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


“Like a para­chute, the mind func­tions best when fully open.” I re­ally don’t re­mem­ber who told me this or where the quote comes from. How­ever, it is some­thing that I have kept in mind for many, many years.

We are of­ten held cap­tive to a scep­ti­cal view of the world and while that is a trait of the hu­man species — with­out which we likely wouldn’t have sur­vived — it is an in­ef­fec­tive way to func­tion well in this rapidly chang­ing and highly stim­u­lated en­vi­ron­ment in which most peo­ple and busi­nesses op­er­ate.

Please don’t get me wrong, I have a healthy re­gard for the im­por­tance of it and use it as a tool my­self when ap­proach­ing new and highly cre­ative ideas, peo­ple or risk. But it is a real hand­brake on any de­sired change or cre­ative process when the re­fusal to progress ideas by hold­ing on to the past or ac­tively pre­vent­ing de­vel­op­ment is the blocker, and usu­ally an­chored in an as­sump­tion of the out­come of change.

When I hear peo­ple push­ing back on change or new things, I won­der if they were to put the same level of en­ergy into mak­ing the change hap­pen as they have in re­sist­ing what is in­evitable how quickly the team, per­son, busi­ness or or­gan­i­sa­tion may have been able to achieve their de­sired out­come?

In many cir­cum­stances most peo­ple won’t change un­less the pain of change is less than the pain of stay­ing the same. The brain is es­sen­tially a very ef­fi­cient ma­chine that is con­tin­u­ally scan­ning the en­vi­ron­ment and con­dens­ing the im­mense vol­ume of in­for­ma­tion stream­ing at us in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally into chunks that we can make sense of.

Be­ing a sense-mak­ing ma­chine, it fits those chunks into our cur­rent set of be­liefs and any­thing that isn’t a fit it dis­cards or treats as a threat to which we re­spond with scep­ti­cism or more overtly fear.

The in­ter­est­ing thing in con­sid­er­ing the above is it high­lights that the brain is also lazy. Our brains burn about 20 per cent of our oxy­gen in­take and about 20 per cent of our calo­ries. It doesn’t like to do any more than it has to. As we en­counter our day and ex­pe­ri­ence events through it, we will be look­ing to con­firm what we have al­ready ac­cepted as our be­lief, not to deny it. It takes a gen­uine ef­fort to ac­cept new think­ing. The brain has to do a lot of work.

So if that’s the case, how on earth can we have an open mind, given we op­er­ate from the sub­con­scious or un­con­scious? To me it’s im­por­tant is to ask your­self a ques­tion or two. What else is pos­si­ble here? If I were to ac­cept this, what would I do dif­fer­ently than I’m do­ing now to make it hap­pen?

One other thing, just as a re­minder: Don’t be­lieve every­thing you think.

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