Just deciding that “tomorrow I’m going to be less Reactive and more Creative” is only the start.
In the last 15 years we’ve learnt more about how the Brain works than we had in the whole of history. Thanks to various types of Brain Scanning we now have a pretty comprehensive map of which part of the Brain does what and a much better understanding of how the neural connections (in the billions) combine to prescribe our thinking habits.
We have learned how the Brain acts like Velcro for bad events and how it behaves like Teflon for good events and how this in turn undermines our efficacy in the world.
We have discovered that “neurons that fire together, wire together”. This means once a thinking pattern has been established, it is difficult to change it unless we fully understand the mechanisms for ‘unwiring’ and ‘rewiring’ those neurons.
We have learned about how different parts of the brain evolved from Instinctual to Emotional and to Analytical, giving us yet more insight and control over our thinking and in turn our behaviour.
However, the most dramatic discovery has been the extent of the brain’s Neuroplasticity – Its ability to discard old connections and to make new neural connections right through life into old age.
This means we can literally use our Mind to change our Brain to change our Mind for the better.
Understanding how these mechanisms work and putting them into practice on a regular basis facilitates the transition from Reactive to Creative, and our capacity to manage change, complexity and paradox.
The Brain needs Rest too.
Modern Leadership requires us to be using our brains a lot. Like ALL day without a break! It’s therefore not surprising to find out the brain uses about 25% of our body’s energy intake each day. We expect it to perform faultlessly for long periods and never consider giving it either rest or reward for what it does.
By taking short periods of time out during the day to rest the mind and let it switch off for a while, can actually increase our productivity and effectiveness. See Mindfulness & Meditation.
If we do not rest our mind we become restless and less effective.
The Inner Critic
For many of us the biggest enemy in the quest for a happy and fulfilling life is our own Inner Critic.
We would never talk to others the way we often talk to ourselves.
Constantly pointing out our failures, the Inner Critic is the major under-miner of our self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Whatever we seem to do we can never be good enough for this character.
However, recognising these self-judgments and self-criticisms are only thoughts and whether we give them credence or not is up to us, means we can start to free ourselves from their tyranny by training the mind to start to work more supportively, more positively and more kindly as we pursue our goals and support others in pursuing theirs.
Putting our Inner Critic into retirement is one of the great benefits in shifting from Reactive to Creative.