Shift3

The brain on change

Our brain gets rewarded, through a lovely hormone called dopamine, when we make a situation more "certain".

This can lead to the brain oversimplifying a complex situation, simply to get a hit of "I get it. I understand."

At its best, this helps us clarify a situation or way forward and move on.

At its worst, seeking out mental short cuts, make our brains more prone to bias and binary thinking.

Binary thinking is when we attribute broad labels to a situation that tend to be opposites and often absolutes. "This change is all bad or all good."

Instead, to move through change effectively, we need to challenge our brains to take multiple perspectives.

According to Diane Halpern, former American Psychological Association President, and scholar and researcher who has contributed immensely to the field of applied cognitive psychology, highlights the importance of developing critical thinking skills. The ironic part is that your brain will fight you on it.

Especially, when we are tired, the brain will desire the short cut. Having a pre-determined process for "how will I decide?" can be useful.

How will you make decisions throughout your shift?

Example: I will notice what my mind, body, and gut are telling me. I will imagine how someone who thinks very differently than me might approach this. I will repeat this mental exercise at least three more times, with three distinctly different perspectives.