The Solution … Brain-Training

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: “What if the brain is just an organ of the body. Like the liver or the spleen. Then how could it secrete thinking? And, what can we do about it?Dr Edward de Bono, Assistant Director of Research in the Department of Investigative Medicine at the University of Cambridge (1979), Co-founder School of Thinking (1980).

— Dr Hewitt-Gleeson, Co-founder School of Thinking, is known as ‘the father of x10 Thinking’ and this 15-min session was edited from Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson’s televised address with Zondwa Mandela to the Arab and African Youth Platform in Aswan, Egypt on 17 March, 2019.

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IMPORTANT: x10 Thinking is not for everyone.

No two human brains can ever be the same …

In the brain, there is NO method that is a one-size-fits-all. Human brains are highly diverse, complex, complicated and contradictory. What is truly positive for one brain can be truly negative for another.

For one brain, a trip to the gym is a positive treat that sets off the dopamine system with all the subsequent benefits of stress mitigation and the strengthening of patterns in its Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC). This is what we want.

For another brain, however, the gym is a negative punishment that activates in the amygdala a full adrenaline stressor reaction with the usual detrimental consequences. This is what we don’t want.

Beware of any advertising that boasts ‘our method is proven by science to be the best’ and so on. It’s not neuroscience it’s just common marketing. Beware of cults and greedy gurus and invitations to ‘intensive camps’. Watch your wallet and tread carefully. It’s a minefield.

The genuine good news is that neuroplasticity in the hippocampus is indeed true. It really does mean that, going forward, brains can change and can be changed. In this school’s daily experience of over 40 years brain-training and over half a billion lessons around the world we can show evidence that, as software for the brain, x10 thinking has been our most useful tool for teaching metacognition and creating real value.

x10 thinking is a skill that can be taught and learned and practised like any other skill. Like learning to salsa. Like making a soufflé. Like playing the ukelele. It’s simple but not easy. It takes practise and repetition. 10 minutes a day.

It’s our real hope for solving wicked problems. It’s our practical defense against imagined fears in the amygdala – fear of mistakes, fear of failure in career, business or job-related situations; fear of family crises, relationship conflicts, social media; fear of political, environmental or global issues.

x10 thinking is not easy. That’s true. But, we have found nothing on Earth more simple and useful than x10 thinking.Michael Hewitt-Gleeson