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Who knew my brain could be trained? After all, the success rate in training my children, dogs, cats, and most importantly, husband seems deplorable at best. So why would I think I’d have any success with my brain? Because it turns out that it can be made to do different things, to think differently, to work differently.
I am on a steep learning curve thanks to my involvement with the Insight Lecture Series through the Sheridan College Foundation. Our first speaker is Chuck Dymer who will be speaking on Edward de Bono’s teachings on — you guessed it — training the brain. We spoke to Mr. Dymer on a conference call this week and I had so many “aha!” moments, I had to keep myself from constantly gasping.
Lucky for you, I’ll be sharing one of my favorites and then illustrating my complete inability — at least yet — to respond differently given my current, amateur brain.
Mr. Dymer pointed out that in conversation, our Western bias is to always think argument. I’m right and you’re wrong. And if you haven’t figured that out right away, let me convince you of your inaccuracies and overall errors in thinking. But in a different way of conversing, the hero is the topic of the conversation, not the participants. It takes all the ego and emotion out (OK, as much as can be taken out) and makes for a much more interesting and pleasant exchange. In this scenario, the avoidance of argument and judgment isn’t a cop-out, it’s a different way of thinking.
I’ve decided that I’m going to try this when my older son responds to my rant of the moment with, “Calm down, Mom.”
Presently with my unschooled brain, all I see is a red haze, all I hear is manic buzzing and all I can respond with is, “Is it working for you when you tell me to calm down?! Is that phrase having the desired effect?!”
If this column allowed for all caps for my response, that’s what you’d have seen. But according to my friend, Elaine, who has a much better trained and obedient brain than my current one, I need to take emotion out of it and instead respond to my son’s rejoinder with, “Let’s talk about the several other ways you could have responded to my reprimand.”
In truth, if my brain were well and truly trained, I wouldn’t have screamed at him in the first place but that’s for a different column. We’re working with what we have now.
The great news is that Mr. Dymer is just the first of three lecturers in the series so my brain is going to be doing a triathalon over the next four months. If only this workout would reflect on the scale’s number. There is a book that goes with each speaker, a study group for the book, a free lecture and then a workshop the day following the lecture. Can you imagine how sleek my brain will be after this?
Lucky for you, I’ll be sharing my knowledge with my faithful readers. With the kind of excitement I have in store for you, all I can say is, “calm down.”
Amy albrecht is the executive director of the Center for a Vital Community