Last week I wrote about the idea killing phrase “Yes, But”. The following evening I joined some colleagues to discuss an ecommerce project they’re working on.
And yes, you guessed it – I caught myself saying “Yes, but…” I was killing their ideas. The good news is that after the first occurrence I caught myself and was far more supportive and constructive.
What struck me was how easy it was to be negative. Here’s why.
It appears that we are “hard wired” to be negative, or at least to be far more cognitive to the negative. It goes back to our our primitive beginnings when it was necessary for us, as a species, to be constantly on the look out for potential sources of danger.
Our negative system is extremely sensitive. It is our sentinal. It is there to protect us from danger.
The following screen shot of one of Nancy’s slides points out the extent of our “natural” negative bias
What’s really interesting here is the (happy) Marriage Formula:
a ratio of 5 positive remarks or inter-actions to 1 negative remark or interaction.
If we extend this into our innovation and creative thinking environment we can see how damaging negative comments can be. We have to work 5 times as hard to overcome a single negative response.
Working to improve our power over our brain works is not easy. So finding ways to improved your brain power should be worth looking at especially if the payoffs far out way the effort. Take a quick look at this brain optimindation program. and let me know what you think (excuse the pun).
I’ve done it – more than once. I’m sure you’ve done it too. In fact I wish I could do it more often. That’s right, it’s staring out the window on a summers day and daydreaming. In fact daydreaming any time.
Well now, thanks to a Wall Street Journal article by Robert Lee Hotz this activity has been legitimised (in my mind anyway).
The Article entitled “A Wandering Mind Heads Straight Toward Insight” uses examples from Achimedes, Newton and others; and looks for explanation in modern brain research.
…we owe the concept of alternating electrical current, the discovery of penicillin, and on a less lofty note, the invention of Post-its, ice-cream cones, and Velcro. The burst of mental clarity can be so powerful that, as legend would have it, Archimedes jumped out of his tub and ran naked through the streets…
So if you’re in the habit of letting you mind drift be reassured that your brain could actually be working better without you trying to control the outcome.
By most measures, we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments. Left to its own devices, our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison.