Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “Conscious and Unconscious”

Brain Training When We Only Have a Neanderthal Syllabus

Brainy People by Sanja Gjenero

Brainy People by Sanja Gjenero

The difficult balance we have to manage as human animals with a brain of two hemispheres is contrasted well in Will’s comment. Independent but obviously joined and synergistic. It’s how well we know about how the different personalities of our brain work together that is one of the roots of our personal effectiveness and success.

The planned, logical and rigorous administrator on the left wants to analyse, intepret and categorise. It gives a script to our experience of the world and our interactions within it.

The creative, artistic lateral thinker on the right wants to muse, develop, connect and expand. It experiences our world and our interactions within it, and is the source of apparently independent creative thoughts, ideas and constructions.

The administrator and the artist live together very happily for the purposes of you being born, living a life and dieing. Whether you have optimised either your happiness or potential greatness over this lifespan (assuming a positive desire to do this) is a matter of better understanding:

– how the artist and administrator work together best as a team. Their preferences, strengths and weaknesses: how they can organise themselves better to bring out the best of each other

– how they conflict. Their allowable weaknesses (in Belbin’s terms) are best handled when transparent, articulated and understood (without emotion or frustration)

– how your conscious handling of their other-than-conscious behaviours can also help improve their relationship and productivity as a unit – or not

Each of these three bullets is at least a shelf of potential books in your local bookstore. Add in the extra dimensions of personal preferences/ personality type/ psychometrics and energy levels/ chemical mood impacts, and you end up with a smörgåsbord of levers/ techniques/ aspects to manage. Throw in the fact that this analysis is framed by only a conscious assessment of the tip of the neuroscience iceberg. That we have both the rest of the visible (current consciously understood) iceberg to explore, as well as the vast depths underwater.

It may mean it is a long time before we are capable of consciously understanding how to optimise our happiness or potential greatness.

Further thought: Interesting research ‘The human brain is on the edge of chaos’

The Conscious Analyser

A flow of thought post.

I’ve just stood back from myself while working. I noticed that I’ve started to work slightly differently. My reading on the relationship between conscious and other-than-consciousness has led me to redefine their relationship and has created a separation of their ‘utility’ in my mind (hard to refer to the concept of the mind in this context…..)

Put simply, I’m trusting my gut/ intuitive/ unrestricted freedom of thought flow. I’m then trusting my application of my conscious analysing/ sorting/ challenging intellect to the outputs from more of the other-than-conscious thought flow.

I’m deliberately stopping myself from getting in the way of myself (if you see what I mean…)

This appears to be having the following results:

1. Ideas are flowing faster, and more clearly. They are unhindered by attempts to assess/ categorise or action on the fly
2. At the stage of assessment/ categorisation, a next stage of creativity seems to be more easily triggered because of the focus of attention that my conscious intellect has on a body of information/ thoughts/ musings that my other than conscious has produced.

Working separately, but together appears to be creating a stepped value-adding cycle of:

1. Release flow of thoughts/ feelings and unconnected ideas
2. Evaluate connections/ gaps/ conclusions
3. Address outputs from evaluation stage 2. and produce required further creative response
4. back to 2.

I’m not deliberately trying to systematise this. I don’t think this helps the process. But there is definitely a process….

Why Persistent Focused Practice is What it Takes to Be Great

Catching up on some articles and I came across a great one I’d pulled out of Fortune October 30 2006. Called ‘What it Takes to be Great’ by Geoffrey Colvin, it reviewed research to try and answer the question of what it takes: is it talent or hard work.

Great conclusions:

1. Nobody is great without work: there’s no evidence of high level performance without experience or practice

2. The Ten Year Rule: most accomplished people need around ten years of hard work before coming world class: this is across most fields – music and literature it’s closer to twenty

3. The best people devote the most hours to ‘deliberate practice’: activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance

4. Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends

5. Great performers include many who showed no special early aptitude (the example is given of Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team)

6. Deliberate practice starts with going at any task with a new goal

7. The mental approach is vital and feedback is crucial

8. You have to do deliberate practice regularly and not sporadically

The really fascinating bit is the conclusion ‘we still do not know which factors encourage individuals to engage in deliberate practice’ or as University of Michigan business school professor puts it after 30 years of working with managers “Some people are much more motivated than others, and that’s the existential question I cannot answer – why”

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