Novelty, often associated with freshness and originality, has a remarkable impact on our lives. It brings excitement, wonder, and fascination, akin to discovering a unique flavor of ice cream or exploring a new city for the first time. But beyond the initial thrill, novelty also has profound effects on our brain, enhancing our capacity to learn and remember.
However, not all that is new qualifies as novel; it must be genuinely innovative and devoid of negative perceptions to trigger its desired effects. In this blog post, we explore novelty as a bio-hack for personal and professional peak performance.
The Power of Novelty:
Research demonstrates that novelty can significantly influence our cognitive abilities. When we encounter something entirely new and exciting, our brains light up, enhancing our ability to absorb and retain information. This cognitive boost has practical applications, particularly in the workplace, where leaders can leverage novelty to engage and inspire their teams. Incorporating novelty can improve profitability, productivity, attendance, retention, customer satisfaction, innovation, and adaptability. (For more on this, see "A Link Between Employee Engagement and Business Performance" by Matt Tenney.)
The Ephemeral Nature of Novelty:
Novelty, however, comes with a caveat – it has a limited shelf life. What initially captures our attention and sparks our curiosity can gradually become mundane and routine as we grow accustomed to it. Consider the latest smartphone model or fashion trend; they lose their novelty as they become more commonplace. This phenomenon calls for mindfulness regarding how often we introduce new experiences into our lives to tap into the power of the novelty bio-hack.
To infuse our lives with novelty, we can start by trying new things in various aspects, such as experimenting with different cuisines, exploring unfamiliar music genres, or pursuing novel recreational opportunities. Online retailers have capitalized on this concept by offering subscription services that deliver novel products, like clothing, make-up/fragrance, and food, to our homes each month.
The Positive Feedback Loop:
Novelty triggers positive brain function that fuels curiosity. This enhanced mood sets off a natural feedback loop of positive momentum. Thus, it's advantageous to consciously and regularly inject doses of novelty into our personal and professional lives. To delve deeper into the science behind the benefits of incorporating novelty into your life, you can explore "The Science of Novelty" by Alane K. Daugherty, Ph.D., published in Psychology Today.
Looking back on my life, I unwittingly embraced this bio-hack. Always drawn to new people, places, and opportunities, I moved more than 20 times. Taking this a step further, nearly a decade ago I began working remotely while traveling to exotic destinations. I've come to appreciate the benefits of ongoing and spontaneous novelty. I vividly remember the heightened alertness and engagement while coaching a banker just hours before embarking on a journey to explore Machu Picchu. My personal experiences underscores that how we feel directly impacts our thoughts and actions.
A Path to Enhanced Performance and Well-Being:
Incorporating novelty into our lives can be a powerful bio-hack for enhancing performance, satisfaction, and overall well-being. Whether in our personal adventures or professional endeavors, consciously seeking out and embracing novelty can provide an ongoing edge in how we experience life. So, why not infuse a little more novelty into your day-to-day routine and see where it takes you?
Do you currently use novelty to fuel peak performance? If so, how? If not, are you curious to experiment with it?