Invest in Your Life pt. 3: The Magic Number 7

Inward Investment: The Magic Number 7 & Feeling Good

Miller (1920 – ) is famous for demonstrating that our brains can’t deal with very much information at one time. If fact, you probably can only remember up to 7 random numbers or six letters or 4 or 5 words.  Try this by looking at the numbers below?

 2 4 6 7 8 0 9 7 2 3

Now hide the page and see how many you can write down. Most people can recall about 7. Chunking or grouping helps you to remember better.  Recalling  7 4 1 4 9 2 1 9 4 5 or TVFBIJFKCIAIBM would be helped if you see the sequence in the first and the acronyms in the second…

Because of how our minds work, it is therefore helpful to us to focus our efforts so that we are attending to (thinking about) things that matter.  However, you may find yourself thinking and worrying about things that you can’t influence. By definition, things that you can’t control are going to happen anyway DESPITE YOUR BEST EFFORTS.  Therefore, why spend any of your precious time or energy thinking about them?

Controlling the Controllables.

Worse still, lack of perceived control over our situation affects our wellbeing and our thinking. We get demotivated, fed up and stressed. Giving a footballing example, you’re not going to be helped if you are busy trying to control whether your team is going to win or not. This is because an individual player cannot control the output (winning), they can only control what they do (input).

Almost magically, as soon as they stop trying to control the uncontrollable they are set free and can focus on what they can do.  They then perform better, and feel better. And, more importantly, it makes a winning performance more likely for everyone.

Techniques to help you to sort out issues in your personal and professional lives in an efficient and effective manner. The list is extensive but includes anxiety, addiction, relationships, depression, and all things therapeutic.

Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: .

Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support for treatment for addictions. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Ken McLeish BA DMS MBA MSc MSc Cert Ed UKCP Reg
Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy
Cuthbert House, NE6 5RD
0191 3506415 .


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