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The Works

Is it yum, yuk, or meh?

Australia’s black gold, Vegemite. Very strong Yum/Yuk/Meh mojo

Yum. Yuk. Meh

Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman has an excellent podcast, The Huberman Lab, putting the best science to things like exercise, eating, meditation, and learning.

In his episode on how and why to stretch (as you may remember from a previous newsletter, my current flexibility rating is “oak table”), he shared a simple framework about our three instinctive reactions to things.

Yum. Yuk. Meh. 

The  abundance of Von Economo neurons in our brains–also known as spindle neurons–means not only do we have these responses, but that we’re able to consciously override them. In the context of stretching, it’s coming up to the edge of what’s possible and being able to move through it (tip: the best way is to relax into the stretch).

You may already be able to touch your toes–jealous–but the yum/yuk/meh model goes well beyond that.

Perhaps you might use this to design your day.

Where’s the “yum?” What fills your cup, lights your fire, gets your disco glitter ball spinning? How do you protect that? How do you get more of it? If I said, “Double the Yum,” what would you do? [tweet this]

What’s the “yuk?” Is there a way of shrinking it down or removing it altogether? Alternatively, how might you “relax into the stretch” and increase your level of comfort with the discomfort. If I asked you to channel your inner alchemist and see what it would take to transform lead to gold, and yuk to yum, what would need to be true?

What’s left is the “meh;” the stuff that you’re mostly indifferent to. That can be helpful filler, perhaps, But, just as with the “yuk,” there’s the possibility to eliminate it or transform it into a little more “Yum.” 

Yum, yuk, meh. Audit how you’re living. I’d wager you’ll be surprised at how the mix plays out. You’ve got some choice here. See what you can do to get more Yum.

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.