Our Intention Focuses Our Attention

Every second of every day we are subject to thousands upon thousands of pieces of information hitting our senses. Our eyes see everything in their sphere of vision, near, far, in front of us, off to the side, out of the corner of our eye. Our ears hear everything, loud, quiet, near and far. High pitch, deep rumbles, everything. And so it goes on for smell and taste and for all that we touch.

What’s interesting is that in this rich soup of available information the human brain focuses on processing a limited number! First approximately 138 and then a further refinement down to  7+/-2 per second per second. That’s still a lot of information!

How and why is this important?

In simple terms, where we place our intention, focuses our attention, in other words what gets through to our brains both informs our map of the world in our heads and provides us with the data to make decisions.

Our ‘map of the world’, what do we mean by this? It’s our internal representation of the world we live in, we’ve taken the information, processed it to make sense of it, and settled on that’s how it is! It’s the reason why two people could go to a football match, watch the same game and broadly come away with the same outcome but have two totally different views on what they experienced. I suppose that may depend on which team they were supporting and the result!

Coming back to making decisions, our actions are dependent on what information we have considered important and relevant, because as our intention focuses our attention, we will not notice or pay attention to all other information. An example of this would be two people out for a walk. One’s intention although going out for a walk for some exercise is important, is intent on catching up with what friends have been up to, they spend time during the walk going through their social media, probably making sure that they keep going in the right direction, avoid tripping or falling over etc. The other person’s intention is to take in as much of their surroundings as they can during their walk. They spend time looking around the fields, watching out for birds and searching out those beautiful wild flowers they suspect are out there somewhere.

Once we are aware that it is us who decides intention, we can be more choiceful with our attention.

The next time someone is speaking to us, it may be worthwhile asking ourselves what’s our intention here, are we fully present in the conversation? Next time we are out, what are we possibly not noticing, that we could be if we choice to be wantonly curious? How much more can we enrich our own model of the world?

Time for a selfie

According to a wave of recent reporting, the prevalence of selfies is utterly staggering: the average millennial will take 25,700 in their lifetime; it is claimed that females aged 16 to 25 spend five hours taking selfies per week; and on average, 93 million selfies are taken worldwide each day.

That’s a lot of studies of self!

Or rather images of our exterior, it’s almost as if humans have become peacocks, displaying ourselves to the world. The questions that come to mind are, ‘does this behaviour increase happiness’? And ‘does it in any way aide self-development’?

For sure they are fun, although we should all take note that as the desire to capture the most exotic of views behind us increases, the number of accidents and fatalities has commensurably increased! But how come we will devote so much time and effort to grabbing a photo and so little time holding up the metaphoric mirror to ourselves and doing some inner reflection?

For millennia, the practices of meditation, quiet reflection and contemplation have yielded great insights and produced some pearls of wisdom; just take a look on Facebook to see the hundreds of great quotations posted daily.  Interestingly, many people are inspired for a short period of time….until the next thing of interest attracts them.

In the land of instant access, instant results, almost instant everything; there comes a price, not in financial terms, but in terms of inner peace and tranquillity. Someone once said to me “if you could bottle peace of mind, you would make a fortune.” Yet peace of mind comes from getting it together with your inner self, taking the time to connect and to communicate well internally, to gain a greater sense of Self and the relationship you have with the world.

Maybe it’s time more people took Real Selfies, but without that selfie stick! J

#RealSelfie

So don’t we need to change the way we are doing things?

Which ever way you look at it we are facing the most challenging time of our lives. VUCA times. We are over using our head brains with  massive consequences building for us all. We have created exponential change!

We are seeing it in the way our economies are performing, we are seeing it in the ecology of our planet, we are seeing it in ourselves. Stress, burnout, low levels of satisfaction in life, and all these when we have the largest leaps forward in technology.

People suffering from a meaningful lack of connection yet spending more time with their heads in devices!

Its time to change, to do things differently.

So if this has perked your interest or maybe your already  interested in neuroscience and the impact the latest discoveries have on learning, decision making, leadership and living your life, have a look at www.mbraining.com

Hit Those Targets

Unbelievably only a month or so after the VW saga broke, we have another example of chasing targets and taking actions that are for the benefit of the corporation, both financially and with market share, but with no benefit to the consumer. In this new reported case, an Australian court has ruled the same product was labelled as 3 different targeted pain killers & sold at twice the price as the base product, with the same active ingredient.
With so many businesses including Ethical Trading policies in an attempt to convince the customer that they are not there just for their own benefit and those of the shareholders, it is not SME companies demonstrating this gulf between espoused values and actions; somewhat disappointingly it is the very companies who should be showing leadership due to their mass influence, blue chip multinationals.

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Why Flexibility is the key in building and maintaining relationships

Last week, we were in France following Gloucester in their European Challenge Cup match with La Rochelle. It’s a great social occasion and an opportunity to strike up new friendships with both fellow Gloucester supporters and French citizens alike. This, of course, came in the wake of the atrocious Paris terrorist attacks and meant that we all stood for a minute silence before the game and then all sang the Marseillaise.
What was so humbling, was the response from the French citizens, pats on our backs, handshakes and deeply meant thanks from those around us, for coming together and demonstrating our flexibility to learn and to sing their anthem. Apart from it being the most natural and obvious thing to do, it led to broken French and pigeon English conversations at half time, the dance of rapport was in place. Later in the bars and restaurants, many more would use all their best efforts to understand, challenge or agree points of view regarding the match, often with very limited understanding of each other’s language.
In a bar, my wife (who, it has to be said, claims not to speak fluent French, but is definitely more than competent at getting the grammar correct) enjoys a conversation with an elderly gentleman regarding the smell of wild herbs in the air in the hills of Provence, and with a chink of their glasses and the consumption of a little wine, they acknowledge each other’s appreciation of this great experience.

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Your Chapter 9

“Every man is condemned to freedom” Jean-Paul Sartre
This week’s blog is inspired by my friend Grant Soosalu, a very clever chap, who along with Marvin Oka, co-created the innovative field of mBraining. Having used methodologies from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Cognitive Linguistics and Behavioural Modelling and informed by the latest neuroscientific discoveries; Grant answered his calling, put a pause on his highly successful consultancy business to devote his time unpaid, with the full support of his wife, to ensuring the world heard about mBraining and all the science that is going on as we speak, uncovering even more evidence that supports beliefs and practices dating back thousands of years; that we achieve wisdom through the communication and alignment of our multiple brains.
This is not a blog about mBraining specifically, however if you wish to find out more, please follow the links at the end of the blog, or contact me directly. This is a blog about finding your purpose; it’s a blog about making a difference in the world, about following what you know, for you, to be intrinsically the right thing to do and having the courage to do it.
We have just witnessed an interesting event in UK politics, without wishing to get into politics, I thought it would be a good example to highlight, a case of choosing a Leader. Many employees may believe they don’t choose their leaders. I think this is partially correct; but they do have a choice as to whether they follow the incumbent leader or not! In fact, they may choose another leader elsewhere, something that now the economic landscape may be improving will be born out as people feel more at ease with moving to another organisation.

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The Power of Reflection

Doesn’t time fly! How often do you hear yourself saying that? How often do you find yourself squeezing a pint into a half pint glass?
Increasingly we are trying to do more and more, whether that is in work or in our private lives, our aspirations have increased, our resources greater; our time… fixed!
At work we may be competing in a global market or working with decreased budgets as public expenditure is put under pressure, yet our customers and service users have increasing expectations and it would seem, less tolerance of other-than-instant service or response. From where and how this culture of Instantism has developed is interesting, one of the main drivers has been the development of the web, and mobile technology utilising it. We are so much more connected! Always available, always able to see what is going on remotely from us. This has brought great opportunity, created financial wealth, raised aspiration and nothing wrong in any of those, but I wonder if what these may have facilitated is an increased focus on the external world and as a consequence, less attention on the inner world.
Achieving balance is a universal rule! Without it, the consequences can be and often are profound and they may not appear in the short term, but over time, the pressure builds up for a correction. Think of it like the game Buckaroo; you keep loading the mule with items until all of a sudden, the mule bucks to throw off all the items to return to an unloaded state. We don’t need or have to wait for a big correction, a bit like an aeroplane crossing from London to New York, if we regularly check in, keep track of where we are and what is going on, we can make almost imperceptible adjustments to our course to ensure we get to our destination safely and on time.
So how often do you check in with yourself in your busy life? How often are you making the time to pause and reflect? Ancient wisdom and traditions make this time and space, it helps to keep us grounded and in touch with ourselves, attend to what is going on, evaluate and make adjustments. We benefit from making time for ourselves, not to do yet another thing, but to pause and reflect.

Potentially Misunderstanding the Power of Courtesy

This morning, being a leisurely Sunday morning, a BBC News online article caught my attention; ‘A Point of View: The Underrated Power of Courtesy’.   I appreciated the author’s intelligent questioning and reflexive approach to her exploration of how courtesy and discourtesy show up in our society, how we respond to them, choose to accept them or even not notice them when all around us.  The piece certainly got me thinking and reflecting.

As you may know from previous posts, the emergent and developing field of mBraining draws from cutting edge neuroscience and also ancient wisdom traditions to demonstrate how we have multiple brains (scientists define a brain as a complex adaptive neural structure), each with their own specialist competencies.  Broadly, our Heart serves us best in expressing emotions, experiencing our values and how we relate and connect to others.  Our Head’s prime functions are cognitive perception, thinking and making meaning.  Our Gut brain (the earliest to form in embryological terms) exists primarily to mobilise us to action, to decide what is part of me (that is both metaphorically and literally) at core identity level and to keep us safe.

In mBraining, we differentiate between when one of our intelligences is doing its own prime function effectively or not and also when any of them is attempting to do another’s ‘job’, which is inappropriate and can lead to a lack of congruence, alignment, or effectiveness.  Just imagine a brain surgeon trying to substitute for an orchestral conductor; she is clearly extremely intelligent and capable, but is competent in a totally different field, for a different purpose.  So, whilst reading this article, I started ruminating upon which brain courtesy comes from and if we may misunderstand its power by seeking it in another place.

I love language and often go back to a dictionary to catalyse such explorations and so, was delighted to find that the dictionary definition for courtesy is two-fold; 1) polite behaviour and 2) a willingness and generosity in providing something neededBehaviour is a form of action, mobilisation and is therefore derived from the gut brain and both the emphasis that it is polite behaviour and the second clause of the definition focus on the contribution from the heart brain.  Politeness is defined by our values – what is deemed to be important, right and wrong – and values live in our heart.  Notice next time someone you’re listening to refers to something dear to them…where does their hand go?…most often and naturally to their chest / heart area.  Then, the willingness and generosity are also driven by our heart’s intelligence and leadership development has identified the multitude of benefits of developing our Emotional Intelligence in recent years.  mBraining acknowledges the role of the electromagnetic field generated by the heart in building and maintaining rapport, called entrainment, which scientifically explains why we feel drawn to certain people (or otherwise) because we just have a feeling.

Reading the article, I noticed that whilst I agreed logically with almost all of the content, something wasn’t sitting well for me and I have learned that’s often a sign for me to reflect further and to check in with my different intelligences to learn more and for wiser decision making.  Then it occurred to me that society seems to use courtesy as a theoretical concept, a principle … a function of the logical, rational head brain.  In other words, we may be trying to get our inner brain surgeon to conduct an emotive and moving symphony – it doesn’t compute, because acting courteously is how we do what we do according to what we value and feel.  In the article, the writer talks about losing a dear friend who she remembers as the epitome of courteous; “when (Gill) met you, he assumed you were worth defending and respecting and cheering on. He took that risk.”  Heart and gut – acting courageously upon what is truly held to be important.  The (grammatically-incorrect) verb of courtesy-ing, therefore, arises from the highest expressions of our heart (Compassion) and gut (Courage) resonating in unison and yes, our head is of course needed to provide the Creativity and finesse of which words or vehicle to best use in each situation, but we misunderstand the power of courtesy if we do not bring it from our heart and gut.

So, I am feeling a call to action this morning, to seek out opportunities to act (gut) upon compassion (heart) in order to be more courteous.  Courtesy may not yet be as fashionable as it once was, but perhaps we deeply feel it is time to bring about a heartfelt resurgence!

If you are intrigued by how mBraining can offer wiser decision-making in your leadership and life, how you will benefit from the congruence of all your intelligences working in alignment and what more influence you can build; please email info@revealsolutions.co.uk or pick up the phone 07790885086 to find out more about our mBIT (multiple Brain Integration Techniques) Coach Certification and other training programmes, our products or coaching.  We look forward to having a conversation with you.

2 weeks in a 50 to go

What will the year ahead hold for you?

With all the customary New Years Resolutions made and many neither started or with enthusiasm waning already I thought it might be a good idea, not only pose the above question, but also to reiterate the key steps to achieving successful outcomes. That is assuming that we know what we want in the first place!

I want to start by asking you this. What do you want for this year? Do you know? Or are you with many others who can articulate what it is they don’t want but struggle to say what they want instead!

Having an outcome is important it gives us purpose and direction. So here is your first challenge, write down what you want and make sure it is stated in a positive manner. Let me give you an example. To say I am fed up with being unfit is not going to be very motivating for you, to say I want to learn to play Badminton and play once a week is both a positive outcome and secondly it is specific enough to quantify. Badminton is the method of getting fit and playing once a week is the frequency that you want to achieve.

Make sure that when deciding what it is you want it fits into this acronym SMART.
Specific – Your outcome should be specific, “I want to become a better manager” is not specific, however “ I want to be better at managing my time so that I am planning my days not just reacting to events” is
Measurable – How will you know when you have achieved your outcome? Decide now how you will measure your success, by doing this you will also be able to notice your improvement. Top Tip. Review your progress and CELEBRATE your successes on the way, why wait to the end to feel good? Feel good, energised, fulfilled and motivated along the way.
Achievable – we want you to succeed, so checking that the objective you have set is attainable is important, it is at this point consideration should be given to what support you may need, so in the playing Badminton example getting a book on the rules, buying or hiring equipment , being taught, etc. A good question to ask yourself is who else has done this already?
Realistic – Is the outcome realistic for you? It may be that it is and there are measurable building blocks that will support you achieving the outcome. An example of this can be seen in the achievement of successfully selling your businesses products into the market place and being able to cope with the demand, meeting delivery targets and deadlines of your customers. In order to do this there are various other objectives that need to achieved, manufacturing, purchasing, storage and distribution, marketing, pricing, customer care and relationship etc.

Timely- Having a timescale to achievement is important it firstly tests our level of commitment and enthusiasm, furthermore it ensures action and achievement.

Stick to these fundamental principles and you are sure to achieve what you want in your business life and personal life to.

Raising Awareness Though 360 Feedback

Many more businesses are providing managers with the opportunity to experience 360 feedback. This is a good thing as our perceptions of our own behaviours, skills and knowledge in the work place may be both different and informed from a limited number of sources.

It’s important that participants receive a facilitated feedback session and not just given a printed report to digest the information. The feedback session should facilitated in a coaching style, be one of an exploration, where the coach through asking questions of the participant increases their awareness of how they perceive themselves and to how others perceive them.
The exploration of when and where particular competencies are being demonstrated, well or not so well, provides the participant with context, is useful in recognising what works so it can be repeated more often and in developing actions for improvement in the future.

Many organisations have also benefited from including personality trait psychometrics into their management & leadership development programmes and the feedback sessions conducted by experienced and qualified coaches can provide quality information for the participant to work with in their personal development plan.