The Genesis Project Episode Twenty-Two

At the end of their previous meeting, the team had agreed to discuss how to deal with the fixed mindsets of some employees who were stuck in the ways that things had always been done and the companion issue of self-censorship.

“Let me give you a brief tutorial from my field of neuroscience”, began Jim. “When we do something over and over again, it creates a new pathway in our brain. It’s hard to break a pattern of thinking or behaving once our brains have created that pathway.”

“Now think of how we are educated in school to be critical thinkers. That’s a must for many of our courses, especially in professional fields such as medicine and law. But, it’s also a part of business education when students are using case studies to examine a business failure. Engineering teaches students to consider failure models for their designs. The liberal arts are constantly exploring issues from a critical thinking perspective.”

“When you think of all of the information that you are bombarded with every day, you need to realize that your brain can only retain 1 out of 100 pieces of that information. Our educational programs have, in many cases, conditioned us to only retain the negatives.”

“But what can we do?”, asked Grace. “It seems like this is a societal problem.”

“It is”, explained Shirley. “Let me tell you about my field of psychology. The number of research papers published on negative behavior outnumbers those that focus on positive behavior by a 17 to 1 ratio.”

“The good news”, Jim added, “is that we can condition our brains for a new pathway that focuses on three traits of a good life: happiness, gratitude, and optimism.”

“But how can I do that?” asked Grace.

“There are some things you can do”, explained Shirley, “but these will require coaching. And you will probably need to incorporate these into your performance reviews.”

“This may sound hokey”, added Jim, “but spending 5 minutes a day to write down the good things a person experiences can start creating a more accepting pathway on the brain. But this needs to become a ritual, a daily habit to be effective.”

“I think I can make that happen”, said Grace. “But I don’t want to lose the ability to see legitimate concerns.”

“You aren’t doing away with the former doubting pathway in the brain”, Jim explained. “What you are doing is to give a greater priority to the positive thinking part of the brain.”

“That’s great. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Could we focus next time on where we go from here.”               

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A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” – Wade Boggs  

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