Emotions, language and who we choose to be

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! And I promise, no more about paying attention! I appreciate that four articles – fascinating though they were, weren’t they? – on that topic is enough. But before we move on, wasn’t it interesting to see how neuroscience – and notably understanding how our brains process stimuli, including social cues – can validate what we have empirically known for a while? That is to say 1) that our perception of reality is strictly individual, 2) that, as a result, disparity of view (and consequently disagreement and potentially conflict) is in fact the norm, 3) that cultivating self-awareness will make us less upsettable (a word invented by the renowned psychologist and caustic writer Albert Ellis), and 4) that we must therefore challenge our views and seek to broaden our horizons by a) asking open and [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 4) – active listening

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed other-awareness and landed on the notion that disagreement – about beliefs, values and behaviours – is more likely to be the norm. I advocated tolerance but also proposed that you put on a metaphorical Detective Columbo’s raincoat (no need for the cigar nor the dishevelled look) and go look for the other’s person’s inner landscape, asking open questions to give them the freedom to respond as they wish, and thereby letting a new reality emerge – theirs. [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 3) – other-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed how paying attention to yourself – self-awareness – can benefit you in terms of enhancing your emotional intelligence but also bolstering your resilience and adaptability. In addition to making emotional self-management smoother, I have noticed in folks gaining in and practicing self-awareness a quietening of the mind, a stronger sense of self, greater acceptance of life’s daily irritants and a lesser reactivity overall. A third benefit I have noticed from paying attention to oneself is that it also boosts motivation, increasing self-determination and therefore improving one’s goal achievement prospects.

Let me now invite you to look at the other side of the coin: other-awareness. [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 2) – self-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! And of course: best wishes for happy 2018!
 
In last month’s blog, we discussed the fact that voluntary attention – what we consciously focus on – is the instrument thanks to which we can shape our reality – rather than it being just the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences. Really paying attention is the means through which we can expand our horizons: by consciously choosing what we attend to, we challenge our ‘newspaper syndrome’ (for a refresher, see http://coachingforinspiration.com/my-brain-the-newspaper/).

Paying better attention as well as more frequently, thereby refusing to accept the limited reality which is presented to us, is worth our while because otherwise "[w]e can’t study, listen, converse with others, work, play, or even sleep well" (see Allan Wallace’s book ‘The Attention Revolution’, 2006). Apart from the obvious discomfort which must ensue from such fundamental dysfunctions, what is really at stake is our happiness. Lacking the capacity to focus robs us of choice and leaves us vulnerable to the myriad stimuli in and out there, waiting to turn us into weathercocks.
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Paying attention: the secret to happiness (part 1)

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Let’s see: where have we got to? Three articles in, we know about the three parts of the human brain (see: http://coachingforinspiration.com/three-brains/) and the dominance of the unconscious. We also know that one of the main purposes of the human brain is sense-making (see: http://coachingforinspiration.com/brain-is-for/).

In last month’s article, we discussed the fact that because ours is only an edited reality which is the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences, it is as though we each read only our own individual newspaper and perceive reality through a filter we are mostly unaware of. Indeed, we don’t get to choose our newspaper, we cannot read any other one and everyone else reads a different one – from mine, yours and each other’s.

It is a wonder that we agree on anything!
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Imagine reading just one newspaper – for the rest of your life

Hello and welcome to the third article of my neuro blog. In the first one, I described the three parts of the human brain (see image to the left for a reminder of the triune brain), notably the importance of the unconscious. In the second article, I suggested that one of the main purposes of the human brain is sense-making (see second photo below).

The diagram describing how the brain processes stimuli – whether internal or external – highlights that nothing is experienced directly. There are a number of implications therefrom but today let me discuss communication. [Read more…]

What your brain is for

Hello and welcome to the second article of my neuro blog. In the first one last month, I described the three parts of the human brain (see just below for a second representation of the triune brain), notably the importance of the unconscious. In future posts, I expect to delve into how the fact that our brain processes are mostly unconscious impacts our decision-making and consequently our behaviour. But today, I’d like to engage you in considering what your brain is for. Obviously, there are many possible answers.
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The three brains in your head

Hello and welcome to the first article of my neuro blog. Since 2013, I have become increasingly interested in what neuroscience, the scientific, multi-disciplinary, study of the nervous system can teach us about the brain. My assumption was that understanding the brain would in turn illuminate my comprehension of the mind. The two are definitely "correlated" (I can’t escape my financial past!) but they are not the same. I expect I’ll return to that difference in future posts.

With this neuro blog, I mean to share some of what I’ve discovered about the brain and the insights about the mind which learning about the brain has made possible for me. Having an appreciation for how the brain works has helped me manage my thoughts – to cope with the less helpful ones, my emotions – to move away from the uncomfortable ones, and my behaviour – to choose more how I act.
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Coping with Difficulties to Achieve your Objectives

How to Get Back on the Horse

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

Hello and welcome to Career Tips! Following on from last month’s article on goal-setting, I thought I would put forward an offering about goal achievement. We all know it: life is messy. In fact, life gets in the way. This article discusses how to manage the setbacks and slippages which are likely to happen as you progress towards achieving your objectives.

When I chat to people about their goals and ask them why they didn’t succeed, I hear again and again: "Things got in the way" or some variation on that theme.

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A Model to Make Sense of your Office Challenges (part 2)

The SCARF that Ties (part 2)

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)


Hello and welcome to the last edition of Career Tips for 2014! In this offering, let’s continue unpacking the simple yet powerful model to make sense of your life at work which we started to SCARFlook at last month.

You may recall the model is called SCARF and it is anchored within the basic principle that our brain’s purpose is to protect us: our brain continually seeks to identify potential threats. This negative bias is at the root of our survival. When the coast is clear, our brain then seeks to optimise our sense of comfort and wellbeing.

You see in the graphic depiction above that SCARF is an acronym for the five words of Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. Last month, we looked at the two dimensions of Certainty and Autonomy.

If you missed last month’s offering, you can catch it up here.
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