MORE BRAINS TO GET AHEAD

SOME­TIMES WE NEED TO CALL IN REINFORCEM­ENTS TO DO BIG­GER JOBS – AND THAT IN­CLUDES DE­CI­SIONS

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | RELAXMAGAZ­INE| SOCIAL SCENE - MIND YOU WORDS: ROWENA HARDY Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­saligned.com.au

Nick and I have been in­ter­ested in the work­ings of the brain and study­ing in­tro­duc­tory neu­ro­science for some years now as we like to in­clude some of the prin­ci­ples in our work. Some of you may be won­der­ing which brain? Oth­ers may say that the an­swer is ob­vi­ous, we only have one, the head or cere­bral brain. But mod­ern re­search is in­di­cat­ing that’s not the case.

In fact, there is re­cent ev­i­dence to sug­gest that we have mul­ti­ple “brains” in our bod­ies with three main ones iden­ti­fied as the head or cere­bral brain, the heart brain and the gut brain. In this con­text brain means “com­plex, adap­tive and fully func­tional neu­ral net­work” and if you’re in­ter­ested in know­ing more about that, you could read mbrain­ing by Grant Soos­alu and Marvin Oka.

Tra­di­tion­ally we tend to value and trust our head brain and all that it of­fers us as thoughts, be­liefs and opin­ions but in truth it is flawed and feeds us in­for­ma­tion that is of­ten in­ac­cu­rate and dis­em­pow­er­ing as it bases cur­rent re­al­ity on past ex­pe­ri­ences that are purely sub­jec­tive.

Sim­ply put, mbrain­ing de­scribes how the three “brains” in­ter­act and what each of­fers in re­la­tion to how we en­gage and re­spond to the world around us – sug­gest­ing that the head brain is for cre­ativ­ity, the heart brain for com­pas­sion and the gut brain for courage. Some may find this phi­los­o­phy a bit too out there, but to me it makes some sense.

Con­sider for a mo­ment the last time you were mak­ing an im­por­tant de­ci­sion; how did you go about it? Did you go with your head or your heart? What were your rea­sons? What was the re­sult?

The book sug­gests that in­stead of de­fault­ing to what the head brain of­fers as knowl­edge, facts or in­for­ma­tion about a sit­u­a­tion and what to do, we should in­stead start with the heart brain. What is it we truly want in the sit­u­a­tion? What would make us feel happy and ful­filled? What is the lov­ing and com­pas­sion­ate ap­proach?

We fol­low that with ask­ing the head brain how it can create that for us and once it has crafted a re­sponse, of­fer it back to the heart to check the so­lu­tion and then to the gut brain. Does it feel OK? Do we have the courage to go through with what the head brain has come up with?

If the gut says ‘No’, and I think most of us know what that feels like, then we go back to the heart brain and re­assess and re­peat the process un­til all three brains feel aligned and co­her­ent so that we can take fo­cused ac­tion.

I pic­ture the process flow as a fig­ure of eight or up­right in­fin­ity sym­bol with the heart at the cen­tre then the en­ergy mov­ing up to the brain, back to the heart, down to the gut and back up to the heart in a con­tin­u­ous flow of en­ergy and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the three “brains”.

If you’re not sure if this is for you then per­haps you can try the process next time you have a de­ci­sion to make and test it for your­self. mbrain­ing of­fers some sim­ple sug­ges­tions and guid­ance on how to do that.

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