Truly Powerful People (410)

410.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Andrew and Andre led us in a workshop about innovation and the brain. Andrew (the right brain artist) led us through a variety of improvisation exercises helping us identify different ways of knowing and responding. Andre (the left brain professor) would step in at intervals and explain what was happening in our brains. The upshot: take the pressure off and follow your gut (it’s your brain talking).

I liked the idea that the different hemispheres of my brain might be two different personalities and appreciated even more that they might be named Andrew and Andre. In my brain, Andrew and Andre are circus performers. They work well together because they are vastly different; they illuminate each other because they see the world from different perspectives. The real Andrew is quite tall while Andre is much shorter so, of course, my circus performer right brain is the tall clown while the circus performer left brain fits easily into the tiniest clown car. Clown Andrew is happy; clown Andre is much more serious (they are eastern European clowns, not the white face Ringling Brother types). Clown Andrew is innocent and playful and adventurous and has no notion of failure. Clown Andre is prone to stepping into obvious holes so consumed is he with thought. He looks as if his girlfriend just left him or as if he is always on the edge of a migraine headache. Clown Andrew’s clothes are too small. Clown Andre’s are way too big. There. No need to dissect my brain, I’ve already done it for you!

Andre (the real one) told us that the prefrontal cortex of the brain was like a stage; sometimes it gets blocked and needs to be cleared or reset. He taught us an exercise for clearing the stage: set a timer for 5 minutes and during that time do something else, something physical: do the dishes, run up and down the stairs, clean the windows, take a nice walk and think about anything other than what you were trying to do before the reset. When the timer goes off, catch the first thought that comes to mind. He said, “Often it will be a very good one.”

“This is not a new technique,” he said. “Thomas Edison used to sit in a chair and hold a large ball bearing in each hand. With his arms dangling by his sides, he’d have placed a metal plate or bucket on the floor beneath each hand. He’d close his eyes and relax, allowing his mind to drift. Soon he’d be on the edge of sleep and one of the ball bearings would slip from his hand and clang in to the dish, waking him. The first idea that popped into his mind would be the path of his pursuit.”

The brain science is catching up with classrooms and cubicles. High performance is produced in states of relaxation, strong offers are intuitive as much or more than they are intellectual: remove failure from the equation and excellence is possible. Intuition is finding a way back onto the mountaintop with Intellect and isn’t it poetic that brain science is the path that she is taking?

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