Think of a banana. Depending on your previous experience of this edible fruit, whether actual memories or someone telling you about it, this will determine what neural pathways are activated in your brain. For example, you may think of the colour yellow, the smell, the shape, banoffee cheesecake, monkeys, or recoil if you dislike its taste.
When I ask a training group “what comes to mind when you think of a banana?” guaranteed that everyone will answer differently. This reflects each individual’s unique and personal experience. No two brains are the same. The concept of banana is unlikely to be stored in one part of the brain. When you thought of a banana just now, your brain connected neurons for perhaps, the colour yellow, smell, the last time you ate one etc. If every Brighter Thinker’s brain was scanned to discover which brain areas were currently being activated, unique patterns would be revealed.
By the way, you are probably seeing a banana in your mind right now: your thinking has created this visual in your Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC). However, if you are not a fan and would rather be thinking about sex or chocolate, please be reassured that this banana thought will dissipate when you move on to think about something else.
“Your hardwiring drives your perception” is a fundamental tenet of the brain-based coaching skills that I both practice and teach. If you are feeling stuck on a project or not sure what to do next with your career or your life, changing your perception is essential. By doing this, you will create some new hardwiring in your brain and consequently, some new connections and insights.
Here are five Brighter Thinking strategies to change your perception:
Move to the other side of the room, sit in a different chair – you will literally see things in another way
Experiment thinking creatively about your challenge – for example, what would a shark do? How would the actor Ryan Reynolds approach solving it? What would be Olympian Nicola Adams OBE’s response? Inspector Clouseau’s?
Enjoy a daily dose of green – a regular break walking in nature is proven to be good for your brain and it will reward you with increased creativity and reduced stress
Go on holiday and go offline – a change of scene and routine promotes relaxation and assists the brain in generating insights. Many people decide to finish or start new goals following the summer and winter vacations (I have a spike in new life coaching and executive coaching clients. Apparently, lawyers benefit too!).
Talk it through – asking for help will elicit new questions and stimulate new ways to think about your goal or challenge and move you forward much faster.
When you change your perception, you will change your thinking.