Mars vs. Venus « Mindcamp

Mars vs Venus

by Ginny Santos

They say that men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, but what if you are a planet hopper, or you started off in Venus and you are now a Martian? Resisting Simplicity is a courageous act and an opportunity to seek new perspectives by breaking old habits and nurturing your creative thinking skills.

The world is full of complexities. That’s what makes it exciting. The challenges around us can be viewed as too complicated to address or as interesting complexities that call for creative thinking. When we create false opposites we simplify things in such a way that we limit our creativity.

Did you know that the woman who ruled Egypt in 15th century BC wore a false beard and used a male name? Did you know that the King of Angola from 1624 to 1653 was a cross-dresser? Did you know that 400 male soldiers in the US Civil War were found to be female? Did you know that Billy Tipton, renowned jazz musician was found to be female-bodied upon his death in 1989?

What planet did these people come from? I think they came from Earth, where courage and creativity are a must, where change is constant, and where complexity is an undeniable reality.  This reminds me of what Maslow said in 1962, “…creative people are people who don’t want the world as it is today but want to make another world.” Don’t we all?

Ginny Santos presents Resisting Simplicity: From opposites to creative insights at Mindcamp 2012.

Mars. vs Venus « Mindcamp.

Insights from Neuroscience

I recently read an article on the Neuroscience of Leadership by Dr. D. Rock and Dr. J. Schwartz  which gave me a better understanding of what is going on in the brain when people are either going through a process of change or learning something new. That article, combined with some of my own beliefs and knowledge of emotional intelligence led me to the following insights:

1.  Change is stressful and painful. When something is new or different from what a person is used to, long-standing habits need to be broken. This requires a significant amount of effort on the part of the pre-frontal cortex. This sustained effort actually causes physiological discomfort. The result: People tend to avoid change.

2.  We know that efforts to make change stick by creating incentives and threats rarely works in the long term. Neither does persuasion. People need to be intrinsically motivated and emotionally on board. This is why change is most likely to take root when it originates from the bottom up. People don’t learn by being told what to think. What is most interesting to me is that when people come to their own conclusions the brain fires adrenaline-like energy that can then lead to long-lasting change of perspective, a new learning, a new belief.

3.  Temporary or unfocused exposure to new information does not create new brain circuits. For identity, behaviours and beliefs to change, there needs to be sustained mental attention paid to a particular mental experience over a period of time. The brain changes based on what a person focuses on and for how long.

4.  Expectation shapes reality. If you are familiar with the placebo effect you already know this. What you unconsciously believe is extremely powerful. The stories you were raised with, the beliefs about yourself and the people around you shape you expectations. And your expectations create your road map.

So what does this mean for change makers?

Supporting people to come to their own conclusions and insights is not only respectful of their autonomy and intelligence but actually accelerates the creation of new neural pathways.

Focus members of the organization on thinking in terms of questions that frame the issue and lead them to come up with their own solutions. Don’t focus on the problem itself or they will only see obstacles to change. Focus on the central question, which if answered creatively, will lead to a solution.

Once people are having their own insights on the issue, keep their mental energy focused on those insights.