What Happens If You Risk Change in Smug or “Content” Cultures?

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You meet people daily who feel afraid to fix a broken anything because they fear they’ll end up alone, stuck and without support, in self-satisfied circles that see new ideas as mere buzz at best. Inner terror is only intensified by physiological challenges, such as your mental makeup. possibility

Do the same thing in the same way for any length of time, for instance, and the brain sets itself up to work against your ability to risk doing it differently. You only have to look at seemingly “content cultures” to see barriers to breakthroughs that could benefit many.  Take high school lectures for instance. Research proves that facts delivered are far less effective than active learning, and yet lectures still proliferate as if telling a person facts equals that person’s learning. Even top secondary schools – who align lessons lectured with test scores published and boast of “quality” education. The problem?

You only have to  look at political gridlocks and their very nature to stay stuck in ruts, to see few leaders who’ve actively learned to juggle brain-friendly tone skills to gather diverse insights. Lectures or delivery of facts fail to teach how to welcome differences and learn from perspectives on the several sides of controversial issues, for instance. These skills require active attempts in real situations. The results?

Discouraged from attempting new approaches, many simply yield to timeworn decisions about minimal efforts to avoid tedium, and by so retreating, they miss curiosity’s call to risk trying a finer way. Not only are we nailed personally, when left sluggish, lifeless, and without directions worth chasing, we’re also trapped on external treadmills which go nowhere, because they have nowhere new to go.

Change, in contrast, opens entry points to growth of even our tiniest capabilities, until we begin to shift along new trajectories. Regardless of tired approaches tethered to broken systems, we find momentum to turn dials toward discovery-inspired-innovations on even an ordinary day. Sure, it’s tempting to step back inside safer guardrails and resist riding traditional trams to known destinations. But each time that nudge toward another dream finds us on runways of a future innovation we find amazing change opportunities in flight.

Four Brain Realities Shift Us into Drive for Calculated Risks:

  1. Fear, that raises toxic cortisol chemicals that shut you down, gives way to serotonin, the brain’s wellbeing chemical for moving forward.
  2. That stuck in a rut mental equipment – or the basal ganglia mental storehouse, yields to the working memory or that mental storehouse that holds new ideas on a sticky note of sorts at the front of your brain for active use.
  3. A new zip in your step comes along with courage to bat last because of dopamine or other natural drugs from your natural pharmaceuticals that tilt you toward mind-bending opportunities.
  4. When you take a risk or dance to a new drumbeat, your brain’s plasticity moves with you by fashioning new neuron pathways toward whatever dream you chase.

In his book, The Brain that Changes Itself, Dr. Norman Doidge describes a man who risked mental and physical changes back to health after a massive stroke, and ended up restored in ways other stroke patients crave but rarely chase down.

By the time our inner voice changes from I cannot, to I can, we’ve already begun along the runway with shifted gears. Dr. Doidge’s stroke patient saw beyond the cannot traditions of stroke-related experts, who fought back against plasticity’s ability to change and heal the brain until the patient’s cure became observably complete. Discoveries about plasticity gave Bac-y-Rita, the patient’s son brilliant medical research insights which he acted upon to open a clinic for stroke patients.

Interestingly, my own rock bottom reality, where I was left on the street to fend for myself at 14, showed me how to chase possibilities beyond problems. My own experience, difficult as it was at times, validated everything this doctor learned, and affirmed how possibility thinking can fly magic carpets over problems that hold us back in broken systems.  growth-minset-poss-thinking

Possibility Thinkers Follow Growth Mindset Inner Convictions.

Instead of …

  1. I can’t learn because it’s too hard, they wonder, how can I apply what I already know to get started?
  2. I’m not a risk-taker, they consider the contrast, what risk will leave me in a better place?
  3. I’m not happy here, they spot another side and ask, how can I reorganize for fun results?
  4. I’m frustrated, they surmise, how can I learn from past mistakes?
  5. It’s not what I’m used to, they determine, I’m ready to try something new.
  6. I’m too stressed, they suggest  and expect, this thing may need a different approach.

Easy? No way. A great place to start though is to reboot your inner talk.  Act on one of the rejuvenated statements above and symbiotically you also propel yourself onto a more elevated trajectory.

To risk anything, means you’ll likely develop the radar to spot awesome results ahead at the other end of your flight. It’s possibility thinking that supports you through to the end of what can become a rather bumpy ride again the winds of mainstream security. It means you’re leaving yourself no space to hide and fear, through your decisions to gaze through front windshields and only glance back through rear view mirrors. Once there is no easy retreat back into stagnation, you begin to burn strong and avoid the tedium of burning out.

Each time you choose the possibility of a new approach over the problem of a tired tradition, you reset mental equipment to refresh your brain’s pharmaceuticals to ensure you’ll sustain a healthy landing at the helm. Your chemical and electrical circuitry is wired to hand you all the chemicals your brain needs to sustain innovative alterations, especially when the ride gets rough.

You’ll begin to accomplish things never before accomplished by using parts of the brain never before used. In spite of the fact that very few people risk a level of choice that runs counter to whatever culture they challenge, You’ll begin to trust yourself to walk your inner talk and steer your brainpower into reversing a state of stagnation.

Choices to Act Cascade Challenges into Commitments to Chase

It’s not enough to sense the wonder, and hope something inside of you will suddenly change into curiosity as a lived experience. The brain changes directions toward a finer future, only after we choose to act, and begin to move toward a committed destination.

Act on a thing, and then expect that while you are deep in REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, your brain will reboot to set the stage for its reality. It’s a bit like a synergy that launches you from where you stand at the moment to carry you to where you choose to stand soon.

Research has found that when people understand neural underpinnings, they often prepare to change behaviors. It begins with a shift in how you see yourself, and often ends with a shifted direction where possibilities displace problems. In my graduate level leadership course, LEAD INNOVATION WITH THE BRAIN IN MIND, it starts with a workplace weakness and ends in a proposed strength. How so?

In that MBA class, grad students begin to see themselves based more on choices they’ll make, rather than on challenges they failed. Furthermore, if their choices connect to actions over a period of time peers’ attitudes often change about the innovation they begin to lead.

If you’re wondering, Does choosing a thing bring that thing into reality, the answer could well be yes, you bet. Your decision for a new approach, eventually will grow into related actions and personal resolve to track it down. It’s what your brain’s designed to do, and in response your living pharmaceuticals begin to hand you the best chemicals to refuel with each new flight forward.

So what’s the problem?

Fear causes you to resist the very change you crave, while masking as a rational response to risks that will launch your flight. Ruts appear easier to navigate than freeways into uncharted destinations, Aha chemicals seem locked out of your brain’s pharmaceuticals. Your new drumbeat appears too dissonant to dance and dream to its rhythm.

Your response? Look at one nagging problem today until you can design one new possibility on its other side. Then then choose to step toward your plan while you prepare to fly in whatever direction this visible goal will take you.

Choose Your Landing Pad and then Chase Your Choice!

Tell an innovative thinker that you trust, as a way to clarify your choice. Avoid sharing innovative proposals with cynics, though. When people insist on side-stepping innovative choices in favor of constant complaints from within busted barriers – they tend to ground new ventures at every level. Even the neural experts assured Bac-y-Rita – who has since been named the father of plasticity, that the brain could not bounce back or remap what it lost in lesions created by a massive stroke.

Make change for improvements a habit, and your deepest determination will muster up enough mental awareness to nudge your first tiny step in the direction of your dream. It’s as if your brain set a new stage for bigger and bolder leaps forward. Simply stated neural buoyancy will increase, each time you step in the direction of your powerful new plan toward possibilities. Oh, and by the way …

Do enjoy the journey, so that your brain will do the rest!

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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset