Performance

February 24, 2020

Happiness is Natural

Some stress is good, even required to elicit activity. Too much stress is bad leading to feeling overwhelmed. Amy Arnsten, Neurobiology and Psychology Professor at Yale University calls this the “Goldilocks of the brain.” Stress must be just right to achieve peak performance. This sweet spot is different for everyone, and even different in the same person over time and different based on the task being performed. We find ourselves in the zone when we achieve that perfect amount of stress. High stress over time can have a debilitating effect on the mind and body. The body reacts to a […]
January 13, 2020

Bad Trumps Good

Threat is more powerful than reward because our brains are designed to keep us safe. Studies show the avoid (threat) response generates more arousal, more quickly and lasts longer than the approach (reward) response. The limbic system within the brain controls our emotions. It can process information within a fifth of a second before it reaches conscious awareness. It remembers whether something should be avoided or approached. We may consider this intuition. It is reflex designed for survival. Physical and social pains produce similar responses. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows the same areas of the brain are stimulated whether the […]
December 9, 2019

Why Goals Fail

There are a number of goal setting practices. SMART published in 1981 is still used today. Defining Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound aspects of the goal is still a popular model. SMART, as well as other goal-setting models use information to develop a clear statement of intention.  These models often fail because they don’t answer “why.”  Knowing why makes it emotional, it ties to who we are and want to be. It’s been determined that people have a trait to be either approach-motivated or avoidance-motivated. People who are approach-motivated may exercise to be fit; while those avoidance-motivated may exercise […]
November 11, 2019

Get Out of the Way and Lead

Most leaders have been thinking for others for decades; knowing what is best; leading and directing others. That is what leaders do.  Recent neuroscience wants to rock that boat.  A new set of leadership skills includes giving people mental space to think for themselves and helping people simplify their thinking. Leaders can start noticing the qualities of others’ thinking and help them make their own connections. That is not to say leaders can’t establish goals and boundaries. It does say leaders must allow people to come up with their solutions rather than provide advice. An exercise in David Rock’s book, […]