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Don’t Think Of A Blue Tree: 3 Tricks Your Brain Plays On You

Understanding how people's brains work can give you an insight into their approach to business. Here are three insights every entrepreneur should get to know.

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Understanding how people's brains work can give you an insight into their approach to business. Here are three insights every entrepreneur should get to know.

Guides

Don’t Think Of A Blue Tree: 3 Tricks Your Brain Plays On You

Understanding how people's brains work can give you an insight into their approach to business. Here are three insights every entrepreneur should get to know.

Share this article

So when you read the title of this article I bet, even if it was only for a fleeting moment, that you thought of a blue tree. It begs the question why did you do that. Are you in control of your own thoughts? Well you may like to think so but research into how our brains operate might suggest otherwise.

So here are some interesting tricks that the brain does that it can be really useful to know:

1.      The IQ lie

We often like to think that we are in control and that our IQ is running our decision making and success. This is simply not the case.Our IQ is only hitting the 10% contribution mark at best and that’s for those of us that like to give the grey matter a bit of a work out.

Just ask yourself - What keeps you breathing at night? It isn’t your IQ, it’s your subconscious mind. That larger part of our brain that gets so little credit in the business world. The part that enables you to pick up a glass of water to have a drink without having to think through which muscles and ligaments you need to engage and in what order. How exhausting would your day be if your IQ had to work out every step?

"Every second there are over 2 million bits of information or data flying at you"

2.      Automatic filtering

Have you ever had the experience of being with a group of people all sharing an experience, but when you talk about what happened later you all say different things happened? It can lead to heated arguments as each person believes they are right and therefore the others must be wrong. That’s simply not true as both may be right even though they were stood in the same room, at the same time, sharing the experience.

The reason for this is that every second there are over 2 million bits of information or data flying at you. Just imagine if you took notice of all of them. Mindblowing – literally!

human mind

There's a lot going on around us, so we filter to help us make sense of it all

The healthy human brain filters these 2 million bits as it’s capacity in any given second is only 134. So that’s 1,999,866 bits of information every second that we are automatically filtering. It’s no wonder we miss things. We can influence what we notice by what we tell ourselves and what others have said to us.

For instance take a look around the space you are currently in and count how many things you can see that are red. Now close your eyes. With your eyes closed say out loud how many things are around you that are blue. It’s an impossible task because I’d asked you to filter only for the red things. What are you unknowingly getting your team, your friends or your family to filter for by what you say to them?

3.      Taking things literally

Our brains may be complex in many ways but in terms of language they are very simplistic. Every word we hear is taken literally and you follow the instruction. Just like you did at the ‘Don’t think of a blue tree’ moment when you saw this article.

For us to know what we are asking ourselves (or others) to do we need to imagine it. By imagining it we call up the emotion or action that is needed to understand it. At best it is a waste of energy and at worst it makes us do the opposite of the very thing we want.

Some of the most common examples that I hear and notice are:

·       Don’t worry – when what you actually mean is ‘be relaxed’ or ‘be calm’.

·       Don’t forget x (e.g. your keys, to go to the dry cleaners etc) – when what you actually mean is ‘remember to x’.

·       Don’t drop that glass (often said to small children) – when what you actually mean is hold on tight with two hands.  This one is often followed by the sound of smashing glass.

The list could go on but I’m sure by now you get the drift.  The point here is to tell yourself and others what you want not what you don’t want.

Remember you always have choice and the more you know about how your mind works the better your decision-making, your business and your life will be.

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Don’t Think Of A Blue Tree: 3 Tricks Your Brain Plays On You

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