Getting Satisfation with an Outlaw Brain

Getting Satisfation with an Outlaw Brain

Did you know you have an outlaw living in your head that keeps you from seeing some of the good around you?


This outlaw is a notorious and habitual hijacker of your attention. ​My friend, coach, and colleague, Alan Brown, ​ introduced me to the concept of calling out the outlaw in my brain. The outlaw in our heads is a negativity bias that happens when the brain naturally perceives adverse results as stronger than positive results taking place. The threat of our outlaw brain is that it can trap you in thinking about negativity and halt focus and productivity by activating procrastination or worse, rumination.


Our brains note the “bad” and will latch on to the negative rather than notice the positives. This tendency of negativity focuses on the less-than-perfect ‘things’ and misses all the rich and good stuff that is also present. For example, you are at a party with all your colleagues enjoying the amazing food and music. Suddenly, you make a cool dance move (think ROBOT) and then spend the evening obsessing over how you looked for the rest of the night. Negating all the incredible laughs, hugs, and splendid music you were enjoying until the infamous move.


Because of my outlaw brain, negative thoughts from the past, today and even those made tomorrow will pull focus away from my priorities and intentions. By living with this outlaw, I'm learning to be thankful for my brain because it has taught me so much about overcoming and succeeding despite its many attempts at derailing my focus and time. BTW- I am not suggesting you obliterate your outlaw brain and turn yourself into the Saint of Perpetual Perfectionism, either. ​Read the downside of perfectionism here.​

Understanding my ‘outlaw’ brain has invited me to break down and define my views of work as it affects my passion, the actions I choose with the time given, and managing ​competing demands with work left done and undone. ​ Being aware of negative bias has encouraged me to think more about satisfying work, the actions that matter, and even the management of physical energy for task completion.


~When DO I feel satisfied with the work I’ve done? What does that look like?

~Can I be happy with the EFFORTS made despite all the adversity and imperfection that negative bias throws my way?

~What parts of this process MATTER to my productivity and the systems I have in place or need to adapt?


Often more than productivity tools and strategy, I first need to know what I’m working for and envision the contentment I’ll feel when I get to share hard-won lessons and brain research of living with a uniquely wired, working-mom, online side hustler brain. Finding and celebrating efforts and progress made towards hard stuff increases my satisfaction and knocks the outlaw off his horse. My satisfaction is as equally important as the results I get. Seeing the satisfaction of my intentions, and meeting my expectations and personal needs, all while pursuing the vision of my life’s purpose.


Maybe I find pleasure in the dopamine rush I get when I think about supporting others through difficult times or discovering the golden nuggets found in the crappy parts if I search for them. Could it be the pleasure comes from the anticipation of deeper understanding when I show up each week?


I honestly don’t know, but I can tell you that the need to celebrate the progress made toward the scary unknowns makes me more engaged, happier, and productive. I’m able to better manage the procrastivity that sneaks into my life.

But the author, Grace Marshall, may have an idea about sharing success and celebrating progress. In her book, How to Be Really Productive, she notes researchers have found a positive correlation between the act of satisfaction with sharing. She says that “discussing positive experiences leads to heightened well-being, increased overall life satisfaction and even more energy… sharing our joy increases joy. Telling people about our happiness has far greater benefits than just remembering it or writing it down for ourselves.”


Finding a way to share and celebrate progress and growth in our actions and intentions is a part of improving productivity because it is countering the negative bias we all face. Can you see progress in your life (nothing is too little to note)? Let’s look for something to celebrate this tough week. I’d love to hear it. Reply to my contact page and share any victory with me.


DeShawn Wert teaches intelligent, motivated professionals how to get stuff done so they CAN relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Let's explore how you do your best work together. An Ericson-trained life coach and JTS Coaching-trained ADHD coach, DeShawn is a member of good standing in the ADHD Coaches Organization. She's contributed to several books on living with ADHD, including Dr. Dale Archer's book, The ADHD Advantage, and Laurie Dupar's series called More Ways to Succeed with ADHD.

Contact DeShawn Now-Set Up a Time to Talk


You know what I find fascinating? It's our differences


~ especially those of us who can be a little off-center trying to function and find fulfillment in the mainstream world. This world values efficiency and productivity, which can require productivity techniques and hacks that some of us find 

too mundane and soul-crushing, if not impossible to follow.


For me, I've found I can't follow mainstream productivity tools and hacks. I've had to learn to drive my brain, use its quirks and creativity to feel seen, make contributions to the world, and enjoy both work and home.


I like working with smart people who are ready to dump conventional productivity techniques to learn their true personal productivity by understanding how to drive their brains and discover their unique strengths to redesign their days with systems that complement them.


Let's start exploring together!