Autopilot Brain!

31 Oct

Oh boy, I’ve finally finished outlining the book Your Brain at Work, by David Rock.  It’s been 2 years in the making!  This book is rich with super cool, practical brain stuff, and of course, I had to try to apply all of this information as I took it in.

I’m going to post a couple of concepts over the next few weeks, but I highly recommend reading the book report  or even better read the book.

 The Stories in our Head!

Have you ever noticed there is almost constantly a story of some kind playing in your head?  “He said – she said, what was that person thinking, what am I going to do, why is this happening, what the heck?”

There is an explanation for this.  According to Rock’s research, people have two distinct ways of running their brain with respect to interacting with the world.

A Narrative Circuitry – a story line with characters interacting with one another.  Your brain holds vast stores of information about your own and other people’s history and future, which you weave together in the narrative.

When you experience the world using this narrative network, you take in information from the outside world, process it through a filter of meaning, and add your interpretations.  The narrative circuitry is your default process – it is active most of your waking moments and doesn’t take much effort to operate.

The second option for running our brain is Direct-Experience.  This is taking in information through your senses in real-time.  You are not thinking intently about the past or future, other people or yourself.  You are fully present, taking in raw data. The Direct-Experience network allows you to get closer to the reality of any event.  You perceive more information and more accurate information about events occurring around you.

Here’s what I find interesting about this…Think about it!

Our default network is narrative, which means we take in bits and pieces of information and immediately add our own interpretation based on our state of mind, past experience, impression of the players involved, etc.  If we’re not paying attention to how we are thinking, we now conclude that this version of reality is TRUE.  (Yes, it is our reality but that doesn’t make it true, we doctored up the information on its way into our memory bank!!)

On the other hand, we have the ability to turn the narrative off so we can be fully present and take in more pure, accurate data.  Noticing more real-time information allows you to be more flexible and, less imprisoned to the past, your habits, expectations and assumptions.  You are better able to respond to events as they unfold.  You are better at putting words to experiences, faster at identifying subtle patterns and increasing your ability to make subtle changes.

These two circuits are inversely correlated; one will dominate at any moment in time.  The narrative circuitry is your default network.  Activating the direct-experience network requires conscious choice.

You Have Choice!  Will you think about what you are thinking about today?  Can you keep the events of life closer to the truth by turning off the interpretive story and staying present?

Your Brain At Work book report.



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