Open your mind and discover what else is possible
"Like a parachute, the mind functions best when fully open.” I really don't remember who told me this or where the quote comes from. However, it is something that I have kept in mind for many, many years.
We are often held captive to a sceptical view of the world and while that is a trait of the human species - without which we likely wouldn't have survived - it is an ineffective way to function well in this rapidly changing and highly stimulated environment in which most people and businesses operate.
Please don't get me wrong, I have a healthy regard for the importance of it and use it as a tool myself when approaching new and highly creative ideas, people or risk. But it is a real handbrake on any desired change or creative process when the refusal to progress ideas by holding on to the past or actively preventing development is the blocker, and usually anchored in an assumption of the outcome of change.
When I hear people pushing back on change or new things, I wonder if they were to put the same level of energy into making the change happen as they have in resisting what is inevitable how quickly the team, person, business or organisation may have been able to achieve their desired outcome?
In many circumstances most people won't change unless the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same. The brain is essentially a very efficient machine that is continually scanning the environment and condensing the immense volume of information streaming at us internally and externally into chunks that we can make sense of.
Being a sense-making machine, it fits those chunks into our current set of beliefs and anything that isn't a fit it discards or treats as a threat to which we respond with scepticism or more overtly fear.
The interesting thing in considering the above is it highlights that the brain is also lazy. Our brains burn about 20 per cent of our oxygen intake and about 20 per cent of our calories. It doesn't like to do any more than it has to. As we encounter our day and experience events through it, we will be looking to confirm what we have already accepted as our belief, not to deny it. It takes a genuine effort to accept new thinking. The brain has to do a lot of work.
So if that's the case, how on earth can we have an open mind, given we operate from the subconscious or unconscious? To me it's important is to ask yourself a question or two. What else is possible here? If I were to accept this, what would I do differently than I'm doing now to make it happen?
One other thing, just as a reminder: Don't believe everything you think.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator and coach at mindsaligned.com.au