed my hair.
Giveaway and Promo Alert!
I had a good liaison with the Salon Infinity team, and we struck a pact to detail my hair journey for the next six months. I also requested for a promo and a giveaway offer, which goes below:
Promo: Get 15% off all ala carte services, including haircut (UP: $69.55) via promo code WILLIE15. Valid till 30 Sep 2017. T&C applies.
Giveaway: Haircut Giveaway to 1 lucky winner via Instagram! Follow @saloninfinitysg and comment why you should win a haircut worth up to $69.55. Contest ends 30 June 2017. T&C applies.
Last evening, I had my first attempt NirvanaFitness®, which was conducted by Course Instructor Berry.
In short, NirvanaFitness® is a unique blend of uplifting music, simple-to-follow combination of Pilates and Yoga exercises, coupled with rhythmic breathing. This aims to help detoxify the body and experience the Nirvana mind. Technically, NirvanaFitness® progressively lowers the participant's breathing rhythm from start to finish from 12 breaths/minute to a mere 4 breaths/minute in the last section of the Nirvana workout. This increasingly employs the "relax centres" of the body's nervous system and efficiently slows and calms all body systems, thereby creating potential for regeneration through decreasing metabolic rates at all levels.
Apparently, the breathing techniques used in this group exercise are used and recommended by doctors and the effects are well-documented within science. This is premised on the fact that over 80% of the people are breathing wrongly! This is one of the leading causes for many modern health problems, especially when sufficient oxygenation is vital for survival.
For my personal experience with NirvanaFitness, it felt like the usual Yoga session that I occasionally attend, albeit without the Sun Salutation (!) In particular, I enjoyed the breathing sessions and moving through the prescribed movements based on inhalation and exhalation. The hour passed by quickly, and ended with the Nirvana Theta Wave technology & Binaural beats. It seems that NirvanaFitness® has developed a unique sound technology with the help of sound researchers & engineers that uses Theta waves to induce deep & effective relaxation state through direct influence on listener’s brainwaves. Brainwaves are electrical activity patterns caused by the neurons of the brain communicating with each other. Brainwaves can be detected using sensitive medical equipment such as an EEG. They provide an indication of the mental state of an individual.
Nirvana ThetaWave sound technology aims to cause brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state. This can be used, for example, to induce sleep.
Theta waves (at around 4 to 7 Hz) are the sweet spot for many brain functions. There, we often experience extreme relaxation, creativity, as well as vibrant mental imagery. For the past forty years or so scientists have experimented with different audio techniques to induce Theta waves. Technique is to play a specific audio rhythm to replicate the 4 to 8 Hz frequency of the Theta brainwaves.
Sounds new age? Maybe it is! The next NirvanaFitness® class would be held next Tuesday on 28 Feb at 715pm at Wellaholic. Do come join us and make a booking at http://bit.ly/w_fit if you are free!
American football coach, Tony Dungy changed the game with an interesting yet counter-intuitive coaching approach. Instead of trying to outmatch his competition with complex schemes and tougher players, Tony drilled his team to only a few key plays. He did everything that he could to get his team to stop thinking, and react based on habit instead.
Tony understood that habits cannot usually be overcome. Instead, a habit can only be changed if a new routine is successfully inserted into the process with exactly the same cue and the same reward. He then trained his team to automatically link the cues that they already knew to different routines that were on-field. This consisted of routines that were less complex, required fewer choices in decision-making, and more subconscious reactions. With this approach, Tony turn two abysmal teams into championship contenders.
Perhaps, one of the most famous example of successful habit change is the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The author (of this book) was fascinated with how a physical addiction with psychological and genetic roots is frequently overcome by an unscientific, unstructured and largely arbitrary system that addresses neither the psychiatric nor biochemical factors that experts say are the foundation of alcoholism.
Alcoholics Anonymous inserts a new routine into the cue/reward system by identifying what need the alcohol is fulfilling (e.g. escapism, relaxation, companionship, etc.) and hence provides a similar type of relief through the AA group.
Nevertheless, this is insufficient to keep alcoholics from refraining from drinking beer or wine when the stresses of life takes its toll. There is one other crucial element: belief. Belief is a skill that makes habit change possible.
Change occurs among other people. It seems real when we can see it in other people's eyes.
You might be astounded to know that long long time ago in America, in the early twenties, hardly anyone brushed their teeth. In fact, rotting teeth was such a serious problem for the soldiers in World War One that government officials declared poor dental hygiene as a national security risk! That all changed, however, when a marketing maestro by the name of Claude Hopkins.
Claude was actually the genius that took unknown brands such as Goodyear and Quaker Oats, and turned them into household brand names. What did Claude do? His signature tactic was to tap into the habit loop by anchoring the product to a specific trigger, regardless of how incredulous the connection was. Quaker Qats, for example, became successful when Claude was able to convince America that it provided 24-hour energy – but only if you ate a bowl every morning.
Similarly, Claude applied the same principles to toothpaste. He ran advertisements that read,
“Just run your tongue across your teeth. You will feel a film – that’s what makes your teeth ‘’off colour” and invites decay.”
After giving people the cue, he continued with images of beautiful white smiles and the statement:
“Note how many pretty teeth are seen everywhere. Millions are using a new method of teeth cleaning. Why should any woman have dingy film on her teeth? Pepsodent removes the film!”
The claim was in fact downright false and unwarranted. The “film” is a naturally occurring membrane, and toothpaste actually doesn’t do anything to remove it. However, the cue was universal and easily apparent, and people could relate to the connection to the reward (beautiful teeth). Within a decade, toothpaste usage had grown from 7% of the population to 65%, and probably 99.9% in the modern day.
Back to Febreze
In the earlier posting, I mentioned about Febreze. Febreze was actually a technological marvel that worked well. The problem was the phenomenon of the human olfactory system that causes people to become used to any smell and lose the ability to detect it. In this manner, a lady with nine cats and a house odour had no cue sufficient to induce or convince her to use the product that would probably transform her life.
P&G executive were about to axe the product when the product team discovered what scientists already knew; that a habit is only formed when the brain begins to anticipate and crave the reward the moment the cue is introduced, before the routine is even completed. You can’t sell a product that provides scentlessness because there is no cue available for the brain to anticipate.
Febreze sales went through the roof once P&G began marketing the product instead as an air freshener – a product to be used as the final step of a cleaning process or routine to make the room aromatically fresh and inviting. Once people tried the product, they began to crave the clean smell from Febreze.
Creating a Cue
It was here that the authors of the book reveal that Claude Hopkins’ methods really had little impact on the sales of Pepsodent toothpaste. In reality, that particular toothpaste’s success was completed by chance. Pepsodent had included citric acid, mint oil, and other ingredients that created that now-familiar cool, tingling effect. That feeling created a cue – people missed the feeling when they forgot to brush their teeth. The tingling serves no purpose other than to let people know the product is working.
Prevent “oops I forgot” and other excuses, and make your habits last indefinitely.
Scenario #1: The marketing team at Procter and Gamble investigates videos of people making their beds. They attempt to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, which was on track to be the greatest flops in their company history. Suddenly, one of the team members detects a nearly imperceptible pattern. With a slight shift in marketing, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
Scenario #2: A young lady made a remarkable transformation. Over the past two years, she has transformed her life is almost every aspect. She has quit smoking, took part and completed a marathon. She has also been promoted at work. Neurologists investigated and realised that the patterns inside her brain has fundamentally changed.
What do these two scenarios have in common? Success was achieved by focusing on the patterns that shape and affect every aspect of our lives.
HABIT helped the transformation.
The Power of HABIT
Written by Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and writer, Charles Huhigg, the 2012 New York Times bestseller The Power of Habit describes several examples of the roles of habits in individuals, organisation, as well as societies, and follows up with methods to recognise and consciously direct the things that really control our behaviour and our results.
I will dedicate several blog posts to uncover the chapters one by one, with a key purpose in mind. On why it is important to form HABITS that will guide us and lead us to live a fulfilling life, or what I term as a #wellaholic life.
CHAPTER ONE: How Habits Work
The first story touched on Eugene Pauly, a 71-year-old man who lost part of the lobe of his brain (medial temporal lobe) due to a viral infection. The rest of Eugene's brain was perfectly intact, and he had no problem recounting or recalling anything that happened before 1960. However, he suffered a total short-term memory loss, and was unable to retain any knowledge of any new event or events for more than a minute. He constantly repeated his words and actions from a minute ago. Eugene could not recognise his family nor his friends, and he couldn't also tell where his bedroom was located, or how to get to the nearby supermarket.
However, in an effort to ensure that Eugene got some exercise to keep him healthy, his wife started to take him to walks around the block on a daily basis. One day, Eugene disappeared, and his wife went into panic mode, only to realise that Eugene showed up fifteen minutes later. While Eugene was unable to draw a map of his block or even point to where his house was, he was able to take that same walk around the block every day.
Eugene has demonstrated what scientists had suspected but never before proved; that habits are formed and operate entirely separately from the part of the brain responsible for memory. Later tests revealed that we learn and make unconscious choices without having to remember anything about the lesson or about decision-making.
Your brain is constantly seeking new ways to save effort.
As a result, it is always "rearranging" sequences of actions into automatic routines. Backing out of the driveway, for example requires over a dozen actions, but many of us do it daily without a second thought.
The HABIT Loop
The habit process consists of a three-step loop:
As part of the #wellaholic movement, I am currently exploring how to leverage the power of Gamification and Group Responsibility to form habits that stick. That has led me to HABITICA, a free habit building and productivity app that treats our real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishment to motivate you and make you stick to your dailies and to-do tasks. While I am "beta-testing" this application for #wellaholic, I would like to invite anyone who would like to make a conscious attempt to form a habit (such as sticking to the #30days60secCoreChallenge and #WellaholicAbRoller challenge) to join us. Go to HABITICA, create a free account and contact me - I would gladly add you to our party, and let's create good habits and slay the monsters!
My name is Willie, and I like to muse about things. Things related to me are Wellaholic.