Better Thinkers Avoid Stress

Without any doubt whatsoever, cvs2bvs combined with x10 is just about the most powerful concept I have ever come across. When I first read about this brain app, it was like a very bright light switching on in my mind. I intend to make this idea a permanent part of my everyday life.
- Secondary Teacher

For instructional purposes, the human brain is often called the triune brain because it has three layers that evolved over many thousands of generations.

  1. The reptile brain runs the automatic body systems.

  2. The mammal brain is the emotional brain.

  3. The human brain is the thinking brain.

(The ‘triune model’ is not literal but is metaphorically useful)

Reptile Brain

Your inner-most, smallest and most ancient reptilian brain may well be your most treasured possession. It controls everything you value most, your life systems. It runs your body temperature, blood sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure, your respiration, releasing hormones for all the daily house-keeping and maintaining homeostasis or balance. Your reptile brain regulates deep evolutionary maintenance and self-healing. It’s hard-earned digital wisdom has been curated over the course of a million successful generations. It’s IP value in dollarized terms is simply priceless.

Mammal Brain

Your life systems reptilian brain is in constant conversation 24/7/365 with your emotional mammalian brain. Your wide repertoire of emotions ranging from fear, anxiety and anger to sexual longing to surprise, joy, sadness, trust and disgust. These are all triggered and/or switched in the mammalian brain. These mood changes and emotional switches are in sync with high speed parallel processing in the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain can stimulate the mammalian brain … and, of course, vice versa.

Human Brain

Enter your BIG human brain! This newest brain, the neocortex, is also in conversation 24/7/365 with both the older brains. As you would expect, their conversations can stimulate responses in the human cortical brain … and, again, vice versa. All three evolutionary brains are in constant digital engagement up and down the neuronal layers of the triune brain (reminder that this is not literally accurate but is practically so, metaphorically).

So what?

So what does this mean to you on a daily basis? It means that real fear and imagined fear both work the same way in stimulating stress responses in the triune brain.

When you are walking alone through Hyde Park at night and you suddenly hear a sinister sound behind you, your heart will suddenly pump faster, you will be flooded with adrenalin and other stress hormones, your blood pressure will spike and your skin will crawl. You will have a stress response whether Jack the serial killer is actually there … or not.

The Human Stress Response

Daily Stress

The problem on a daily basis is this: what if you are turning on the stress response too often and too long for imagined or psychological reasons and doing this on a daily basis?

In other words, chronic stress.

The answer is: Imagining Jack every day will kill you just as surely as the real Jack will, only it will take a little longer.

The stress response doesn’t have to be fear of Jack, of course. It can be other stress inducing causes like fear of mistakes or failure in career, business or job-related situations, fear of family crises, relationship conflicts, social media, fear of political or global issues etc etc etc.

The take away is that the reptile brain’s stress response is there to save your life from the real, but rare, life-threatening crisis like a sudden ambush from a Jack or a charging elephant. But, continuous imagined or psychological crises in the mammal brain, on a daily basis, will cause cascading stress responses that can give you depression, alcohol dependence, ulcers and heart disease.

Lateral thinking avoids stress

The greatest opportunity on Earth, for cognitive fitness, is lateral thinking. The numerical synonym for lateral thinking is x10 thinking. Although it is not natural for humans it can be taught and learned.

Lateral thinking (x10 thinking) is our best tool for creating value, our best hope for solving wicked problems, our best defense against imagined fears, fear of mistakes, fear of failure in career, business or job-related situations, fear of family crises, relationship conflicts, social media, fear of political or global issues etc etc etc.

 

Better Thinkers Solve Problems

A wicked problem is one which cannot be solved using human logic, our current and dominant way of thinking.

The rapid acceleration of global climate change, the unprecedented scale of the nuclear threat and the rising hegemony of artificial intelligence are all examples of wicked problems that cannot be solved with logic.

At the level of human2human relationships, many causes of daily conflict are not solved but even exacerbated by binary I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong logic-style thinking.

Logic is natural to the human brain’s limbic system because it is driven by the emotion of fear. In particular, the fear of ‘mistakes’.

In contrast, lateral thinking is not natural to the human brain. It is counter-intuitive. It requires re-wiring. Rather like driving a car, It must be acquired as a skill with deliberate practise and repetition over time.

Lateral thinking is a skill that we should be teaching our children … because they are going to need it!

In this recent DEAKIN University Talk Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson draws attention to “the greatest problem on Earth”.

It’s a wicked problem that’s a hundred times bigger than the problem of global warming and many orders of magnitude greater than the problems of health, water or population. It’s also the greatest opportunity on earth!

If you have 2 minutes you can eavesdrop in on the greatest problem on Earth

Free Expression and the Rights of Lateral thinkers

A lateral thinker is a sovereign individual who has acquired skills and who consciously values the rights of independent thinkers. The School of Thinking supports free expression and the universal rights of lateral thinkers. Here are ten lateral thinkers rights which are supported by the School of Thinking.

A Universal Declaration of the

Rights of Lateral Thinkers

1. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use thinking in a quiet and confident manner simply for its own sake because our unique thoughts and thinking are the cognitive property and product of our own proprietary brain and are intrinsically valuable as our own unique Intellectual Property (IP).

2. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to have pride of virtuosity in our lateral thinking skills because lateral thinking is not natural thinking but is an acquired skill. Logical thinking is natural thinking.

3. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use that skill and to consider a “lateral thinking reaction” rather than a reaction based on emotion or past experience alone. The thinking might make use of experience and emotion, but these would be part of the lateral thinking instead of controlling it.

4. A lateral thinker has the right to free expression and the right to escape from current views of situations and to search for much better views of situations because we can and because it pleases us to do so.

5. A lateral thinker has the universal right to be wrong.

6. A lateral thinker does not have to defend a point of view at all costs. There is the right to see other points of view and the right to design a much better decision.

7. A lateral thinker has the right to acquire wisdom or to seek it out wherever it may be found. Wisdom is quite distinct from the sort of cleverness that is taught in school. Cleverness may be useful for dealing with set puzzles or defending local truths but wisdom is required for designing a better future.

8. A lateral thinker has the right to get on with his or her own work and to get along with other thinkers and if things go wrong a lateral thinker has the right to think things through and to fix them without creating a fuss.

9. A lateral thinker has the right to spell out the factors involved in a situation and also the reasons behind a decision.

10. Above all, a lateral thinker has the right to be asked to think about something, to focus thinking in a deliberate manner upon any subject. Lateral thinking can be used as a tool by the thinker at will. The use of this tool can be enjoyable whatever the outcome. This applied thinking can also be practical—the sort of thinking that is required to create value and get things done.

– Adapted from the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual © 1982 Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono, Capra New USA.

MOONSHOT THINKING: And she Invented Software Itself

Wired-logo-largeMargaret Hamilton wasn’t supposed to invent the modern concept of software and land men on the moon. It was 1960, not a time when women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work. Hamilton, a 24-year-old with an undergrad degree in mathematics, had gotten a job as a programmer at MIT, and the plan was for her to support her husband through his three-year stint at Harvard Law. After that, it would be her turn–she wanted a graduate degree in math.

But the Apollo space program came along. And Hamilton stayed in the lab to lead an epic feat of engineering that would help change the future of what was humanly–and digitally–possible.

Click to read the original article in WIRED …

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Van Gogh on fear of mistakes and ‘having a go’ …

‘Self-Portrait as a painter’ by Vincent van Gogh

In a letter to his younger brother Theo on October 2, 1884, Vincent Van Gogh wrote about the fear of mistakes:

If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, “violates”…

Speed of Thought and the problem of mistake-phobia, fear and aggression.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to change your mind.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to escape from your current viewpoint.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to stop defending your current viewpoint.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to switch to a much better viewpoint.

The biggest roadbump to speed of thought is your fear of being wrong.

The most common cause of cognitive inertia is mistake-phobia, the morbid fear of making a mistake. Excessive use of logic makes us fearful thinkers.

Logic is a natural thinking style for humans because it is driven by the strong emotion of fear. The fear of mistakes.

Western education has put too great an emphasis on logic, the kind of binary thinking focused on judgement of right/wrong or good/bad or black/white.

At the level of human2human relationships, many causes of daily conflict often are exacerbated by binary I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong logic-style thinking.

Our obsession with logic is bad philosophy.

Our over-use of logic has made us very slow thinkers. Very fearful thinkers. Very aggressive thinkers.

The most wicked problem in the world …

What is the most wicked problem in the world?

It’s a wicked problem that’s a hundred times bigger than the problem of global warming and many orders of magnitude greater than the problems of global health, water or population. It’s also the greatest opportunity on earth!

The problem is: human thinking.


A wicked problem is one which cannot be solved using human logic, our current and dominant way of thinking.

The rapid acceleration of global climate change, the unprecedented scale of the nuclear threat and the rising hegemony of artificial intelligence are all examples of wicked problems that cannot be solved with human logic.

At the level of human2human relationships, many causes of daily conflict are not solved but even exacerbated by binary I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong logic-style thinking.

Logic is natural to the human brain’s limbic system because it is driven by the emotion of fear. In particular, the fear of ‘mistakes’ and the fear of ‘surprise’.

In contrast, lateral thinking is not natural to the human brain. It is counter-intuitive. It requires re-wiring. Rather like driving a car, It must be acquired as a skill with at least ten hours of deliberate practise and repetition over time.

Since artificial intelligence can now do logic much faster than human intelligence, lateral thinking is a skill that we should be teaching our children … because they are going to need it!

In this recent DEAKIN University Talk Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson draws attention to “the greatest problem on Earth”.