Seth Godin wrote recently, that the brain looks for coincidences wherever it can find them. Ann Michael added that we’re all pattern seekers … it’s how we learn. From a brain based perspective this creates both beneficial and dangerous consequences. Robyn McMaster spoke of freedom for novelty and risk.
How can all three of these be correct? More importantly, do they raise the human brain’s propensity to ram us into ruts or to soar us over successful peaks?
Consider the brain's supports for comfortable coincidences, and replicated patterns ... and you will bump into two unique brain parts. Firstly, the basal ganglia holds us in ruts, yet we need it too. Secondly, the working memory nudges us to risk. How so?
Check out Seth, Ann, and Robyn's 5 key traits of the brain’s basal ganglia.
1. It stores old patterns so they are comfortable and seem to make sense.
2. It allows us to do routines such as driving or walking – without much thought
3. It groups similar things together to create mental maps that guide our work.
4. It holds habits that seem doable and easier to use so that we’ll avoid change.
5. It sustains the wonder of traditions and holds us in horrifically outmoded practices.
People such as Robyn’s born rebels, Ann’s Covey post, and Seth’s artist in residence draw more from their working memory. It’s the working memory that fuels people to create ongoing changes in daily doses. Check out the interaction between basal ganglia and working memory in Ann’s post today to see how these work.
“I was stuck in traffic the other day looking at a lot of tail lights. It seemed like the back of every car was a face. The tail lights were eyes, the license plate was the nose, and the seam of the trunk looked like a mouth. (basal ganglia)
Is it a coincidence that cars have two prominent headlights and tail lights? Why not three or four? (working memory)
Could it be because the facial pattern is established so early in our development that we “recruited” it for cars? (working memory)
Once we find a pattern it’s hard to see anything else. (basal ganglia)
Even when the world around us changes, we keep trying to accommodate those changes in our existing repertoire of patterns. (basal ganglia)
We’d rather bend and contort them then discard them and start over.(basal ganglia)
Or, we don’t even notice the changes because our established patterns of thought and action make them invisible. (basal ganglia)
Is something you’re working on starting to get increasingly harder to accomplish? (basal ganglia)
Are the same actions on your part suddenly producing different results now than they did before? (working memory)
You might be stuck in a pattern. (basal ganglia)What’s the best way to break out of a pattern? (working memory)
Dissect Dissonance - It’s very uncomfortable to have your patterns threatened. If you’re having an emotional reaction to a situation (anger, anxiety, etc.), poke it and find out why. (working memory)
Seek Diversity – Seek the input of someone very different from you in approach and background. Avoid trying to convert them to your point of view. Instead, allow yourself (even temporarily) to be converted. Fully digest their perspective. Identify new ways to tackle your issues. (working memory)Experiment – Concentrate on those things that make you the most uncomfortable, apply what you’ve learned from your diverse counsel.
Change is usually painful before it’s exhilarating so stick with it!"(working memory)
Ready for how Seth, Ann, and Robyn illustrate - 5 key traits of a working memory?
1. Working memory is small and only holds one or two new facts at a time
2. When new information enters, the working memory loses older facts.
3. It feels risky, and uncomfortable to draw from the working memory.
4. Risk takers use working memory to move forward well before perfect proofs.
5. Entrepreneurs tend to benefit more than most from working memory.
Would you agree that every good day is likely one part basal ganglia and one part working memory? What do you think?