Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: NICK BEN­NETT Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­

“Not ev­ery­thing that is faced can be changed. But noth­ing can be changed un­til it is faced.” – James Bald­win

This very sim­ple state­ment re­minded me of chal­lenges I’d faced in my own life that had to be con­fronted, dealt with and changed in or­der to cre­ate the life I knew was avail­able to me yet I wasn’t able to ac­cess. What is the jour­ney we need to take in or­der to ac­knowl­edge and ac­cept our role in bring­ing our best self to sur­face? Tak­ing Bald­win’s very clear ob­ser­va­tion to heart means we per­haps need to un­der­stand what drives us. By us I mean, rather than the per­son­al­ity, the brain and mind.

Dr Evian Gor­don pro­vided the key or­gan­is­ing prin­ci­ple of the brain, prov­ing that ev­ery de­ci­sion we make is geared to either threat or re­ward to en­sure sur­vival: “Ev­ery­thing you do in life is based on your brain’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to min­imise dan­ger and max­imise re­ward.”

David Rock, in his work on neu­ro­science, gave us the five do­mains of hu­man in­ter­ac­tion (ie. the SCARF model), which is also recog­nised as a way to un­der­stand how the brain re­sponds to threat in our mod­ern world. Linda Ray, from Neu­roca­pa­bil­ity, has built on this to pro­vide a more ac­ces­si­ble model as SCARE, which is out­lined be­low:

Sig­nif­i­cance – in any so­cial sit­u­a­tion we care about the de­gree to which we feel a sig­nif­i­cant mem­ber of a group or in re­la­tion to the con­tri­bu­tion we bring to a group. When we feel less sig­nif­i­cant than oth­ers or feel our con­tri­bu­tion is not of value or not val­ued by oth­ers this can gen­er­ate a sig­nif­i­cant threat and ac­ti­vate our lim­bic brain.

Cer­tainty – our brain is highly geared to pre­dic­tion. Un­cer­tainty about your role or a sit­u­a­tion or pur­pose causes sig­nif­i­cant un­cer­tainty and we can use up vi­tal re­sources avail­able to our think­ing brain in try­ing to find and cre­ate cer­tainty.

Au­ton­omy – no one likes be­ing told what to do, which is why mi­cro man­ag­ing doesn’t work. We like to feel we have choices over our work and des­tiny.

Re­lat­ed­ness – we are born to crave so­cial con­nec­tion and feel part of a group or tribe. When we see oth­ers as foe or not in our ‘in group’ this can gen­er­ate threat given our need for so­cial con­nec­tion and be­long­ing.

Eq­uity – we like to feel we are be­ing treated eq­ui­tably and get a fair share. When we feel oth­ers are get­ting a bet­ter deal or that we are be­ing treated in an un­just way this can gen­er­ate a sig­nif­i­cant threat.

How does this help? Recog­nis­ing that emo­tion does not ex­ist out­side us is a start­ing point where we can iden­tify which of the parts of the model are af­fect­ing our be­hav­iour and take the time to re­flect and re­view why we are al­low­ing the sit­u­a­tion to trig­ger us and the trig­gers them­selves.

As we jour­ney into that re­flec­tion and, if we are seek­ing to de­velop, we be­gin to build emo­tional re­silience and over time in­crease our emo­tional in­tel­li­gence through self-aware­ness.

The end re­sult over time is a far less af­fected life and a greater per­spec­tive on our role in it.

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