How we really make decisions

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog!

Are you enjoying the summer? I’m writing from the South of France and it’s just blissful!

Today, I’d like to address decision-making. Remember that I posited in an early post that "there is no thinking which is not emotional which in turn implies that our decisions and behaviours are rooted in emotion with any rationale therefore representing only an ex-post rationalization" (for more, see what your brain is for). Let’s unpack this statement a bit more, shall we? In that post, I presented a simplified model of the brain whereby any stimulus is first processed by the limbic/emotional system. Let me add here that another key organising principle of the brain is ‘association’. [Read more…]

Really learning: the role of emotions

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog!

What did you think of my suggestion back in April to leverage language to influence how you feel? Did you tell yourself you ‘only’ felt your negative emotions – to hasten their passing? – and that you were your positive emotions – to encourage them to linger a bit?

This month, I am sticking to emotions and my focus is on how they can help us learn. I am curious by nature but I noticed I wasn’t always retaining new learning even when I had found it interesting. As a coach and facilitator, I am keen that my clients be able to not just have those great insights but to return to them and thus plan their behavioural change. [Read more…]

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 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: 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!
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

Four Steps to Influence People

Persuasion Tools

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

As promised last month, in this article on how to influence others, I’m going to show you the core elements of a persuasion strategy. I will share with you a four-step model called "SWAY"©. I have called it "SWAY"© because when you have good persuasion skills, you will be able to sway people’s opinion in your direction! You will be able to do that because you will first figure your audience out and then be able to give them what they want. [Read more…]

How to Wield Your Light Sabre!

3 Easy Steps to Self-Confidence!

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

Hello dear reader and welcome to the second installment of this two-parter on self-confidence!

Last month, I kicked-off with an offering about learning to be self-confident. If you missed it, don’t hesitate to catch it up by going here.

I promised you tips so let’s get on with it. Here’s is how to be appropriately assertive and behave with self-confidence.

My first tip is this simple 3-step model: Now, let me be upfront: this model is deceptively simple and it will take practice in order to get it working. Let me tell you more about it.

[Read more…]