A Goldmin(d)ing Moment


I got a B in Physics.

Doesn’t sound very impressive does it? … Until I tell you I was expecting a D, or an E, perish the thought!

You see, I was 18 and this Physics exam was the university entrance exam.

Mucho important, let me tell you. Lots of pressure. A very big deal.

Back then, I was in very poor shape mentally and physically. I was 18!! I won’t bore you with a long story but essentially, I was hanging onto reality by my fingertips.

Fortunately, I found a way to revise for this Physics exam in a very strategic way by tripling my learning and retention ability thanks to the coaching tips from some very fine teachers. “Boys, remember, quite ordinary brains can do extra-extraordinary things, given the right tools. Learn these tools, boys. Learn these tools”

So, I did. Thank you, Mr. Brewer.

And then there was Maslin … by far the cleverest boy in our year. I mean, famously brilliant. Scarily brilliant. And he was heading for Oxbridge, don’t you know? The top university in England at the time.

Maslin was at the top, me at the bottom.

“He who laughs last …?” Indeed! Turns out when the results came out, Maslin got a B in Physics too. He was furious ☹️ I was laughing 🙂

I Still Laugh!

Whatever the sentiment behind the story, all Saunders has to do today to give himself a little mood or confidence boost is to remember to say to himself I got a B in Physics and he’ll laugh or at least grin a bit in a daft way.

It’s a hack … a very effective happy hack.

This happy hack process has a name. It’s called:


Goldmining is the Art and Science of regularly encouraging yourself to feel better by applauding yourself for something that you did particularly well in the past.

Simple, isn’t it? It makes perfect sense.

Goldmining is a happy hack that can instantly make you feel and function a bit better any old time you want to or need to.

Are you ready for a bit of science?

Remembering a happy event, an achievement, a success story from your past that you are proud of is a big deal because it involves your whole brain. It’s an everyday miracle, if you like.

First off, you probably see a picture in your head of where you were when the event took place.  This act of ‘seeing’ is performed by your occipital lobes, your visual cortex, found right at the back of your head.  Your brain uses that image to instantly find cross-references to any:

  1. feelings, which are found in the parietal lobes on both sides of your head
  2. words, both the lexical item, found in the left temporal lobe, and
  3. the tonal quality of the intent behind the words (the delivery) found in the right temporal lobe and part of the right prefrontal cortex.

all of which is then combined and sent to:

  1. the executive function found in the frontal lobes at the very front of your head where an action is taken, like producing a good feeling.

When our brain realizes it has achieved a useful goal, it releases feel good endorphins and ‘I have achieved my Goal’ dopamines which nourish the whole brain.

So, you are literally working your whole brain while you play at feeling good.

How cool is that?

Hold that thought. Allow me to ramble.

I once had to go way up North in Canada to determine how to improve the performance of an underground gold mine. Have you ever been in an old-style underground gold mine? It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

I was given steel toed boots and a hard hat with a lamp on. I sat bolt upright next to the mine manager in his beat-up open-topped jeep and hung on for dear life as we headed down into hell. I was not prepared for the blackness, the wetness or the bumpiness of the ride.

Every so often, I would see a bright glint in the walls of the tunnel from my lamp.

“What is that glinting?” I shouted to the mine manager over the roar of the engine.
“Gold.”he replied laughing.
“You are kidding me? You mean to tell me that I could, if you let me, go over to that wall and chip out some gold?”

As I taught this group of miners over the following days to reprogram their brains and look at their mining operations from a different perspective, the realization finally dawned on me.


I got a B in Physics’ is a fleck of gold from my own inner gold mine.

A moment of my own personal glory.

The fleck doesn’t have to be funny, or huge, or even important. It just has to make you feel good and proud of yourself when you remember it.

Information in the brain is cross-referenced in many, many different ways.

Our brains use an associative memory system to help organize all our memories and life experiences. ‘One thing leads to another’, kind of idea. Very powerful.

So if I get in the habit of mining for gold in them thar hills of my inner gold mine, it gets easier and easier for my associative memory system to find many more flecks of gold inside my mine, my brain, and suddenly I have many useful happy hacks at my fingertips.

Mucho Cool!

I have over twenty glorious stories from my life that I revivify whenever I need them and I still get that same old cheerful sentiment of pride, of ‘I can do anything I set my mind to’, even if for no other reason than to feel the joy of reliving that goldmining moment.


Right this second, put yourself in neutral and use the Eye Roll technique we talked about in a previous issue. If you need a refresher, you can see the technique demonstrated here.

Simply roll your eyes up to the top of your head, then relax your eyes and say to yourself “Hello brain, what flecks of gold do we have inside our goldmine that I could really use right now?” Then wait.

Some people have already gotten 5 ideas by the time they read this line. Others find it tough at first to think of anything. But then again, happy is a skill.

You don’t have to believe, but you do have to do.

Go ahead. Make a list of your goldmining moments. If you only come up with a few, no worries. Take your list to bed with you, read it over and just before going to sleep, roll your eyes up to the top of your head and ask your brain to come up with many more while you sleep.

When you wake up, add them to your list. Keep your list handy and keep adding to it whenever a new one comes to mind.

Now, any time you need a boost, pick a goldmining moment from your list, see yourself in that picture and feel the joy and the pride of having accomplished something remarkable. Hold on to that feeling.

With a little practice, your brain will soon take over and do it automatically for you whenever you need it. You won’t have to think about it but you will have to take a moment to enjoy the feeling.

Try this:

  1. Think of something that made you really proud or happy in the near or distant past.
  2. Think of a recent event when you could have used that feeling to respond more appropriately to a difficult moment.
  3. Smile! You have just learned a valuable goldmining skill. Enjoy!
  4. Repeat as needed.

Let me know how it goes for you.

  1. 1.Have you ever been inside a gold mine?
  2. Do you sometimes take a tour of the gold mine you’re wearing on your shoulders?
  3. Name one thing you’ve done that you are most proud of?

Post your questions or answers below and read what others are saying.

What I’m Watching:

There are many ways to achieve the feeling that a goldmin(d)ing moment gives you when you need to be at the top of your game or you just want to feel good about yourself.

One of them is the art of body language, and especially the “Power Pose” described here. It’s a short 20 minutes (I know, I know, who’s got the time, right?) but well worth it.


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M. Stephen Enders
1 year ago

I struck me when reading this edition of your newsletter that ruminating on something bad that happened will just lead to worse and worse thoughts…

It would seem to me that a little practice at replacing those bad thoughts with good thoughts when they occur might be helpful.

1 year ago

Agree 100% Stephen. We can get brilliant and sorting for misery if we are not careful.

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